As previously reported, Oklahoma band Turnpike Troubadours and historic Tulsa venue Cain’s Ballroom recently were featured on CMT and Mountain Dew’s “Concrete Country” series.
Turnpike Troubadours, who consider Tahlequah their hometown, take their name from the Indian Nation Turnpike in their home state of Oklahoma. Since their 2007 debut, the Red Dirt band has traveled well beyond its native soil. Their latest album, 2012′s “Goodbye Normal Street,” conveys a restless, youthful spirit through keen lyrics and lively instrumentation. Band members include Evan Felker, R.C. Edwards, Kyle Nix, Ryan Engelman and Gabe Pearson. Felker, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, now makes his home in Okemah, Woody Guthrie’s hometown.
The Red Dirt band considers Cain’s Ballroom as a cornerstone of their music career, according to CMT.com. Built in 1924, the wooden building is celebrated as the home of the King of Western Swing, Bob Wills. Today it still hosts a broad range of touring acts from the Red Dirt scene and far beyond. That sense of history is not lost on the band, who performed a song that night inspired by the venue’s address: “Easton & Main.”
According to CMT.com, the film crew set up in mid-afternoon and didn’t realize until nightfall that the Cain’s rooftop sign lights up one letter at a time. Plus, the Oklahoma fans couldn’t have been nicer. Many of the folks knew band members personally, so there was a genuine feeling of mutual admiration. It’s clear that both sides take pride in the band’s success.
“We didn’t want to owe anyone and we didn’t want to be influenced by somebody else,” said lead singer and songwriter Evan Felker. “Also, there’s no magic button to hit. You don’t just score the record deal and make the record. Make the record yourself if you want to make a record. You might have to eat some Ramen noodles but you can get it done.”
CMT’s “Concrete Country” is a series dedicated to music discovery with an emphasis on artists who write their own songs.
As previously reported, the Troubadours will return to Tahlequah this weekend to play the inaugural Medicine Stone music festival, which launches Thursday at the picturesque Diamondhead Resort in Tahlequah. The three-day event continues through Saturday and will feature Oklahomans the Troubadours, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, The Departed, Stoney LaRue, the Red Dirt Rangers, Randy Crouch and the Flying Horse Band, John Fullbright, John Moreland and Thomas Trapp, along with Nashville, Tenn.-based folk standout Todd Snider and Texas singer-songwriter Jason Eady.
In addition to music, camping, canoeing, rafting and floating are on the lineup for the first Medicine Stone. The festival, which takes its title from the poetic name the Osage Indians gave the Illinois River, is the brainchild of the Turnpike Troubadours and The Stragglers, who wanted to devise a premier outdoor music event along the lines of the venerable Larry Joe Taylor’s Texas Music Festival.
For Medicine Stone tickets and information, go to www.medicinestoneok.com.