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Tom Skinner returns to studio to make rare album

The respected red dirt singer-songwriter, who plays with the Mike McClure Band Friday at the Wormy Dog, released his self-titled record last month on Oklahoma indie label 598 Recordings.
by Brandy McDonnell Published: December 28, 2012

Along with his own songs, Skinner's eponymous album features covers of fellow Oklahoma scribes, including Hoyt Axton's “Gypsy Moth,” Randy Pease's “I Love This Game” and Larry Spears' “My Favorite Cup.” The Tulsa resident said he wrote a couple of new songs, but he mostly worked from a master list of 30 tunes and no specific agenda.

“A couple of days actually we were in there and I didn't even bring my list with me. I'd left it somewhere else and I would just ... play whatever I felt like. And that's the way I do my live shows; that's the way I've done everything.”

In addition to touring with the Mike McClure Band, Skinner has been conducting his Wednesday Science Project for about 12 years. While the Tulsa-based band has moved its weekly gig around from time to time, for the past year, he and his friends have been playing at The Colony.

Also, Cody Canada & The Departed, the Red Dirt Rangers and Stoney LaRue are among the like-minded musicians who have covered Skinner's songs and cited him as an influence.

“I really do appreciate the way those younger guys treat me ‘cause they treat me good, with respect. But it's sort of baffling, too, because I wasn't inventing anything,” Skinner said. “I just wanted to be John Prine or Graham Parsons real bad, you know, that's all I was doing was imitating those guys and playing and having a blast. It wasn't like I was in a lab making any secret thing up.”

While Skinner may be humble about his songwriting and influence, Red Dirt Rangers singer/mandolin player John Cooper lavishly praised both.

“Hey, man, Garth Brooks wanted to be in Tom Skinner's band just like we all did. He was just persistent enough to keep at him until Tom finally said OK,” Cooper said. “You know, we all wanted to be Tom Skinner. The first time I saw Tom ... I was just like ‘This is the coolest thing I've ever seen. I want to do that with those guys.' And I know Garth felt the same way — we all did.”

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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You know, we all wanted to be Tom Skinner.”

John Cooper,
Red Dirt Rangers singer/mandolin player

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