If you want to celebrate the Fourth of July with some great indie folk-rock, the Myriad Botanical Gardens has a great free show for you Friday.
The Myriad Gardens will be the site of two big free, public concerts presented by TEEMCO: Samantha Crain will perform July 4 and John Fullbright will perform Aug. 1. Both concerts will start at 8 p.m. and the Gardens will have a festive atmosphere with food trucks, and cold beer from Coop Ale Works. Ice House will be open, serving Nic’s burgers, fries, beer and milkshakes.
The concerts are in addition to the weekly Acoustic Thursdays presented by TEEMCO at the Gardens. On Friday, I’ll bet you can see the Bricktown fireworks from the Gardens, too.
A Choctaw Indian, Samantha Crain grew up in the small town of Shawnee listening to her father’s Dylan and Grateful Dead records, dabbling in painting (a pursuit she took seriously enough to later land a gallery exhibition in Oklahoma City) and trying her hand at writing short stories. When she became intrigued by the notion of writing songs, Crain reworked a series of stories she’d written while taking creative writing classes at Oklahoma Baptist University into the songs she then recorded for her self-released EP, “The Confiscation: A Musical Novella.” The quality of the material and the bold way in which she delivered it inspired North Carolina-based Ramseur Records to sign the fledgling artist to a deal; the indie label gave the EP a more formal release in 2007.
Crain made “Songs in the Night” (2009), her debut LP —and her first proper recording—with the Midnight Shivers, a band she’d formed not long beforehand. It got the attention of Rolling Stone reviewer Will Hermes, who wrote, “Her voice is gorgeously odd—all fulsome, shape-shifting vowels that do indeed billow like fog.” She followed it a year later with the stripped-down “You (Understood)” (2010), recorded in a converted barn in Wichita, exposing the primal extreme of her sensibility. “Like a prairie-bred, meat-and-potatoes Joanna Newsom, Crain’s vocals are quivering, emotive and visceral,” noted Liz Stinson in Paste. Her third LP, “Kid Face,” was released last year.
Born and raised in Bearden, near Okemah,singer/songwriter John Fullbright was barely out of high school when he began playing the festival circuit. Raised on the songs of hometown hero Woody Guthrie and steeped in the rich Americana artistry of genre-hopping mavericks like Townes Van Zandt, Randy Newman, and Steve Earle, Fullbright started his music education on the piano at the age of five. He later added guitar to his arsenal, and in his late teens he began honing his craft at the legendary Blue Door in Oklahoma City, eventually releasing a live album with the venue’s founder, Greg Johnson.
He spent the ensuing years touring and building his fan base, many of whom contributed donations to fund his 2012 Blue Dirt Records studio debut, “From the Ground Up,” which earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Americana album. The warm and intimate “Songs” followed earlier this year, again on Blue Dirt Records.
On Thursdays, TEEMCO is also bringing a series of chill acoustic performances to the Gardens, making the Ice House plaza the coolest place to be on Thursday evenings in May, June and July. There are typically two performers per evening, with each performing a 45-minute set. Performances are from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and are free to the public.
The Ice House will be open during the performances, serving tasty Nic’s burgers and ice cold beverages, and the Park House patio will be open with great happy hour food and drink specials.
TEEMCO CEO Greg Lorson said in a news release he believes strongly in giving back to the community his company calls home, and feels that adding a music series to the Gardens is a great way to do that.
“We love the beauty of the Myriad Gardens and we love great music, so it was a natural for us to put the two together. We’re very excited,” he said.
Dates and performers for Acoustic Thursdays presented by TEEMCO include:
Tonight – Emily Northcutt
July 10 – Buffalo Rogers
July 17 – indigos
July 24 – Kaitlin Butts
July 31 – Shea Boman
August 7 – Carol Morgan
August 14 – Jade Castle
August 21 – Bold McCoy
August 28 – Jessey General Thompson
For more information, go to www.myriadgardens.org.