AUTHENTIC MINUTE // A Short Convo with Samantha Crain

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Oklahoma Indie Musician / Songwriter / Producer — Samantha Crain shares an authentic minute with us discussing the Americana genre and how music found its way into her days. 

You are being called out into the spotlight globally for your influence in the genre of “Americana” — can you talk about your progression here as an Artist?
I don’t really like being lumped into the Americana genre. I don’t feel like they are accepting or supportive of me in the Nashville branch of that world. I’m assuming the subject matter or the way I write lyrics doesn’t fit their mold, or the arrangements I use on songs, doesn’t sound old timey enough for them. I’m not trying to sound of another era. There are plenty of influences I have from other eras but I’m aware that I am a 21st century writer and I think it is important to own up to that. I think what I do is more accepted by the singer/songwriter crowd and the indie rock crowd. Either way, I am an American, singing songs, mostly, about my experiences in America, so for that reason, I should be categorized as an Americana artist. But when I started playing, Americana wasn’t really a scene yet. At least not really in name, and it wasn’t as big and organized as it is now. My progression as an artist has been only reliant on a grass-root fan base, the Americana world really hasn’t championed me in any way. Not like they have with Fullbright or Parker.
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“Either way, I am an American, singing songs, mostly, about my experiences in America, so for that reason, I should be categorized as an Americana artist.”
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Music has been with you since what time in your life?
My dad and his brother played folk rock music together when they were growing up and that sorta filtered into my childhood…listening to them play together at church or family gatherings.
Also, my grandma, had this great free- styled jazzy way of playing southern baptist hymns, and I loved to listen to her play. I always loved music but didn’t really see myself as talented in a musical way, and wasn’t really interested in writing or playing music until I got out of high school. I became a little more introspective, more thoughtful, and this playing guitar and writing was a product of that.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Samantha Crain live, she is performing Myriad Botanical Gardens tomorrow (July 4 @ 8pm) and at the upcoming Make Guthrie Weird on July 12th @ 7:30pm. She has a free download of her amazing song, The Miner and more about her upcoming European tour here!
Stay tuned for our full interview in upcoming Issue4!

Album “FRAMES” the Jazz Odyssey to You

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Brian Haas is the innovative Jazz guy behind the internationally recognized “quirky eccentric almost abstract” ensemble Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (JFJO).

When I heard Brian was offering a personalized jazz improvisation based on a astrology chart, I was intrigued and wanted to get the word out so more people could have their own personalized song. As he says later in the Q/A, its a little bit of comedy and then at some points a deeper interpretation. But ultimately, if you purchase the album FRAMES by October 15, 2013, you receive a song composed for you by Brian based on your birth date and the origins of your cosmic spectrum. Whether one believes in any such data is to each his own, but this provides a cool experience for you to expand your Jazz and Musical library, get your ears around some innovative Jazz and receive a gratuitously composed song especially for YOU–ALL for $15. It’s one of those things I think people will kick themselves for not trying out. Its like having a local Mozart of Jazz around and missing a chance to get an autograph, a ingeniously personalized musical one. And Brian has even advised if you are at one of the shows in his fall tour, he will play the song live for you. So, check this out and then head HERE to get in on the goodness.

How many years is your relationship with the piano? With jazz?

         I have been studying the piano since age 4.  From then until age 19 the only type of music I played was classical.  As a student at TU it seemed the  jazz guys were having the most fun and classical music was burning me out and bumming me out.  I have always been an improviser at the piano so the switch from classical to jazz seemed natural.  I started JFJO at age 19 to basically learn how to play jazz from a bunch of cats who were way better than I.  I have been playing jazz for 21 years and playing piano for 35 years.

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I have ordered my CD and song, while I wait for it’s delivery….can you give a brief angle on the inspiration behind FRAMES?

I wanted to do something unlike anything I have ever done before and write music based mostly on melody and harmony and not improvisation.  I wanted the improvisation to come later, at the live performance.   I wanted to take myself out of my comfort zone.  I have been living in Santa Fe, New Mexico for almost 2 years and the profound landscape and magical hum of the Sangre De Christos Mountains translated easily as inspiration on many levels.   The textures around me became the textures of the compositions.

Brian-Haas-by-Jeremy-Charles-2  You are offering these personal songs to listeners who purchase FRAMES before October 15th, can you   describe how this idea came about? A little bit about the creative process involved with this?

  Jazzstrology !  Everyone’s astrological chart is very different and I wanted to do something strange and new for people willing to pre-order the album.  I found a website with free, complete charts and I enjoy the language associated with astrology in general.  I find it fun and challenging to improvise based on difficult contexts like a fan calling off the name of a song and then creating a song based on that.  This is no different.  I am doing a series of small improvisations based on all twelve planets of the zodiac from the language of this one astrological website.  It is comedy on some levels and deep interpretation on some levels.  Whatever I can conjure in the moment.

What are some of the signs that have been your easiest to pull together songs for thus far…

So far I have only done Ryan Gosling’s chart as an example for fans who were a little confused by the idea.

OK->LA Tate Wittenberg

OKLA Episode2 TateWittenberg 1280 from OKIEMAMA on Vimeo.

Join us for Episode 2 of our Pilot Webseries OK-LA with Raisin Cains Director, Tate Wittenberg.

Tate talks about his favorite place on earth in Tulsa and introduces his spirited companion Roxy to our audience.

Enjoy and remember to share any names of awesome Okies in the California area for our upcoming OK->LA Production Mixer.

 

NMF5 | Norman Indie Rocker Festival Ups the Ante

Portugal. The Man rocking the main stage.

Located squarely in the center of historic downtown Norman, the Norman Music Festival —celebrating its fifth year in 2012—could easily be summed up in numbers: three days, 250+ bands, a reported 70,000 people in attendance, zero dollars for admission. Missing from that black-and-white account, though, are the important things: the joyful strains of local and national bands; local businesses inundated with new patrons; the blood, sweat, and tears of the volunteer staff; a city asserting its place in the larger arts scene of Oklahoma and the rest of the nation.

Norman Family Event Circus Troupe: Carnevolve offers an array of talent for all ages

By all accounts, Norman is a college town, and in late spring, when football is over and students are readying to scatter for the hotter months, NMF is one last hurrah for all walks to concurrently pour onto Main Street, figuratively and literally.

 The awesome Alejandro+Escovedo.

If you’re into indie rock, Norman’s lively indie rock music scene has historically been represented heavily on the main stage lineup, with this year’s headliners Portugal. The Man and Stillwater natives Other Lives—hot off a tour with Radiohead—pulling in the final two slots on Saturday’s main stage. Other notable acts in the genre include the local-but-not-local Evangelicals on the Blackwatch Stage and the reunited Olivia Tremor Control, who played to a capacity crowd at Opolis late Thursday night.                          Stillwater’s own Other Lives were radically received.

The Red Room hosted a hip hop showcase featuring one of Oklahoma City’s finest, Jabee, along with up-and-comer Josh Sallee. There were punk bands BRONCHO and Shitty/Awesome; country singer/songwriter Hayes Carll and Krystal (daughter of Toby) Keith; venues dedicated to only Latin music and jazz; and, well, hopefully you get the point. If you like music, there was something for you there, or you weren’t listening hard enough.

Bang Bang Street Entertainment.

Red Wanting Blue

The Giving Tree Band

Local bands Deerpeople, Rainbows are Free, Crown Imperial and Magnificent Birds.

At no other music festival can you watch the Thunder win a playoff game with a buzzer beater, see your friends and neighbors perform for hundreds, watch noted national bands play for free, and then walk home on the fringes of a thunderstorm.

Portugal. The Man. nailed the niche for this years Indie headliner.

All of that, in addition to the freeness of the event and its location smack dab in the middle of downtown Norman, rather than a dusty suburban field, makes the Norman Music Festival unique in all the world and headily injected with the personality of its city and its staff. It’s not a small event in any sense of the word, but it is personal and potentially pivotal to the growth of Norman’s artistic identity on a large scale.

Written by the Oh so Original voice of Becky Carman. Thanks to the awesome photographers: Lori Duckworth, Chase Spivey, Heather Kelly, and Attila Balazs for their rocking contributions to the NMF community. We will be updating our Tribal podcast with a timely interview with NMF Chair Steven White on his personal recap.

A Keene Art Deal | Guestroom Specialty

Since 2007, Guestroom has carried the unique and colorful record cover art created by rad and infamous Brooklynite, Steve Keene. I cant really delve into the awesome insanity of how Keen creates his work, but in a nutshell, he picks an album or a few, and then goes to town in his studio painting all day walls of any inspired and chosen piece for the day (somedays 100 or more a day). No, really, check him here for a photo so you can catch the visuals. His one of a kind paintings are sold for $25/each via Guestroom Records in Norman and Oklahoma City, and these stores are one of maybe 4 worldwide distributors of Keenes album art, selling over 4,000 in the 5 years they have carried them. With his mass production Picasso methods, his philosophy on making people happy is noted in the December 97′ issue of TIME, “I think people are hungry for something thats not judged by a cultural elite. Im not getting rich, but I can see  someone come in here, smile and take a painting home with them. Thats exciting.”

The deal is you get what you get and dont throw a fit. You can order via the artists site here, but you have no idea what you will receive, which is what inspired this little ditty of a piece. If you are new to the record store scene in the Metro, dont fret, these guys are real nice folk and you wont feel like you are walking into some scene with Barry (Jack Black) in High Fidelity making a square request. I should know, I bought the Against All Odds soundtrack on vinyl and didnt hear a single snicker.

The Keene part of the deal is they get shipments of these cool vinyl cover art paintings too many to list: Led Zeppelin, White Stripes, the Beatles, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Sonic Youth, Butthole Surfers and loads of The Lips. Steve delivers to his Oklahomies here. The albums are painted on 25×25 pieces of plywood with house paint, and to my eye it seems theres a special something for everyone. There’s even a Michael Jackson in the Norman store right now! So, have a look at the stock in the collage, Ive already invested in a Beastie Boys Pauls Boutique for my sons college dormroom 12 years in the future. So, make a keen decision to think ahead on making a little wall of favorites like my friends below, the Brewer Sterrs with their Flaming Lips Keene collection, or style up your abode with your one of a kind.

I love what Keene says about the experience of owning one of his pieces, “I want buying my paintings to be like buying a CD: it’s cheap, it’s art and it changes your life, but the object has no status. Musicians create something for the moment, something with no boundaries and that kind of expansiveness is what I want to come across in my work.”

Aimee Tietze Adams is a Photojournalist/Editor In Chief of OM media and magazine. She wants to learn how to juggle and play Neil Youngs Powderfinger on electric within the years end.

Judged Again | A Moment of Insight with Luke Dick

I have known Luke for a couple of years and have been so impressed with not only his musical talent, but the heart of purposeful intent behind every project he initiates or finds collaborative impact. When Luke called and asked for a few stills for his Innocent Man soundtrack, I was happy to make the journey to Ada and make creative attempts to gather a visual representation of a town that carried negative undertones due to John Grishams book,  The Innocent Man, about the wrongful conviction of Ron Williamson. Having been a Bob Dylan fan for years for his soulful oratory, and justice driven “Hurricane” which assisted in the overturning of Rubin Carters erred fate, I found the synergy between Dick and Dylan worth sharing and celebrating. His song places the audience in the shoes of a judged and labeled Williamson, which I find brilliantly soulful and compassionately timeless.  Here is some open insight delivered by Mr. Dick, feel free to click play on the video below before taking the interview by scroll. by Aimee Tietze Adams Photographer/Editor In Chief


Tell us a little bit about Luke:

I’m Luke Dick.  I don’t have a title yet–don’t know if I’ll ever have one.  I like doing many things–music, primarily, but also film, writing, scoring, cooking, fathering–not necessarily in that order.  I teach philosophy in NYC, and I am constantly working on music and films.  I can’t imagine doing anything other than what I do.  Three days a week, I’m teaching at City University of New York, mostly various thinkers in the history of philosophy.  The other days are reserved for creative work–that might be writing or recording a song, shooting a documentary, editing a video, writing an essay.  Oh, and fart around a lot, too.  If I run into someone at a coffee shop, another creative calls me for lunch, or my kiddo wants to get ice cream, it might last a few hours.

Where were you when you had the idea to do something for the Innocence Project

I was driving on I-40, listening to John Grisham’s Innocent Man, when I had the idea to write a song about it.

What drew you into Ron Williamsons story?

I find Williamson’s story so compelling, because it’s a unique, but all-to-familiar story of some person who gets scapegoated without any regard for facts.  The human aspect of Williamson’s story is that he is, well, human.  After reading Grisham’s book and various stories on innocenceproject.org‘s site, it becomes apparent that the death penalty and our system of justice in America is tragically flawed, and there are casualties–both the victims of the original crime whose offenders go unpunished, and the men who get wrongly accused, usually because they lack proper resources to defend themselves.

You now live in New York, how do you feel about the creative process as An Okie Artist living in NY? More inspiration/Less?

There’s inspiration everywhere.  What’s unique about New York is the density of it.  Not only are there a multitude of people living in a small space, many of these people are creative and very ambitious.  This increases competition and the ability to find high quality collaborators.  In regards to talent, it’s both a numbers and a spirit game: In Oklahoma City, a city of roughly a million, there may be one person somewhere who has both animation skills and similar aesthetic tastes as your own–there out there somewhere in their car, perhaps living in Noble, OK, and you may never meet them.  In New York, there are a drove of artists in various mediums living within a couple miles of you–they’re all here on a timeline to build a creative life they want.  That’s why many of them move here.  Based on all the pop art that I love (TV shows, movies, etc.) I’ve come to value collaboration more at this point in my life.  I have my part of the project that’s my own, but I love relying on talented people.  If you work in creativity in Manhattan, you’re bound to run into them–maybe even at your favorite coffee shop.  I just ran into one of my favorite guitar players at my local east village espresso joint, Abraco.  He and I talked at length about music, education, art, etc., and talked about collaborating.  These kinds of happenings occur in NYC because of proximity and density and ambition.

Are you performing in NY or working on other projects?

I perform regularly at a few clubs in town–live music is a love of mine.  I love playing with the wealth of talent here.  I also have several projects in the pot at any given time.  For now, I’m working on a project about Oklahoma City’s Red Dog, priming the story for a multimedia experience, as well as a This American Life story.

Any frustrations growing up in Oklahoma?

I never considered myself a frustrated kid.  I grew up most of my youth in a small town of Cogar, OK.  There is much to enjoy about the idyllic, but I always loved the allure of city life, even as a boy not knowing what a city was.

Whats the thing that makes you most proud to be Okie grown?

I work a lot with Okies who have moved to the coasts.  I can’t tell if it’s actual or imagined, but I always feel like I can rely on these people to come through on projects.  There’s a populism that I love about them.  Everyone’s grandfather was a farmer–we creatives aren’t farmers, but we can appreciate it.  By nature of living in Oklahoma, we also appreciate the culture.  Even though something in us pushed us out to the coasts, we hang on to our appreciation to culture from the middle–it makes our creative perspective unique amongst others on the coasts.

You can find more about Luke at www.lukedick.com and his passion for theInnocenceproject.org

 

Grammified | Sugar Free Awesomeness

Oklahomas Kindie Rock Pioneers won a Grammy this year for their part on a collaborative album with an awesome cause, bringing the Kindie scene awareness train to the Bully Stop. Myself and Tina Walker sat down with Chris Wiser and Dr. Rock during their final edits of their 2010 album Funky Fresh and Sugar Free and pre-fatherhood and grammy life. Hear how they transitioned from the late night scene to playing local and regional libraries while forging the local Kindie music frontier. Chris Wiser also fills us in on life after a Grammy and how fatherhood has offered further inspiration for his playtime gigs. Photographed by Candi Coffman McKinney

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