A rather amazing number of great (primarily country/folk) musicians have come out of my home state of Oklahoma: JJ Cale, Wanda Jackson, Gene Autry, Vince Gill, The Flaming Lips, Leon Russell, Patti Page, and of course, Woody. So many greats, in fact, that I can't even list them all here.
However, because I didn't listen to a lot of pop-country music as a kid, there really weren't a ton of local acts that I followed when I lived there. We mostly had to go to Dallas to see shows, and Austin was just heating up as a premier music hub when I was in college. It's somewhat of a shame then that I'm missing out on this recent boom in amazing acts that are pouring out of Oklahoma.
One of the handful of Okies who are currently getting a lot of attention in Americana circles is John Fullbright. His second and most recent album, From the Ground Up, was just nominated for a Grammy for Best Americana Album. He's a talented lyricist, and I find the stories and places in his songs very compelling.
"Satan and St. Paul" is my favorite song off the album at the moment. It's such an Okie kind of song, full of fatalism, self-recrimination, religious paranoia, and escapist fantasies: I can relate.
"Well it took me twenty years
Just to find myself a pen
For to write down all the words
Just to scratch them out again
I could use another twenty years
To fix the last fifteen
But it never seems to work to my advantage"
He performed this song, "Jericho," at the Americana Music Awards, where he was nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year and Album of the Year.
And if you're playing along at home, you'll know that I've written here before about JD McPherson. He's just incredible. My favorite song is still "Signs and Signifiers" off his album of the same name (which I already posted last time, along with "Fire Bug" and "North Side Gal"). Here's a couple more songs:
*Ten bonus points if you can name that Oklahoma landmark!*
And rounding out the Okie triumvirate is Parker Millsap, another bluesy, Prairie Gothic voice, but coming out of a face that seems much too young and sweet to know about such dark things. His first album, Palisade, is available on iTunes, and the band is working on another record right now.
Collect all three artists' albums and have the complete set for the win!
Besides just making music that's really great that I love to sing along to in the car, these guys make me feel something... it might be... I think it's possibly... Pride. I hope they write the name of our homeplace large across the face of the music industry, just like those old greats did. You're making me proud, boys, and I'm not really quite sure what to do with that strange emotion.
Hopefully now people will stop asking me where Oklahoma is... "Isn't that somewhere near Iowa?" *Sigh*