Take a group of young, school-age guys, give them some instruments and the expected outcome may be some Jimi Hendrix licks or a freestyle rhyme or two. But for one Oklahoma troupe, grunge is gone, emo is out the window and punk is so passé. Make way for Oklahoma Stomp, a group of eight young men ages 12 to 21 that saw fiddles like plywood, and pick guitars like cotton. Their music is decidedly old school, a throw back to Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. But their style of western swing is fresh – maybe even a little ahead of its time – and that’s all thanks to a collaborative effort of some of the best young players in the Sooner State.
Merrit Armitage is the oldest of the eight members, at the ripe old age of 21. He began fiddling around with the fiddle at 6 years old, listening to old western swing songs, emulating the sounds of the late Bob Wills. Raised on a ranch, he and younger brother Turner (also a member) learned to play the music their parents enjoyed. They fell in love with it as well, and that passion evolved from backyard picking to a sincere go for the gold.
“It started as a grassroots movement in Tulsa,” Armitage explains. “We started the group by incorporating some of the best fiddle players in the area. It just started from there.”
That was a year and a half ago, and given the plethora of one-hit bands, groups and singers in today’s volatile music industry, these guys are already veterans. Factor in their ages and the math is astounding. Seven teens and one 21-year-old member working for a year and a half without the drama of other on-the-rise artists speaks volumes about the common goal.
Now they just may be on their way. One of their YouTube videos landed them a coveted gig at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Armitage says they were contacted to represent Oklahoma in a musical showcase there. That gig is scheduled for Sept. 13, and in many ways it’s the beginning of what’s proving to be a promising career. They’ll play the Tulsa State Fair in October and after that, who knows? But Armitage says he’s confident that the boys of Oklahoma Stomp will make it their business to be in business for a long time to come.
“This is an alternative to pop country that was created years before. This style of music is timeless.”
UPDATE: Oklahoma Stomp musician Corey White will be appearing on season eight of NBC’s “The Voice” on Feb 23, 2015. See a preview of his appearance below: