Stoney LaRue, Randy Rogers Band, Wade Bowen and more to raise funds for West, Texas, at Texas Thunder
In response to the recent tragedy in West, Texas, Texas Thunder festival organizers have teamed up with red dirt and Texas country musicians to support the West, Texas, community.
The Texas Thunder music festival, running Friday-Sunday in Gardendale, Texas, will feature Oklahoma-bred Stoney LaRue, Texans The Randy Rogers Band, Wade Bowen, Casey Donahew Band, Josh Abbott Band and many more and will raise funds for those affected by the recent tragic explosion.
“For 13 years now our band has been traveling I-35 and stopping in West, Texas, along the way to sample the good food,” said Randy Rogers in a news release. “It’s become a staple on our tour. Now it’s time for us to give back.”
“We are disheartened by the tragedy in West, Texas. Texans are passionate about their communities and upon hearing of this tragedy, the Texas music community reached out to lend a helping hand,” says event organizer Brian Andrews in the release. “100 percent of net proceeds from the Texas Thunder music festival will benefit the schools and first-responders of West, Texas.”
Texas Thunder presents an all-star, all-Texas line-up, with both musicians and fans coming together to help bring support to those who need it most. For more information, go to www.texasthunderfest.com.
Best Bets for Jan. 11-13, 2013: Ryu Goto with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, “Saturday Night Live” comedians, Stoney LaRue and Tiger Lily EP release
Here are my picks for the top events happening in central Oklahoma this weekend, as listed in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
1. SHAWNEE — Laugh along as “Saturday Night Live” comedians Jon Lovitz, Chris Kattan and Tim Meadows perform at 7 p.m. Saturday at Grand Casino Resort, Interstate 40 at Exit 178. Information: 964-7777 or www.grandcasinoshawnee.com.
2. NORMAN — Hear red dirt star Stoney LaRue at 8 p.m. Friday at Riverwind Casino, 1544 W State Highway 9. Information: 322-6464 or www.riverwind.com.
3. Listen to violinist Ryu Goto and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic create “Pristine Visions” in concert with a program featuring Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 8 in G Major” and Beethoven’s “Violin Concerto in D Major” at 8 p.m. Saturday at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker. Information: 842-5387 or www.okcphilharmonic.org.
4. Celebrate the release of Oklahoma City pop-punk band Tiger Lily’s new EP at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at The Conservatory, 8911 N Western. Doors open at 6 p.m. Information: www.conservatoryokc.com.
1. Hear Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Graham Colton play his fifth annual Thanksgiving concert at 8 p.m. Friday at the Blue Door, 2805 N McKinley. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Regional Food Bank. Information: 524-0738 or www.bluedoorokc.com.
2. NORMAN — Listen to Oklahoma red dirt standout Stoney LaRue at 8 p.m. Friday at Riverwind Casino, 1544 W State Highway 9. Information: 322-6464 or www.riverwind.com.
3. Hear rapper Rick Ross, with Meek Mill and Wale, at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena, 100 W Reno. Information: (800) 745-3000 or www.chesapeakearena.com.
4. TULSA — Take a break from holiday feasting at the seventh annual Leftover Turkey Show with Jason Boland & the Stragglers and the Turnpike Troubadours at 7 p.m. Friday at Cain’s Ballroom, 423 N Main. Information: www.cainsballroom.com.
Here are the Best Bets for entertainment in Oklahoma this weekend, as listed in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
1. View “Art Gone Wild,” a new exhibit of paintings by Oklahoma City Zoo animals, at In Your Eye Studio & Gallery, 3005A Paseo, from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday during the monthly Paseo Gallery Walk. Information: 525-2161 or www.inyoureyegallery.com.
2. NORMAN — Hear eclectic quintet Gypsy Wind perform its fusion of Eastern European, Arabic, Latin and American jazz music at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Norman Depot, 200 S Jones. Information: 307-9320 or www.thepas.org.
3. NORMAN — See a new exhibit of nine works by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso starting Friday at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave. Curator Mark White will give a brief gallery tour of the exhibit at 7 p.m. Friday. Information: 325-3272 or www.ou.edu/fjjma.
4. TULSA — Hear Oklahoma red dirt rockers Stoney LaRue and Chad Sullins & the Last Call Coalition at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Cain’s Ballroom, 423 N Main. Doors open at 7 p.m. Information: www.cainsballroom.com.
STILLWATER — Thunder wasn’t the only thing rolling last Friday night. Despite the threat of severe weather, more than 1,200 local music enthusiasts crowded onto “The Strip” to hear 40 of the state’s most talented singer-songwriters perform at the second annual Red Bull Gypsy Café. The festival brought together famed musicians representing nearly 30 years of the movement known as Red Dirt Music, in its birthplace—Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Fans of Red Dirt Music were treated to acoustic sets by some of the genre’s most talented artists. Spread throughout four different venues – Eskimo Joe’s, Willie’s, Stonewall Tavern and College Bar – musicians performed in pairs of young and old, new friends and old friends, well-known and up-and-coming. The pairings gave artists the opportunity to musically explore their partner’s style while bringing in their individual style. “He kept throwing great solo’s my way. It kept me on my toes,” Parker Millsap said about his duet with Travis Kidd.
Red Bull Gypsy Café wasn’t just about the public performances shared Friday night. On Thursday night, artists gathered together at the original “Gypsy Café” on “The Farm,” the historic location west of town where many of these musicians learned, played and composed together as they came up in the world of music. Musicians seamlessly fell back to the spirit of collaboration that the Gypsy Café is known for. John Cooper of the Red Dirt Rangers said, “It’s like the party never stopped.” The musical session lasted into the wee hours of the morning. In the immortal words of Bob Childers, the undisputed father of the Red Dirt movement, “it’s a perfect end to a perfect day, when the moon shines down on the Gypsy Café.”
Although the scheduled auction for Oklahoma State art student Katie Hagen’s Bob Childers-inspired guitar had to be canceled due to the weather, Stoney LaRue will add the instrument, depicting of the spirit of Red Dirt music, to his personal collection. All proceeds from the festival and 50 percent from the sale of the guitar benefit the Red Dirt Relief Fund, an organization founded and administrated by Red Dirt musicians in Stillwater to act as a critical safety net for Red Dirt music people.
Singers-songwriters participating in Red Bull Gypsy Café included Stoney LaRue, Brandon Jenkins, Mike McClure, Steve Rice, John Fullbright, Tom Skinner, Randy Crouch, John Cooper, Gene Collier, Chad Sullins, Dustin Pittsley, Monica Taylor, Greg Jacobs, Scott Evans, Jim Paul Blair, Parker Millsap, Sarah Barker, Jesse Aycock, Travis Linville, Brad James, Thomas Trapp, Sam Naifeh, Ben Han, Randy Pease, Don Wood, Brad Piccolo, Chuck Dunlap, Joe Baxter, Travis Kidd, Bo Phillips, Jake Moffat, Rick Reiley, Don Morris, Bob Wiles, Tim Bays, Dustin Welch, Bill Erickson, Susan Herndon. Larry Spears and Brandon Clark.
The Red Dirt scene is characterized by a family feel “it’s like a family reunion. It always is, whenever you’re around the people that have been there when you first started,” said LaRue.
Check out these photos from the event, provided by Red Bull:
Grady Cross finds the key to life in giving back
BAM column: The former Cross Canadian Ragweed guitarist now owns his own venue, Grady’s 66 Pub in Yukon, and relishes organizing charity shows, such as Sunday’s “Rudy’s Benefit,” for the family of a friend who died of cancer.
YUKON — Becoming a club owner has given Grady Cross a chance to bring live music to his hometown and a way to stay rooted in the vibrant red dirt music scene.
As a bonus, his new role as proprietor of Grady’s 66 Pub has provided the former Cross Canadian Ragweed guitarist with an ideal outlet for giving back to his community.
“When you can give back, that’s No. 1, that’s the key to life to me,” Cross said. “If you can put on a concert, something that’s easy to do — and really, it’s easy for me to do because they’re all my friends and they want to do it and … all you gotta do is get on the phone — that’s the part that’s good. That’s good about the red dirt scene, you know, people are willing to help as much as they can.”
After organizing two fundraising concerts last year for Piedmont tornado relief, he and his brother Nathan Cross, who manages the pub, are planning Sunday a benefit for the widow of their friend Rudy Inselman, who died in January of cancer.
“Rudy’s Benefit” will include an acoustic song swap featuring red dirt stars Mike McClure and Stoney LaRue, live music from Dead Man’s Bluff and Taylor Atkinson Band, a fish fry and barbecue, a live auction and a special edition of the pub’s usual Sunday Night Revival.
“Grady and I go way back, so if I can help, I will. Plus, I have a good time, too. Playing with Stoney’s kind of fun for me, and if people get to benefit from me having fun, well, hell, double bonus,” McClure said with a laugh.
Shortly after Cross Canadian Ragweed split up in fall 2010, Cross, 36, bought the former 50 Yard Line Club, the first venue where the influential red dirt band performed in 1991.
“It felt like home to me,” said Cross, who opened his namesake saloon Jan. 1, 2011. “I got up and I played bass with the Red Dirt Rangers the other night at the pub, so I still play quite a bit. … It’s just that now when I jam, I get to come home. I’m not too far away.”
He also wasn’t too far away when an EF5 tornado tore through Piedmont on May 24. The Cross brothers soon booked McClure and LaRue for a benefit song swap and planned live and silent auctions that raised thousands of dollars for the local Red Cross.
But they still had more help to give. When Piedmont resident Mary Smith wanted to plan a charity concert for her devastated town, she called Grady’s 66 Pub even though she and the Crosses weren’t acquainted.
“They didn’t know me from anyone, and there was no hesitation,” she said. “It was just amazing. They worked their rear ends off for probably five solid months … and they weren’t just making phone calls. They worked hard getting the field ready.”
The Crosses booked Jack Ingram, Tom Skinner, The Damn Quails and more red dirt/Texas country artists for the Oct. 15 “Concert in the Cornfield,” which netted $31,000 for the Piedmont Service Center.
“That hit close to home. Piedmont’s, I don’t know, eight miles from us. Not too far. So it’s scary. … When you hear about a baby in a mother’s arms that blew out, that’s horrible. When you think you’ve got things bad, look at something like that,” said Grady Cross.
“We just kind of pulled together and the musicians pulled together and made it happen. And I’d want somebody to do that for us, the town of Yukon.”
During his time at Oklahoma State University, Cross got to know Jason Bradshaw, who later started a successful spray-on linings business in Oklahoma City, and Bradshaw’s pal Rudy Inselman, who became manager of SJB Linings and Xtreme Liners.
After struggling with health problems his whole life, Inselman succumbed to cancer on Jan. 11. Most of the proceeds of “Rudy’s Benefit” on Sunday will go to help Inselman’s widow, Hope, pay lingering medical expenses. Since Inselman was a NASCAR fan, any remaining funds will go to the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which the driver started to support youths suffering from debilitating childhood illnesses, especially cystic fibrosis.
“We’re gonna have great live music, great items for auctioning and hopefully everybody can lend a hand in some way,” Cross said, adding the auction will include autographed guitars, other signed memorabilia and a giant smoker in the shape of a cow.
For McClure, all Cross has to do is call and he will try to join the lineup of any benefit his red dirt brother has to offer.
“I like playing with Stoney ‘cause we go way back to playing together in college. We usually wind up digging out some old songs from the Stillwater days,” McClure said.
“It’s kind of a code among musicians in Oklahoma where we try to help each other out,” he added. It’s just kind of a brotherhood.”
What: Acoustic song swap with Mike McClure and Stoney LaRue, live music from Dead Man’s Bluff and Taylor Atkinson Band, fish fry and barbecue, live auction and special edition of the pub’s Sunday Night Revival.
Benefiting: The widow of Rudy Inselman and the Denny Hamlin Foundation.
When: 1 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Grady’s 66 Pub, 444 W Main St.
Information: 354-8789 or www.gradys66.com.
STILLWATER – Forty red dirt singer-songwriters representing almost 30 years of the distinctly Oklahoman musical movement will play the second annual Red Bull Gypsy Cafe starting at 7:30 p.m. April 13 at various venues:
Eskimo Joe’s, 501 W Elm
Stonewall Tavern, 115 S Knoblock
The College Bar, 319 S Washington
Willie’s, 323 S Washington
Tickets will need to be redeemed for a wrist band at Eskimo Joe’s the night of the event. The box office will open at 5 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m.
The lineup includes Stoney LaRue, Brandon Jenkins, Mike McClure, Steve Rice, John Fullbright, Tom Skinner, Randy Crouch, John Cooper, Gene Collier, Chad Sullins, Dustin Pittsley, Monica Taylor, Greg Jacobs, Scott Evans, Jim Paul Blair, Parker Millsap, Sarah Barker, Jesse Aycock, Travis Linville, Brad James, Thomas Trapp, Sam Naifeh, Ben Han, Randy Pease, Don Wood, Brad Piccolo, Chuck Dunlap, Joe Baxter, Travis Kidd, Bo Phillips, Jake Moffat, Rick Reiley, Don Morris, Bob Wiles, Tim Bays, Dustin Welch, Bill Erickson, Susan Herndon and Brandon Clark.
Back for a second year, Red Bull Gypsy Café promises fans even more music with added musicians and new venues. Not just another Red Dirt music festival, this event gathers some of the genre’s greatest home-grown talent, both then a now, at the birthplace of red dirt music — Stillwater, OK. Venues on and near Stillwater’s Strip (AKA Washington Street) will host artists playing acoustic-style duets. Headliners will be staggered by venue on the hour to allow fans to catch their favorite artists.
While in town, these musicians will celebrate at The Farm, the venerated location west of town where some say the genre’s most talented musicians grew out of the red Oklahoma soil. The event name, Gypsy Café, pays homage to the site at The Farm where spontaneous jam sessions arose over the years.
All proceeds of the festival will got to the Red Dirt Relief Fund, an organization founded and administrated by Red Dirt musicians in Stillwater to act as a critical safety net for red dirt music people.
Festival passes will allow access to all venues and will be sold for $25 ($20 with student ID) in advance online at www.protix.com and through their partner outlets. Tickets go up $5 each when purchased the day of the event at the box office.
A version of this column appears in Wednesday’s Life section of The Oklahoman.
BAM’s top 10 albums of 2011
Column: Oklahoma recording artists from across the musical spectrum made beautiful music and reached impressive milestones in the year just past.
For fans of Oklahoma music, it’s hard to imagine a more exciting year than 2011.
Tulsa Sound pioneer Leon Russell finally made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and then the Songwriters Hall of Fame for good measure, Owasso-based country star Garth Brooks joined Uncle Leon in the songwriters’ club, and Chockie ranch girl Reba McEntire and Pauls Valley native Jean Shepard were ushered into country’s hallowed hall.
Tishomingo denizens Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert squeezed in their wedding between his reality TV breakout on NBC’s “The Voice” and the release of his latest LP and her launch of side project Pistol Annies and work on not one but two albums. On the red dirt scene, Cody Canada & The Departed arrived to soothe those saddened by the breakup of Cross Canadian Ragweed, while The Great Divide reunited after more than eight years after the original lineup split.
Maud native and rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson teamed with White Stripe Jack White to make a barn burner of a comeback record, former Tulsan Ronnie Dunn made his solo debut after two decades with country duo Brooks & Dunn, and teenage Internet sensation Greyson Chance of Edmond and country duo Thompson Square, featuring Miami, OK, native Keifer Thompson, released splashy debut albums.
Oklahoma City-based rock ’n’ roll mad scientists the Flaming Lips experimented the year away, recording six- and 24-hour-long songs; releasing music on USB drives encased in gummy fetuses, $5,000 real human skulls and strobe-light gizmos; and finally inviting Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon to ring in 2012 at their fifth annual New Year’s Eve Freakout.
With all those milestones, the decision to make my top 10 albums list of 2011 an all-Okie affair was easy. Figuring out who would make the final cut, now that was hard.
1. Miranda Lambert “Four the Record” (RCA Nashville) and Pistol Annies “Hell on Heels” (Columbia Nashville)
The Texas native not only fired off a fourth solo album even better than its Grammy-winning, game-changing predecessor (2009’s “Revolution”) but also lit the fuse on a doozy of a side project with her all-girl trio Pistol Annies. Between the two albums, she wrote or co-wrote 14 songs and cut a total of two-dozen, matching her impressive output with prodigious quality.
On “Four the Record,” she confidently covers a wide range of topics, emotions and musical styles, from the blazing bad-girl anthem “Fastest Girl in Town” and the galloping breakup freakout “Mama’s Broken Heart” to the affectionate celebration of diversity “All Kinds of Kinds” to the gorgeous ode to her adopted home state “Oklahoma Sky.”
With their first effort as the Pistol Annies, Lambert and fellow singer-songwriters Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley ignited the country charts with their old-school sound, sharp songsmithing and take-no-prisoners attitude. They’re pretty, they’re smart, and they’re going to say and do whatever they want. And they’re coming for you.
2. Cody Canada & The Departed “This Is Indian Land” (Underground Sound/Apex Nashville)
I can’t think of a better entrance for a new band so rooted in Oklahoma’s red dirt scene than this homage to the state’s songwriting greats. The Departed — former Cross Canadian Ragweed singer/songwriter/guitarist Canada, ex-Ragweed bassist/singer Jeremy Plato, Texas guitarist Seth James, Tulsa keyboardist/organist Steve Littleton and Yukon drummer David Bowen — tunefully pay tribute to the finely crafted story-songs of Tom Skinner, Bob Childers, Greg Jacobs and more with a debut that leaves you eager for more.
3. Wanda Jackson “The Party Ain’t Over (Nonesuch/ Third Man Records)
As he did with Loretta Lynn on her 2004 album, “Van Lear Rose,” producer/guitarist Jack White — the rocker best known for fronting The White Stripes — again demonstrates his masterful knack for celebrating a veteran performer’s storied past while still pushing her out of her comfort zone. This “Party” celebrates Jackson’s rock ’n’ roll trailblazing with smoking covers of Johnny Kidd and the Pirates’ “Shakin’ All Over” and Bob Dylan’s “Thunder on the Mountain” and recalls her country and gospel days with a funked-up version of “Dust on the Bible” and a stripped-down rendition of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel #6.” At 74, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is still “the sweet lady with the nasty voice.”
4. The Damn Quails “Down the Hatch” (598 Recordings)
After just two years of making music as a duo, Norman-based singer-songwriters Bryon White and Gabriel Marshall earned national and international acclaim with their debut album, which features a rootsy sound both distinctly Oklahoman and uniquely their own. As each of the 14 earthy tracks comes “Down the Hatch,” it becomes increasingly clear the fertile Oklahoma music scene has nurtured a pair of exceptionally talented country-folk performers. Get the binoculars; you’re going to want to watch these birds.
5. Broncho “Can’t Get Past the Lips” (self released)
Here’s what I love about Oklahoma music: It turns out The Damn Quails weren’t the only Norman-based upstarts who released a standout debut record in the year just past. Broncho, the side project for Starlight Mints keyboardist Ryan Lindsey, forcefully declared that punk was not dead with its brawny, frenetic “Can’t Get Past the Lips.” As a bonus, the manic standout track “Try Me Out Sometime” deservedly made NPR’s list of five garage rock favorites from 2011.
6. Stoney LaRue “Velvet” (B Side Music Group)
Warm, smooth and surprisingly mellow, the red dirt star’s long-awaited second studio album fulfilled the promise of its luxurious title. The follow-up to “The Red Dirt Album,” the Edmond resident’s 2005 debut studio effort, “Velvet” was more than worth the wait, showcasing a more mature, finely crafted sound that maintains its rootsy authenticity.
7. Other Lives “Tamer Animals” (TBD Records)
After 14 months of painstakingly sculpting their sophomore album in their Stillwater studio space, the orchestral pop-rockers were richly rewarded for the elegantly lovely fruits of their labor: The band toured with Bon Iver in 2011, and they are joining none other than Radiohead on the road in February. Catch them in concert Jan. 26 at Tulsa’s Fassler Hall or Jan. 27 at Oklahoma City’s Blue Note Lounge because we will soon be forced to love Other Lives and their evocative music from afar.
8. Colourmusic “My __ is Pink” (Memphis Industries)
Like Other Lives, experimental rock quartet Colourmusic spent months in its Stillwater recording lab conjuring up its second album. With “Pink,” the neo-psychedelic wizards tried out a distinctively different sonic formula from their fantastic 2008 debut “F, Monday, Orange, February, Venus, Lunatic, 1 or 13.” Although their sophomore effort featured a much tougher and more aggressive sound, it maintained those beautifully mesmerizing melodies. I still get goose bumps on my goose bumps hearing their 10-minute epic “The Little Death (In Five Parts).”
9. Vince Gill “Guitar Slinger” (MCA Nashville)
The Country Music Hall of Famer was never going to match the scope and audacity of his four-disc, 43-track box set “These Days,” which won the 2006 Grammy for best country album and earned an overall album of the year nomination. But the Norman-born, Oklahoma City-bred singer/songwriter/guitarist didn’t disappoint with his 12-track follow-up, which channeled Motown with “Tell Me Fool,” memorialized Billie Holiday on “When the Lady Sings the Blues” and passionately pondered life and mortality on the Grammy-nominated first single “Threaten Me With Heaven.”
10. St. Vincent “Strange Mercy” (4AD)
The Tulsa-born singer/songwriter/guitarist also known as Annie Clark continues to make music reminiscent of a diamond-bladed scalpel: The otherworldly vocals and lush melodies possess a delicate beauty, but St. Vincent’s pointed lyrics and finely honed guitar hooks will cut you open as ruthlessly as the “Surgeon” she pleads with on her third album.
1. Listen to Grammy-nominated rockers Mutemath at 9 p.m. Friday at The Conservatory, 8911 N Western. Doors open at 8 p.m. Information: www.conservatoryokc.com.
2. See the world premiere of the play “The Broken Statue,” by state author Bob Perry, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Jewel Box Theatre, 3700 N Walker. The play is based on various events in the lives of former Oklahoma Gov. E.W. Marland and his wife, Lydie. Information: 521-1786 or www.jewelboxtheatre.org.
3. Hear Edmond red dirt star Stoney LaRue & the Arsenals at 11 p.m. Friday at the Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E Sheridan. Doors open at 6 p.m. Information: 601-6276 or www.wormydog.com.
4. View new work by Oklahoma artists during the monthly Paseo Gallery Walk from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday in the Paseo Arts District. Information: www.thepaseo.com.
5. TULSA — Hail the “Queen of Country Music” when Dolly Parton plays at 8 p.m. Saturday at the BOK Center, 200 S Denver. Doors open at 7 p.m. Information: (866) 726-5287 or www.bokcenter.com.
Today’s featured event:
Hear Edmond red dirt star Stoney LaRue & the Arsenals at 11 p.m. Friday at the Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E Sheridan. Doors open at 6 p.m. Information: 601-6276 or www.wormydog.com.
LaRue is currently touring in support of his new album, “Velvet.” To read my recent interview with LaRue about the album, click here.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.