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The Venerable Roy Clark

As far as country-music impresario Jim Halsey is concerned, the city of Claremore is a perfect place for an exhibition on his famed client and friend, Roy Clark. After all, Clark not only deeply admired Claremore’s favorite son, the celebrated Will Rogers; he was also, in 2005, grand marshall of the town’s annual Will Rogers Days parade.  “Roy was a...

Hutchison & Maksood

For well over three decades now, Tulsa’s Scott Hutchison has been pretty much the personification of a working songwriter. Area music fans with long memories may recall his association with Oklahoma’s late guitar hero Steve Pryor; when Pryor, a longtime favorite on the T-Town music scene, got his major-label deal in the early ‘90s, the subsequent disc was full...

The Story of Cowboy Jones

It started when Leatha Pierce, a volunteer for LIFE Senior Services in Tulsa, asked Bob Wiles to put together a band for a big fundraising event. She knew Wiles was the man for the job. Not only had he been a founding member of the Red Dirt Rangers, that trailblazing Stillwater band; he also knew and regularly jammed with...

A Jam-Packed June

In Bartlesville, the OKM Music Festival returns June 10-17. Renowned artists taking the stage include Canadian Brass, Dallas String Quartet, Tina Guo, Jenny Lin and a grand finale with Grady Nichols and Baha Men. For a full schedule of events, visit okmmusic.org.  In Tulsa, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission offers several events throughout June in conjunction with nonprofits and...

An Honorary Okie

Whether it’s mellow or high energy, most of us respond viscerally to music. And Steve Short is all over the place, keeping the pulse going. The Yukon drummer is one of four Oklahomans touring with the Sooner State’s Darci Lynn Farmer of America’s Got Talent fame.  “I started touring with Lynn on her national Darci Lynn, Fresh Out of The...

Swingin’ Our way

In our current book, Twentieth-Century Honky-Tonk, co-writer Brett Bingham and I devote a good number of pages to the role Tulsa played in the development and popularization of the music that came to be known as western swing. The Oklahoma part of the story started after bandleader Bob Wills brought his group, the Playboys, across the Red River, changing...

The Legacy of Gene

Firsts are, to put it mildly, tricky things. It’s like the old saw about being the fastest gun in the West: There’s always somebody faster. And take it from me, when you’re a historian and/or writer who spends a lot of time doing research on the true origins of such speculative stuff as musical styles and literary movements, you can...

A Trip to Paradise

The trouble with studying something that’s still alive is that it can keep eluding you. This applies to my own particular quest to pin down that musical amalgam known as the Tulsa Sound. I’ve been at it now for nearly 40 years, beginning early in my entertainment writer days at the Tulsa World, and as I’ve tried to analyze and...

A Tribute to Blackwell

Tulsa drummer and songwriter Chuck Blackwell began etching his name into pop culture history some 60 years ago, as one of the original guys who headed west from T-Town to enrich the southern California music scene with his locally honed talents. Over the next couple of decades, Blackwell would show up in a variety of key places, from the...

A Hunger to Heal

The 2014 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, Peter Markes, is shifting directions and using music to expand frontiers on a broader scale. With Markes at the helm for 15 years, the Edmond North High School Orchestra performed twice in the National Youth Concert in Carnegie Hall. The orchestra earned 15 consecutive top State Sweepstakes Awards, received annual invitations to perform...