Searching for the Sound by BRYAN CANTRELL
There’s no better time of year to be a fan of local music.
Warmer weather means the return of the Guthrie Green Sunday Concert Series, outdoor festivals like Mayfest and Hopjam in downtown Tulsa, and Tallgrass in Skiatook. Soul City has reopened in time for the best back-porch weather of the year, and outdoor venues like Hunt Club and the Fur Shop are providing us with live music under the stars on a weekly basis.
Among the smorgasbord of outdoor music on the horizon is a newcomer that I’m very excited about. Broken Arrow Brewing Company will host the inaugural Red Dirt Craft Beer Music Festival on June 15, which will be the first music festival ever held in Broken Arrow’s Rose District.
The main stage lineup includes American Aquarium with special guest Jackson Tillman, Miles Williams, Jackson Taylor & The Sinners, Caleb Caudle, Shaker Hymns, The Black Valley Band, and Ghost Dance Band. A portion of the proceeds will go to Red Dirt Relief Fund. Speaking of Red Dirt Relief Fund…
Gypsy Café Recap
The nonprofit Red Dirt Relief Fund, an organization that provides a safety net of critical assistance for Oklahomans in the music business, held its flagship fundraiser, the Bob Childers’ Gypsy Café songwriters festival on May 1 in Stillwater.
The eighth annual festival, the largest homegrown songwriter festival in the state, featured more than 60 Oklahoma songwriters, including Red Dirt heavyweights like Stoney LaRue, Mike McClure, Red Dirt Rangers, John Fullbright, and Randy Crouch, who was named the Restless Spirit Award winner for his influential and inspirational songwriting.
Crouch was presented with a trophy made with wood from the original Gypsy Café, an old garage on the legendary Farm in Stillwater that Childers rebuilt and gave the now famous name.
All of the performers donate their time and talent to this event to support the efforts of Red Dirt Relief Fund. This year, the festival brought in $20,022. Since the Red Dirt Relief Fund was founded in 2012, it has provided more than $110,000 to musicians in need.
Dallas Parker, aka Faux Draco, was selected as the 2019 Jimmy LaFave Songwriting Contest winner. Parker received a $500 cash prize, a $500 donation to the Red Dirt Relief Fund and performed a set at the festival.
Parker is an Oklahoma City-based rapper who performs under the name Faux Draco. Congratulations to Faux Draco, and kudos to the judges for recognizing that great songs come in all genres. Hip hop is underrepresented in this column, so I’m glad to have the opportunity to tell you to check this guy out by going to soundcloud.com/user-708644836.
Woodyfest Lineup Announced
Soon these beautiful Spring outdoor festivals will give way to the dog days of summer outdoor festivals, most notably the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okema July 11-15.
The 2019 lineup was recently announced, and there’s good reason to brave the heat this year. Arlo Guthrie is returning to Okema for his father’s 107th birthday celebration, as are Woody’s granddaughters Annie Guthrie, a singer/songwriter, and Cathy Guthrie, who teams up with Amy Nelson (daughter of Willie Nelson) to make up the duo Folk Uke.
Also on the lineup this year: Jacob Tovar, Jared Tyler, Count Tutu, Carter Sampson, John Fullbright, Red Dirt Rangers, Randy Crouch, and more. Check out woodyfest.com/artists for the full lineup.
Summer School of Rock
Since this is our annual Senior Salute issue honoring area graduates, it seems like a good time to plug music education.
The recently opened School of Rock at 4601 W. Kenosha St. in Broken Arrow provides instruction for guitar, drums, vocals, piano, bass and more. Combining one-on-one lessons with group band practices, School of Rock is a performance-based music school, with live performances to help young musicians gain confidence on stage.
The best way to assure that Tulsa remains a music city is by providing young Tulsans with a solid musical upbringing. With instruction camps like Classic Rock Rewind Camp, Best of the 90s Camp, and Songwriting Camp, School of Rock (facebook.com/schoolofrocktulsa) is teaching our children well.
What a wonderful time to be a lover of Tulsa music. Support local music in May. There’s no better time of year to keep searching, keep listening.