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Oklahoma performers release digital music to benefit tornado relief efforts

In addition to the “Reaching Out,” a 22-track compilation from Oklahoma indie rock, folk and pop-punk bands, a wide range of Sooner State musicians, from Blake Shelton and Color Me Badd to Sugar Free Allstars and Horse Thief, have dropped digital singles to raise money for the cause.
by Brandy McDonnell Modified: June 10, 2013 at 4:26 pm •  Published: June 11, 2013

Oklahoma City pop duo Laura Leighe dedicated its summery new song “Down in the Valley” to tornado victims, with 100 percent of iTunes sales going to Red Cross relief efforts.

Horse Thief, an Oklahoma City psychedelic folk rock band, repackaged its home state tribute “Warrior” on Bandcamp for the same cause.

“Our hearts are broken for the lives and homes lost in the recent tornadoes that destroyed so much of the land we love. We feel helpless since we were on tour during the storms, and have decided to put up our song ‘Warrior (Oklahoma)' for a minimum $1 donation to help raise funds and spread awareness,” frontman Cameron Neal said in a statement.

The 1990s hitmakers Color Me Badd, which reunited in 2010, rushed the launch of its new website to make the upbeat single “Skywalkin'” available for free download. In lieu of payment, the vocal group is asking fans to donate to the Red Cross.

According to, band member Bryan Abrams lives in Moore and the May 20 tornado's path came within a mile of his house, where he and his family hunkered down in a closet.

During his televised “Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert” in Oklahoma City, Tishomingo country star Blake Shelton and his fellow “The Voice” coach Usher performed a special duet of Shelton's hit “Home.” “The Voice” host Carson Daly announced last week on the reality show that their heartfelt version of the ballad is available on iTunes, with proceeds going to continued tornado relief efforts. “Healing in the Heartland” raised more than $6.5 million for the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund.

‘Reaching Out'

Blaul, an Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma graduate, and Pierce, an ACM@UCO junior, said they used every connection to the state music scene they could think of to recruit bands for “Reaching Out.”

“I'm extremely happy with how excited everyone was about the concept and how quickly they responded,” Pierce said.

While the bands didn't write songs specifically in response to the tornado, Blaul said he thought the provided tracks gave the album sonic diversity but meshed well together. “Reaching Out” is available on Bandcamp for $7 and iTunes for $9.99.

“The main goal was just to get this out while people still remember what happened, and they're still in the mindset where they would be open to giving to the cause,” Blaul said.

“I just wanted to be able to contribute something through music.”

by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
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