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A Man with a (Five-Year) Plan

Jim Halsey may be pushing 93, but the Tulsa-based country-music impresario remains remarkably busy, doing what he’s done for decades, and still doing it the way he’s always done it. “I’m in the middle of a five-year plan,” he says. “This is something I started in 1952 with Hank Thompson, setting out our plans of where we wanted to go,...

The Frontiers of Creativity

Encouraging Imagination  Oklahoma is home to a rich history as it pertains to the film and music industries. Thankfully, several organizations have been established over the years to preserve this knowledge and heritage. The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, located in Muskogee, boasts over 100 inducted members. Established in 1997, it holds live concerts every week and has a museum full...

A True Music Partnership

On their business card (which doubles as a refrigerator magnet), vocalists Jim Sweney and Chris Campbell have, under their names, the term “music partnership.” Truer words were never written. These two veteran performers – who both rose to local stardom back in the ’70s, the halcyon days of Tulsa’s live rock-music scene – have been singing together in venues all over...

It’s Great to be Back

It’s hard for both Brian Parton and me to believe that the last time I interviewed him for a story was more than a quarter of a century ago. That was in 1996, when I was on the back side of my 23-year stint as an entertainment writer for the Tulsa World, and he was on the rise as...

All About the Music

Oklahoma houses a variety of colleges with well-respected music programs, but several academies that focus solely on the music also exist for students of all ages.  Oklahoma Music Academy, located in Tulsa, offers private lessons and tutoring for guitar, drums, voice, piano and bass guitar.  “We also offer a rock band style ensemble class for qualified students that focuses on contemporary...

The Fall Season Kicks Off

A plethora of arts offerings present themselves in Oklahoma this fall. In Tulsa, visit the TCC Van Trease PACE for Signature Symphony’s Rachmaninoff and the Dance Floor, which explores music with American composer Mason Bates. The PACE also welcomes Tulsa Opera’s The Italian Girl on Oct. 28 and 30. Celebrity Attractions’ Hadestown continues its run at the PAC until Oct....

Hosting a Ghost or Two

As Brett Bingham and I noted in our recent book, Twentieth-Century Honky-Tonk, what might be termed the “modern era” of Tulsa’s Cain’s Ballroom began 48 years ago this month, when a pair of young Tulsa promoters – R.C. Bradley and Jim Edwards – talked the owner into letting them book a Halloween show featuring neither Western-swing nor country-music acts....

To Be Understood

Until a recent visit with the up-and-coming singer-songwriter-musician Madeline Kassen, who created her latest album under the name Pisha, I had never encountered the term “bedroom pop.”  But then again, there was no reason I should’ve. It applies to her generation, not mine. And it’s a style she not only knows well, but also has utilized to her advantage. “Bedroom pop,”...

The Leavening Power of Humor

Vida and Daniel Schuman, Oklahoma Magazine’s publisher and president/editorial director, respectively, have graciously allowed my writing to occupy this space for well over 15 years now. And while that’s maybe been more of a blessing to me than it’s been to readers, I remain deeply grateful to have this platform to, among other things, celebrate some of the people...

Pitchlynn’s Poems, Reimagined

The new CD Poems to Songs: Hatchootucknee (Snapping Turtle) can be seen, at least in part, as a family affair – that is, if you don’t have any trouble with the “family” connection skipping past nine or ten generations. The disc’s origins run all the way back to the early 1800s, with an important Choctaw figure named Peter Pitchlynn,...