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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...

Behind-The-Scenes Magic

What does the engaging new autobiography of top rock music record producer Ted Templeman, famed for his work with the likes of Van Halen, the Doobie Brothers, and Little Feat, have to do with Oklahoma?  As it turns out, quite a lot.  First of all, Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music (ECW Press) is an as-told-to tome written by...

A Notable Legacy

FiveMoments that Changed Musical History There’s a fundamental question about whether Oklahoma is musically different from any other state. Maybe people in Springfield, Missouri, or Little Rock, Arkansas, or, say, Bangor, Maine, also feel that their homegrown artists deserve more respect than they’ve received. Regardless, one assertion has been made hundreds or thousands of times, especially by people familiar with Tulsa’s...

Who’s the Bossa?

I first met Ana Berry a little more than two decades ago, when my filmmaking partner Leo Evans and I cast our feature Café Purgatory. She came to our attention by her father, Milton Berry, who had a leading role in the picture – and she turned out to be absolutely perfect as the young teenager who takes up with...