Christmas happens to be the most joyful time of the year for august Payne County band the Red Dirt Rangers.
After headlining their 17th annual Red Dirt Christmas last weekend at historic Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, the Rangers will play their even longer-running Kids Christmas Show on Sunday afternoon at Oklahoma City's Blue Door.
For singer/guitarist Brad Piccolo, singer/lead guitarist Ben Han and singer/mandolin player John Cooper, that's two of their favorite shows in two of their favorite venues.
“We've been on the stage at the Blue Door more than any other act ever ... between all the benefits we've done, the Woody (Guthrie tribute) shows, the Kids Christmas show every year,” Cooper said. “We've played there since the day he opened it.”
Shortly after proprietor Greg Johnson opened the Blue Door in January 1993, the Rangers presented the idea for the children's holiday show.
“Oh, man, kids are the best audience ever. I mean, who loves music more than kids?” Cooper said. “I love the energy that they have as an audience. When they're into what you're doing, man, it's magic. It's kind of a little magical carpet ride. It's just fun and they scream and applaud and they love the music and they dance and they sing along. It's just cool.”
Of course, children also can be a challenging audience.
“Kids owe you nothing. You'd better entertaining and quick because they will turn their back and walk away in a heartbeat and not feel one thing bad about it. You know, like adults will sit there and watch something they don't like just to be nice. Kids don't do that,” he said with a laugh.
The Rangers' performance, which will be kept to a kid-friendly 30 to 40 minutes, will include Christmas songs, as well as cuts from the band's 1990s album “Blue Shoe: Music for Kids of All Ages.”
Sunday's event also will include a visit from Santa Claus, along with punch and cookies for the youngsters.
Admission to this year's show is $5 a person.
“We just have a fun time doing it,” Cooper said. “It takes me aback when I see a guy come up to us at a bar and say, ‘Oh yeah, I saw you at the Christmas show when I was a kid.' It's like ‘Oh, wow.'”