Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma’

One of the nicest collector’s albums of recent months comes from Tulsa, the second largest city in the American state of Oklahoma. At the beginning of February 2020, the idea arose to bring about twenty musicians from Tulsa and the surrounding area together in the “Paradise Studio” in Grand Lake, Oklahoma. That studio was owned for decades by the musician and songwriter Leon Russell, who died in November 2016, who had frequented almost all music genres such as pop, country, rock, gospel, bluegrass, R&B and blues during his own musical career of 60 years. other artists had produced.

However, in that “Paradise Studio” where Leon Russell, Bob Seger and Freddie King had recorded their success albums, no record had been recorded since 1978. But the legendary studio has been lovingly maintained and honoured for the last thirty years by Rick Huskey, a true Tulsaan who has always recognized the historical value of the music building. songs that got a new lease of life included “If The Shoe Fits” by Leon Russell brought here by John Fullbright, “I Yike It” from ‘The Gap Band’ covered by Charlie Redd & Briana Wright, in addition to “ Rock’n’Roll Gypsies ”from ‘Gypsy Trips’ and “Tulsa County” from Jesse Ed Davis of which Jesse Aycock brings two beautiful cover versions. Also the song “Blind Man” from “The Great Divide” from their 2001 released album “Dirt And Spirit” gets a very nice new look here adapted by Dustin Pittsley.

“Back to Paradise: A Tulsa Tribute to Okie Music” is due out 28th August via Horton Records. The sprawling collection gathers some of the finest music written by Tulsa musicians, ranging from JJ Cale to the Gap Band and Leon Russell. Oklahoma musicians John Fullbright, Jesse Aycock, and several others gathered at Leon Russell’s now-defunct Paradise Studio in Grand Lake, Oklahoma, to track material over four days in early 2020. The result is a deeply memorable, often soulful examination of the music that made the place.

John Fullbright’s take on Russell’s “If The Shoe Fits” is deeply funny and a fitting tribute to a man who pioneered a sound and a scene. “I think it’s funny, tongue-in-cheek,” says Fullbright. “The handful of us have done this long enough to get a kick out of the song.”

Jesse Aycock had made a super cool playlist called “Oklahomage”, recognizing some of his favourite Oklahoma-connected songs. He noted that there are a number of fantastic Oklahoma-connected songs that are not on streaming platforms. 10 of these 17 tracks on the Back to Paradise: A Tulsa Tribute to Okie Music album.

John Fullbright – “If The Shoe Fits (Leon Russell)” from the album . This song was written by Leon Russell. Released in 1972 on the album Carney on Shelter Records. “Carney” was partly recorded at Paradise Studios, Grand Lake of the Cherokees, Tia Juana, Oklahoma. The song is included in director Les Blank’s Leon Russell documentary, A Poem Is A Naked Person, and seemed to be a perfect fit for inclusion on this album.

In February 2020, a group of Tulsa musicians travelled to Leon Russell’s famed Paradise Studio at Grand Lake to record the first album tracked there since 1978. Tulsan Rick Huskey has spent the last 30 years preserving and restoring the space, honouring its history while preparing for a new chapter. The narrow, winding road one must travel to reach the compound provided time for reflection.

John R. Fullbright – acoustic guitar/vocals, Paul Benjaman – guitar, Jesse Aycock – lap steel/pedal steel, Paddy Ryan – drums, Aaron Boehler – bass. Video by Jeremy Charles and FireThief Productions. Shot in Tulsa, OK, including footage at Mercury Lounge Tulsa. Thanks to Dylan Golden Aycock for the space and vehicles and Hideaway Pizza for the hospitality.

Some of the biggest names in the history of music travelled the same path years before. That realization was both inspiring and daunting. Entering the studio for the first time, the musicians were awestruck. Decades later, the vibe is still alive. Seventeen tracks were recorded over the course of four days – mostly live, with very few overdubs. While there was a core group of players throughout the session, a grand total of 20 Tulsa musicians participated in the recording. The Oklahoma songs were chosen for the album represent the famous to the obscure, and everything in-between. This recording honours those who came before and made it possible for Tulsa musicians to have an identity and a music scene today. Thank you to Leon for blazing a trail and building this lake palace. Thank you to all of the Oklahoma musicians over the years who have been role models through their authenticity and spirit of community. This record is dedicated to them. Back To Paradise: A Tulsa Tribute to Okie Music.

This song was written by JJ Cale and was originally released in 1979 on the album “5” on Shelter Records. “5” was the first album to feature Cale’s wife, Christine Lakeland. Eric Clapton also recorded this song on his album “Backless”. The definition of cool, Cale is one of the most influential Tulsa musicians to have ever lived. His music continues to inspire musicians and fans alike.

Paul Benjaman“I’ll Make Love To You Anytime (JJ Cale)” – Official Video from the album Back To Paradise: A Tulsa Tribute to Okie Music. Release date 08.28.20 on Horton Records. Paul Benjaman – guitar/vocals, Jesse Aycock – guitar/lap steel, Paddy Ryan – drums, Aaron Boehler – bass.

Release date 08.28.20 on Horton Records

Choctaw-American artist Samantha Crain has shared a new single and video, “Pastime”, which is from her forthcoming album, “A Small Death”, out July 17th via Ramseur Records/Thirty Tigers and Real Kind Records/Communion Records.

A Small Death finds the Oklahoma-based artist confronting decades of grief, trauma, and an incapacitating physical pain which left her home in bed and barely able to perform or play an instrument. The video was also directed by Crain herself, who explains “The video was meant to be a celebration of the community of the town I live in, Norman, Oklahoma, as well as a nod to the capture of improvisation. Spontaneity is often forgotten as a great tool and teller of stories and I wanted to have a day of filming the wonderful people in my community remembering and exercising the flustering and freeing practice of ‘just winging it.’”

 Samantha Crain’s track ‘Pastime’ the new album ‘A Small Death’

One downside the digitizing of music has created is the lack of liner notes that listeners typically don’t get with their music. That has unfortunately resulted in a lack of knowledge about the producers, engineers and backing musicians supporting the stars whose names are out front.

Before the era of downloads made cover art and studio personnel listings somewhat of an afterthought, music fans would scour notes and players on albums, seeing some names appear often and raising their chances of someday being the featured performer. That’s the case with Jesse Ed Davis.

Jesse Ed Davis – (1944-1988) – 1970s – Originally from Norman, Oklahoma, Jesse Ed Davis relocated to California in the early 1960s eventually becoming friends with Levon Helm who introduced him to Leon Russell. They became the catalyst for Davis’s massive body of session work. Davis played on Taj Mahal’s first three Columbia albums, the former distinguishing himself on slide guitar, while also playing lead and rhythm.

Davis’s first solo album “Jesse Davis!” was released in 1971, featuring back-up vocals by Gram Parsons and guest appearances by Russell and Eric Clapton. He was also a participant in George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh in 1971. He worked with the Byrds’ Gene Clark producing his second solo album “No Other,” (1974), and lent the lead guitar solo to Jackson Browne’s hit single “Doctor My Eyes,” from Browne’s 1972 debut album “Jackson Browne,” (Or “Saturate Before Using.”) which climbed to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Two more Davis solo albums followed: “Ululu,” (1972), and “Keep Me Comin’ “ (1973) but neither sold well. In 1975, there was a stint with the Faces during which time Davis developed a serious drug addiction… His credits with A-list musicians is daunting: Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, Rick Danko, Steve Miller, Harry Nilsson, George Harrison, Taj Mahal and a slew of others. Davis spent much of the 1980s battling drug dependence, managing to form the Graffiti Band in 1985, and in 1987 reuniting with Taj Mahal for a one-off at the Palomino Club in Hollywood, joined by Bob Dylan, John Fogerty and George Harrison on stage, demonstrating the esteem with which Davis was held. It was to be his last major gig.

Davis died in Venice, CA of an apparent drug overdose on June 22nd, 1988, cutting short the life of a major talent who would be missed by his musical brethren and fans alike.

Native American Davis started his career backing Taj Mahal, then left to became a hired gun, supporting such superstars as Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Ringo Starr and perhaps most famously John Lennon on whose Walls and Bridges album he played most of the solos. But like most supporting musicians, Davis — who passed away in 1988 due to a drug overdose in 1988 — wanted more of the spotlight.

He got his chance when Eric Clapton suggested he try his hand at being a frontman. The result was a three album catalog. The first two of those for the titular label, long out of print, are collected here.

At first blush, there isn’t much going on. Davis’ voice is ordinary at best, and that might be overly generous. It’s somewhere between Dr. John and Leon Russell, both of whom are part of the 36  musicians who contribute to these sessions.  Davis generally talks/sings without much range or emotion. And for someone known as a guitar wiz, he plays few solos, preferring to let his lines weave into a muddy mix that screams 70s. Musically this falls on the swampy side of the Band, perhaps a low-rent version of that group, without its great songwriting, vision or personality. Not surprisingly he covers their “Strawberry Wine” in a slowed down, droopy take that feels like he and his backing musicians might have imbibed too much of the title beverage before recording. And originals like the very 70s touchy-feely “Golden Sun Goddess” and the clichéd “Rock and Roll Gypsies” just feel underwritten .

But about halfway into this generous 75 minute compilation, you start to warm up to the spontaneous, laid back, communal style. Covers of George Harrison’s “Sue Me, Sue You Blues” (released before Harrison’s own version), Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” and Russell’s “Alcatraz” capture the loosey-goosey spirit that drenches these performances with better material to work with. On the occasional original like “You Belladonna You” where Davis stretches out into a funky vibe, he shows the potential for what could have been if everyone involved had put a little more time and effort into this.

There remains a shared simplicity and long lost warmth to these sessions. Dated? Sure, but undeniably charming with a sense these albums could never be cut at any other time.

Credit the Real Gone label for excavating these once missing sides. Even if this is far from “lost classic” territory, there’s a genuine, organic approach to the music that grows on the listener once you get into the groove. 

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For their fourth record “For Their Love”, Oklahoma indie rock outfit Other Lives set out to reconnect with rural life again, renting a house in Oregon’s Cooper Mountain region, up in the American north. Just surrounded by towering trees and barely anything to interfere in their creative process, it was this sublime setting that soon gave rise to the new material, incorporating the sense of freedom and the shared community. The sweeping, cinematic aura of their sound is meanwhile taken to wholly new dimensions, whilst diving into existential themes such as finding stability and security in a world that is crumbling before our eyes.

From the very start to the finish line, For Their Love is an album that carefully frames the emotions of each track into a wholesome dramaturgy that reverberates the deep sensitivities lying within the music. The initial song Sound Of Violence leads the way and is a heavy-minded, while powerful opening piece that recreates the aura of an open wild. With Jesse Tabish’s vocal musings at the core, which are at once absorbing as they are uplifting, more upbeat pieces such as the following Lost Day or later on Hey Hey I gain a vivid tone and ignite sparks of hope and light amidst feelings of fear and despair. Creating beautiful layers of sound, the string arrangements contribute here greatly, For Their Love is building up sound architectures of cinematic grandeur. All Eyes / For Their Love for instance, features an extended instrumental intro, before the voice of Jesse Tabish breaks in, rendering a passionate vocal performance that leads us through stages of tranquil emotions up to euphoric rising and back again.

In a different manner, although equally tender, the heartfelt We Wait, which processes the traumatic loss of a close friend, takes a simple acoustic guitar pattern to evolve it into a wistful tune about loss, personal memories and the challenging process of letting go. The serene ballad Sideways is then quite a fitting coda to the album. There is still light in this dark world, that is the message of the song. And what could be more important than to hold on to that high note?.

From the new album “For Their Love” available everywhere April 24th, 2020

Over the past five years, JD McPherson has emerged as a thrilling ’50s stylist with a modern sense of pop-craft and genre fusion. On his tour-de-force 2017 release, the Oklahoma singer finetunes his blend of blues boogie, r&b, rockabilly, and alt-rock that would make Jack White, Pokey LaFarge and the Black Keys all proud. The result is the defining visceral record of his career, with slow-aching ballads like “Hunting For Sugar” balancing out fast-paced barnburners like “On the Lips” and “Under the Spell of City Lights.” “On Undivided Heart & Soul”, JD McPherson proved he’s one of roots music’s most exciting young revivalists.

On his third album, JD McPherson leans harder on the first syllable of “rockabilly.” The retro-sounding tracks, most of which feature prominent walking-bass lines courtesy of Jimmy Sutton, are among the highlights. Single “Lucky Penny” (which doesn’t hide its Dan Auerbach influence), jittery “Bloodhound Rock” and “Under the Spell of the City Lights” (featuring another notable co-writer, Aaron Lee Tasjan) all harken back to retro rocking songs in both McPherson’s own catalogue and American music as a whole. While Undivided Heart & Soul explores both the past and the future of roots music, McPherson shines brightest when he blends both influences to stay rooted in the present.

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His star burnt only briefly but to lovers of 1980s power pop Phil Seymour was a shining light. This collection of his finest work is enhanced by 11 previously unreleased recordings. Collection released this month on Ace Records.

For many of us who grew up in the 60s, one thing we missed most in the following decades was the short, quick jab of a powerful 45 from groups such as the Who, the Searchers, the Kinks, the Hollies and the Beatles. Where had all those punchy pop songs gone? Phil Seymour grew up listening to all those British Invasion bands in his home city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and with kindred spirit Dwight Twilley forged a determination to bring back melodic pop songs. They spent several years mastering harmony, piano, guitar, drums and the art of crafting a high-quality song, building a home studio where they spent endless hours recording under the name Oister.

In 1974 they set off for Los Angeles and were soon picked up Denny Cordell and Leon Russell’s Shelter Records. Cordell was rather taken with Twilley’s name and renamed them the Dwight Twilley Band. Soon they were in the US Top 20 with ‘I’m On Fire’, but frustrations followed as Shelter struggled with financial difficulties, and Phil decided to go solo. Initially he struggled to find a foothold but once the new wave hit America, the Phil Seymour Band stormed Hollywood and became one of the hottest acts on the circuit.

Signed to Neil Bogart’s Boardwalk label, by 1981 Phil was at #22 on Billboard’s Hot 100 with the self-penned classic ‘Precious To Me’. More terrific releases followed and for a while he was the brightest star on the horizon, but Bogart’s death in 1983 meant the end of Phil’s Boardwalk contract. He doggedly continued to make good music but contracted lymphoma and died in 1993 at age 41.

Handsomely packaged with a 20-page booklet sporting rare photos and extensive notes incorporating interviews with bandmate Michael Anderson and recording engineer Bill Cooper, our collection comprises 13 of Phil’s finest recordings and 11 never-before-heard gems. Pride of place among the previously unissued tracks goes to nine demos cut at producer Richie Podolor’s American Recording Company studio in Los Angeles’ Studio City in 1980. As wonderful as the later released versions are, nothing can match the primitive excitement that pervades the demos, which bristle with life, energy and the sheer joy of knowing that something very special is being created in the studio. Altogether a fitting tribute to this much-missed prince of power pop.

Throughout the course of their musical union, the members of Horse Thief have won over the hearts of music lovers from all walks of life the band are very happy that the media is reacting to the new Horse Thief album. It’s long been my belief that this band have it in them to be one of the best American bands we’ve ever worked with at Bella Union and with each show and each new recording that feels 100% justified.

It’s out in a couple of weeks and already you can feel the growing appreciation for the band. They’ll be here with the Felice Brothers this month in Europe and I urge you to get down to see them and see your favourite new band.

A triumph… Frontman Cameron Neal filters anglophile influences (The Smiths’ melodic grace and New Order’s tender resolve) through Horse Thief’s graceful widescreen Americana”.
“Well-crafted second album release… The Oklahoma-based quintet trade in a roots-influenced American rock on a mid-point between Midlake and the Kings of Leon.”

“Anthemic and uplifting Americana… In its tales of life in mountain towns, of love declared and not returned, of hard decisions made, it has an honesty and a sense of wildness and isolation. Its all quite beautiful.”



Listen to our new single “Easy Way Out”!

Other Lives new album “Rituals” will be available everywhere on May 4th.
Pre-order now, the first 500 physical pre-orders from our official store receive 3 limited edition lithographs. All pre-orders from our store also receive an early download of the album on May 1st and two instant downloads.

Dreamy and cinematic Other Lives are getting ready to release their third album. Watch / Listen to the full session here: They began as a band called Kunek out of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Rechristened Other Lives in 2008, they released their first album under that name a year later, an atmospheric gem of a record that marries an orchestral rock sound with the sensibility of a classic singer-songwriter vibe. They returned for another batch of majestic, pastoral folk-rock in 2011, which led them to perform with the likes of Bon Iver and Radiohead over the next year. They’ve taken a break since then to prepare a new album, and if there are two clichés worth using to describe the record, they would be: 1) the third time is the charm, and 2) it has been worth the wait. Guest host Chris Douridas showcases material from Rituals when Other Lives stop by Morning Becomes Eclectic.


Recorded for “CBS This Morning” breakfast television show for the saturday sessions programme, Oklahoma singer songwriter and Grammy award winning John Fullbright,