Memorial concerts planned for red dirt rocker Chad Sullins and more Oklahoma music news
Memorial concerts planned for Oklahoma red dirt rocker Chad Sullins
At least two memorial concerts are in the works to honor Oklahoma singer-songwriter and red cirt rocker Chad Sullins, who died June 27 in Altus. He was 43.Â
Sullins, who had a history of heart problems, died of a torn aortic valve, according to a message posted on his official Facebook page.Â
“Sullins was a poet in the mold of Woody Guthrie and Bob Childers. He was the essence of what red dirt means to its artists and its fans until his last breath,” said Josh Crutchmer, author of the bookÂ “Red Dirt: Roots Music Born in Oklahoma, Raised in Texas, at Home Anywhere,”Â in a statement to The Oklahoman.
“He loved a song and he loved when it found ears. His passing is a tragedy, but he spent his last day singing to his friends at The Farm in Stillwater, then put all he had into his Altus gig, and IÂ know if he could choose his last 24 hours, thatâs what heâd have picked. He never really got his due in this mortal world, but nobody who heard him play or chatted him up at an Oklahoma dive bar is ever going to forget him.”
Born in Hobart and raised in the Altus area as well as in Knoxville, Tennessee, Sullins told The Oklahoman in a 2012 interview that he was working a job he hated in the southwestern Oklahoma oil-fields when a pal introduced him to red dirt music, that enigmatic and heady blend of country, rock, folk, blues and Western swing.
While working as a truck driver, he honed his songwriting talentsÂ over the long miles. HeÂ wrote hundreds of songs andÂ recorded several albums as the frontman of the bandÂ Chad Sullins and the Last Call Coalition and as a solo artist.Â
“He was a trueÂ troubadour. He was reporting back from the frontlines,”Â said John Cooper of the venerable Oklahoma band the Red Dirt Rangers.
Sullins was preceded in death by his nephew Chance, father Bill,Â grandmother Martha and grandfather Glenn. He is survived by his mother Marsha, son Corbin, daughters Presley and Madison, brothers Brad and Randy, sister Gena and many other relatives, friends and fans.Â
Sullins was a stalwart supporter of the nonprofit Red Dirt Relief Fund, whichÂ provides a safety net of critical assistance for Oklahomans in the music business in times of need, even before the organization stepped up to help the singer-songwriter when he experienced health issues in 2014.Â
“Chad,Â was he was one of those guys with a gruff exterior and a complete heart of gold,” said Cooper, who is a founder and board member for the relief fund.Â
The Red Dirt Relief Fund has launched a fundraising effort to help Sullins’ family with funeral costs and other expenses and is co-sponsoring the July 31 Chad Sullins Last Call Celebration at Stillwater’s Tumbleweed Dancehall & Concert Venue.Â
Another memorial benefit show is planned for July 11 at Grady’s 66 Pub in Yukon.Â
For more information, go toÂ https://www.facebook.com/chadsullinsofficial.
Iconic Oklahoman Wanda Jackson announces new album ‘Encore’
Iconic Oklahoman Wanda Jackson teams with fellow Rock andÂ Roll Hall of Famers Joan Jett and Kenny Laguna to conceptualizeÂ her upcoming album “Encore,” due out Aug.Â 20 via Big Machine Records/Blackheart Records.
“Encore” is rooted in the belief that the pure rock ‘n’ roll thatÂ Jackson pioneeredÂ has lived on in Jettâs modern version of agency, independence and audacious self-expression that has been taboo for women in music, according to a news release.Â
The 32ndÂ album from theÂ Rock andÂ Roll, International GospelÂ andÂ Rockabilly Hall of FamerÂ is a billed as “a final chapter,” amplifying a career thatâs ignited others, too, from the Cramps to Amy Winehouse, Adele to Jack White, who produced her 2009 critical favoriteÂ “The Party Ain’t Over.”
âRight around the time I retired from performing and what I thought was the end of my career, I found myself back to writing songs with some of the great writers in Nashville,” Jackson said in a statement.Â “The songs you hear are truly my life story. This is the first time I have ever inserted so much of my personal life into my music. Youâll get a picture of my early life and have a peak into the closeness that my late husband Wendell and I had in our life together. Iâm happy to share this with all of you. Your constant love and support has seen me through the ups and downs of my 64-year career. I love you all and God bless you.”
Recorded just before she announced her retirement from touring in 2019 at the age of 81,Â “Encore” reportedly features Jackson’s familiar growling voice as well as her penchant for rockabilly, country and punk music.
Singing along with the living legend on “Encore” areÂ Pistol Annie AngaleenaÂ Presley and Candi Carpenter on the jaunty âCanât Keep A Good Girl Down,” Jett on the garage grunge come-on âYou Drive Me Wild,â as well as the classic ballad closerÂ âThatâs What Love Is,” and Jett plus Elle King on a rockabilly number calledÂ âTwo Shots.”
âReal, authentic rock and roll is something you have to have inside. It canât be taught, it canât be faked.Â WandaÂ JacksonÂ has it. Joan Jett has it. ‘Encore’ has it. It is rare,â said Laguna in a statement.Â
The bodacious vocalist known for âHot Dog! That Made Him Mad,â âMean, Mean Man,â âFujiyama Mamaâ and âLetâs Have A Party,” Jackson penned half of the eight tracks on “Encore,”Â with co-writers including triple Grammy Awards winner Lori McKenna, Grammy nominees Will Hoge and Luke Laird, Presley, and bluegrass queen Sonia Leigh.Â
The album also includes Jackson’s plaintive cover of Johnny Tillotsonâs 1962 R&B smash âIt Keeps Right On A Hurtinâ,â which is the first song we’re getting to hear from the anticipated new album.Â
Known for more than six decades as âThe Queen of Rockabilly,â Jackson, a Maud native and longtime Oklahoma City resident, was crowned in 2018Â an Oklahoma Cultural Treasure in recognition of her influential seven-decade career as a singer, songwriter, performer, trailblazer and style icon.Â
Preorder Jackson’s “Encore” atÂ https://wandajackson.lnk.to/EncorePR.Â
JerodÂ Impichchaachaaha’Â Tate named state department cultural ambassadorÂ
Oklahoma-based Chickasaw composerÂ JerodÂ Impichchaachaaha’Â TateÂ has been named one of 31 cultural ambassadors for theÂ U.S. Department of Stateâs Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.Â
Part of theÂ American Music Abroad ProgramâsÂ 2021-2022 season,Â Tateâs appointment will take him on a month-long, multi-country virtual tour, where he will engage with international audiences through public concerts, interactive performances with local musicians, lectures and demonstrations, workshops, jam sessions, and media interviews.Â
Born in Oklahoma, Tate’s father is a Chickasaw lawyer and tribal judge and was author to the current Chickasaw constitution, and his mother is of Manx descent originally from Nebraska. In addition to being an active leader of American Indian law and politics,Â Tateâs father is a classically trained pianist and baritone, and his mother was a professional choreographer and dancer, leading toÂ Tateâs immersion into American dance, ballet, musical theaterÂ and opera. Like his classical composer role models such as Debussy (France), BartÃ³k (Hungary), and Stravinsky (Russia),Â TateÂ strongly identifies with his culture and imbues it into all of his compositions.
Tateâs recent commissions include “Shell Shaker: A Chickasaw Opera” for Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra; “Ghost of the White Deer,Â Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra” for Dallas Symphony Orchestra; and “HÃ³zhÃ³Â (Navajo Strong)” and “IthÃ¡naliÂ (I Know)” for White Snake Opera Company. He recently hosted San Francisco SymphonyâsÂ CurrentsÂ series and curated a performance by the ETHEL Quartet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
His music has been featured on the HBO series “Westworld,” and last month, Tate released the world-premiere recording of “Lowak Shoppala’Â (Fire and Light),” which expresses Chickasaw identity through the medium of modern classical music and theaterÂ via eight scenes,Â onÂ Azica Records.Â
American Music Abroad activities focus on younger and underserved audiences in countries where people have few opportunities to meet American performers and experience their music first-hand. Selected actsÂ have traveled to more than 100 countries around the world since 2011.
Greyson Chance directs ‘Nobody’ video
Fresh off his hometown headlining gig last weekend at OKC Pridefest, Oklahoma City singer, songwriter and musician Greyson Chance releases today the sexy music video “Nobody,” from his new album “Trophies.”Â
The suggestive music video for “Nobody,” anÂ anthemic homage to a toxic relationship, was written, directed and edited by Chance, who also did the styling and lighting design. (Fair warning: There’s some strong language in the song.)
Released as part of his new deal withÂ with Arista Records and Sony Music, “Trophies” is the follow-up to the Edmond native’s well-received 2019 sophomore album, “portraits.” He bought a house in OKC in 2020 and spent much of last year during the COVID-19 pandemic working on his new album.Â
“I have, again, Oklahoma to thank for so much, but especially for, I think, getting me back to my roots this past year to write a record that I think is very honest, and very, very authentic,” he told The Oklahoman in a recent interview.Â Â
After launching his new world tour at OKC Pridefest, Chance continues his tour with stops across the country in July and August, a European run in autumn and a pair of Latin AmericanÂ shows in December.Â
Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani reportedly apply for Oklahoma marriage licenseÂ
For Oklahoma country music superstar Blake Shelton and his pop-icon fiancÃ©e Gwen Stefani, it seems that wedding bells could be ringing very soon here in his home state.
People reports that Shelton, 45, and Stefani, 51, applied for a marriage license Tuesday through the Johnston County Court Clerk. In Oklahoma, marriage licenses are valid for up toÂ 10 daysÂ after the date of issuance.
The musical power couple, who met on the hit TV singing contest “The Voice,”Â announced their engagement last October after five years of dating.Â
Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire to perform on ‘Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular’
Oklahoma country music superstars Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire will perform on NBC’s 45th annual “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular,” which tops off Independence Day with its world-renowned fireworks display and a cracking lineup of musical mega-stars.Â
The TV special will broadcast live at 7 p.m. Central Sunday with an hourlong encore presentation at follow.
Tony and Grammy Award winner and star of Peacock’s “Girls5eva” RenÃ©e Elise Goldsberry and star of NBC’s “New Amsterdam” Ryan Eggold will host the star-studded event. Lighting up the stage in advance of Macy’s iconic fireworks display will be chart-toppers Black Pumas, Coldplay, Jonas Brothers, Marshmello andÂ OneRepublic, which is fronted by Tulsa native Ryan Tedder.
This year’s Macy’s fireworks show will launch more than 65,000 shells and effects from five barges positioned on the East River centered in midtown. The 25-minute display, scored to patriotic music,Â will feature dozens of colors and shapes, creating dramatic effects a mile across the river and from 1,000 feet in the air to the water’s edge.Â
During the Jonas Brothers’ performance, 350 drones will be included to honor Team USA as they prepare to depart for the Tokyo Olympic Games.Â Throughout the broadcast, a series of uplifting personal stories called the “American Spirit” puts the spotlight on the everyday heroes who make this country so special. Olympians Allyson Felix, Simone Manuel, Tatyana McFadden and Jessica Long will join the special event to share their stories.
At key moments throughout the night, viewers will have the opportunity to donate to Red Nose Day in support of children and families facing hunger and food insecurity.
Pentatonix to perform on star-studded PBS special ‘A Capitol Fourth’
Three-time Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum selling vocal group artistsÂ Pentatonix, which includes former University of Oklahoma student KirstinÂ Maldonado, will be among the performers on PBS’ 41st annual star-studded Independence Day special “A Capitol Fourth.”
Hosted by Vanessa Williams, the show has been pre-recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic with a live fireworks presentation, in lieu of the traditional live concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.Â Â
“A Capitol Fourth” will air in Oklahoma at 7Â p.m. Sunday on OETA, with an encore presentation at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.Â
Among the entertainers performing from Washington, D.C., areÂ “Empress of Soul” and seven-time Grammy Award-winnerÂ Gladys Knight; Broadway and television starÂ Christopher Jackson; country music star and Grammy-nomineeÂ Mickey Guyton; Tony Award-winning Broadway and television starÂ Ali Stroker; acclaimed multi-platinum country music singer-songwriterÂ Jimmie Allen; Tony Award-nominated Broadway starÂ Laura Osnes; and theÂ National Symphony OrchestraÂ under the direction of top pops conductorÂ Jack Everly.Â
World-renowned four-time Grammy Award-winning soprano superstarÂ RenÃ©e FlemingÂ will open the show with a special performance of the national anthem.Â Â
Other cross-country performances will include multi-platinum selling music legendÂ Jimmy BuffettÂ andÂ Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nomineeÂ Cynthia ErivoÂ from Southern California;Â multi-platinum selling country music icon and Grammy winnerÂ Alan JacksonÂ from the famed Ryman Auditorium inÂ Nashville; Grammy Award-winning country starÂ Jennifer NettlesÂ from the famed Town Hall in NYC’s Times Square with the Broadway Inspirational Voices; “Moana” actress and singerÂ Auli’i CravalhoÂ inÂ Queens, New York, from the Unisphere; diamond-selling and multi-Grammy Award-winning bandÂ TrainÂ overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge inÂ San Francisco.Â
Vandoliers to headlineÂ July 4 Smoked Out Cookout at Mercury Lounge
TULSA â Oklahoma cannabis company Ruby MaeâsÂ is presenting the Fourth of July Smoked Out Cookout Sunday at Tulsa’s MercuryÂ LoungeÂ in Tulsa.
The free all-day event will feature live musicÂ fromÂ Vandoliers, Red Dirt Rangers,Â Zac WilkersonÂ andÂ Chris Blevins. as well as games, foodÂ and multiple vendors,Â including Sasuke Leon, Tessica Ann JewelryÂ and Josey Records.
The outdoor area will be open to all ages and will have a dunk tank, face painting and other games.Â
The vendor event kicks off at noon Sunday, with music starting at 2 p.m. The MercuryÂ LoungeÂ will offerÂ a clear view of theÂ TulsaÂ Folds of Honor FreedomFestÂ fireworks display over the Arkansas River.Â
For more information, go toÂ https://www.mercuryloungetulsa.com.
Vince Gill donates Roy Acuff fiddle to Country Music Hall of FameÂ
Oklahoma native and Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill has donated country legendÂ Roy Acuffâs cherished fiddle to the permanent collection of the Country Music Hall of FameÂ and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.Â
Acuffâs fiddle debuted this weekÂ in a spotlight exhibit in the museumâs upper-level galleries.
The fiddle was found and given to AcuffÂ byÂ AmericanÂ soldiers stationed inÂ Germany at the end of World War II, according to a news release.Â
The instrument and its story exemplify the popularity of country music â and Acuff in particular â during WWII. Then a major star of the Grand Ole Opry and a best-selling Columbia recording artist, Acuff enjoyed broad appeal in country music at the time, serving as an important bridge from the string-band era to the modern era of star singers backed by bands.
The fiddle was acquired this year by Gill, who became friends with Acuff whenÂ GillÂ began appearing on the Opry in the late 1980s.Â
âIt felt important to me that the great Roy Acuffâs fiddle join the ranks of other revered instruments in the museumâs permanent collection â including Maybelle Carterâs 1928 Gibson L-5 guitar and Bill Monroeâs 1923 Gibson F-5 mandolin,â saidÂ Gill in a statement. âThe fiddle was given to Acuff by soldiers during a time of war because of how much he meant to them. He meant a lot to me, too.â
The instrument was built in Germany around 1890 and is a copy of the highly prized violins constructed by Austrian luthier Jacobus Stainer in the 1600s. Discovered in a bombed-out music store in Frankfurt, Germany, by soldiers from the U.S. Armyâs 348th Engineer Combat Battalion in the waning days of World War II, the fiddle was sent to Acuff, their favorite country music performer, as a show of appreciation. Liking the tone, Acuff made it his primary fiddle for many years.
Acuff (1903-1992) was a singer, fiddle player, bandleader, songwriter, music executive and Grand Ole Opry favorite. Acuffâs star power among U.S. servicemen and women was proven when he prevailed over pop crooner Frank Sinatra in a popularity contest held on Armed Forces Networkâs âMunich Morning Reportâ near the end of World War II.
Acuffâs remarkable contributions to country music, which included co-founding Nashvilleâs Acuff-Rose Publications in 1942, led to him becoming the first living member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1962.Â For more information about the new exhibit, go to www.CountryMusicHallofFame.org.