Dad, look right here! I found a bug! It must be spring.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
Once again it is freedom of choice week at 4M. This week I think I will honor my home state by featuring artists from the great state of Oklahoma. While you would be right in assuming there would be a multitude of country artists that call Oklahoma home, you might also like to know that artists like J.J. Cale, Elvin Bishop and Leon Russell called the Sooner state their home as well. Country Music has had a couple of major resurgences in my life time. The 70’s gave us Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and outlaw country music, while the late 80’s into the mid 90’s gave us Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood, Brooks & Dunn, Dwight Yoakam and Urban Cowboys.A recent twist on country/western swing/bluegrass/folk/rock music called “Red Dirt” music was born in Oklahoma and named after the red clay soil that is prevalent in the west and southwester portion of the state. So here are a few of my Sooner state favorites and yes, most will come from the country side of the road.
The undisputed king of western swing music was Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys band. While Bob Wills was born in Texas, his fame came from his band and their popular weekly radio show on a local Tulsa station. They made a local nightspot, the Cains Ballroom legendary. The Cains Ballroom is still alive and well and is probably second to the Ryman Auditorium on the bucket list of places to play for country artists.
The undisputed king of country music record sales is none other than Garth Brooks. Garth hit the music scene in the late ’80’s and took showmanship to a whole new level in country music. He filled stadiums with his fans and his concerts rivaled the most popular rock groups of the day. I remember Garth did three concerts in Texas Stadium on three consecutive nights and all three were sold out! 68,000 seats filled three nights in a row! Garth has so many hits it is hard to pick one. The obvious choice might be “Friends in Low Places”, or “The Thunder Rolls”, but I have chosen one that speaks to a sport ingrained into the culture of the southwest. No, not football…rodeo. I think the rodeo life embraces every aspect of country music.
What about the women of country music. Well, the first name that pops into the head of a true Okie is another true Okie, Reba McEntire. Reba is from the small town of Savanna, Oklahoma. Her bio says McAlister but that’s only because McAlister is the closest town to actually be on most maps. Reba’s biggest hit was probably “Fancy”, but I am going to feature a different song from her, “Because of You” a duet with Reba’s daughter-in-law Kelly Clarkson.
One of my favorite Oklahoma musicians is Vince Gill. Vince was a part of the 90’s resurgence of Country music and his first hit, “When I Call Your Name” is still a classic.
Vince is also a guitar player of the first order. Like another Okie, Leon Russell, Vince enjoys being a player in the band as much, if not more than being out front. Not long after the death of Glen Frye, Vince was asked to fill in with the Eagles on tour. Apparently he is the newest Eagle if they decide to do more work.
Obviously, I have just scratched the surface of the Oklahoma music scene. Stay tuned for more at another time. Have a blessed week.