Apr 17, 2012

Red Dirt, Red Bull, and the Gypsy Cafe

Red Bull Gypsy Cafe     Legend has it that Red Dirt music got its start in Northeastern Oklahoma where the soil is, you guessed it, pretty red. There is a storied plot of that red soil just outside of Stillwater, OK known as "The Farm" where Red Dirt music is rumored to have been born. I was lucky enough to be invited up to Stillwater last Friday night and immerse myself in that scene for a night to cover the Red Bull Gypsy Cafe. For those of you that are not familiar with the Red Bull Gypsy Cafe here is a quick run down. It was an event set up to honor the Red Dirt music scene. It brought together 40 of the scenes most talented artists. Some old, some new, all acoustic, in an old fashion song swap style night of performances.

     As I got to Stillwater that day, I could feel a different atmosphere around me. Maybe it was the weather. The air was thick, there were dark clouds on the horizon, and lightning was flashing in the distance. Whatever it was, something was definitely different about this place. The first performance I saw that night was outside, but not even the threat of severe weather in the area deterred this crowd. Sitting there listening to the stories and songs of legends like Gene Collier, Mike McClure, John Cooper, Brad Piccolo and Stoney Larue was well worth facing down a tornado. Their performances were inspiring and gave me an even deeper respect of the history and roots of the music.

     As the night went on, there were so many artists and with shows at 4 different venues, I didn't get at all close to seeing them all. But, discovering the music of some of the lesser known artists like Dustin Welch, Jesse Aycock, and Chad Sullins left me with a feeling that the future of Red Dirt was in pretty good hands.  If there is any justice in the world those guys will be right where they should be alongside current well known Red Dirt artists like Brandon Jenkins and Steve Rice.
Jesse Aycock & Mike McClure
Stoney LaRue & Dustin Welch

Steve Rice & Gene Collier
      If nothing else comes from this write up, I hope that some of you will take some time and discover more about the musicians that created the Red Dirt music sound. Please do yourselves a favor, find some Bob Childers music, check out Tom Skinner, listen to anything from The Red Dirt Rangers, it has more heart, soul, and honesty, than anything on the radio today . Thank you to the people at Red Bull who did an amazing job with this years Gypsy Cafe. And thanks for keeping the soul of Red Dirt music alive.

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