May 20, 2015

Mayor's Red Dirt Ball Brings Texas Acts to Southwest Oklahoma

Story by D. Collin Hudson

Each year spring is the time that kicks off many outdoor music festivals for our favorite kind of music all around Texas, Oklahoma and well beyond. But how many of these music festivals have you heard of that offer two and half days of live music for free? That's right live music fans; this Friday May 22nd kicks off the 7th Annual Mayor's Red Dirt Ball in Medicine Park, Oklahoma (thru Sunday night May 24th) and enjoying every last live music performance all Memorial Day weekend long won't cost you a thing! It's a great event in a very unique and beautiful family-friendly setting that you're sure to enjoy.

If you have never been to Medicine Park, Oklahoma then you're in for a real treat. It's the oldest tourist destination in the state and holds a lot of laid-back charm that attracts many visitors each year. It sits just on the north side of Lawton, Oklahoma very near the Ft. Sill Army Base and the big, beautiful Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. The small but scenic historic town offers a very unique staycation or daycation experience for those within the region with a cozy downtown district boasting a cobblestone walkway chock full of shopping and casual dining options. There is also a motel and several reasonably priced cobblestone rental cabins available, and even a few bed and breakfast choices for those venturing in from farther away. The Bath Lake swimming hole is right in Medicine Creek basically in the heart of the downtown district, and very close to one of the two live music stages. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife launched a very successful trout fishing program there in recent years and Lake Lawtonka is also just north of town a mile or two. But most of the action this weekend is sure to be downtown on the two live music stages!

Every year Southwest Oklahoma music fans wait all spring to find out who will be the Saturday and Sunday night RDB headlining acts, and 2015 once again doesn't disappoint! Filling this year's spots are Austin, Texas vintage country outfit Crooks taking the main stage on Saturday night (10pm to midnight) and the The Dirty River Boys from El Paso, Texas wrap up the event on Sunday night with a bang (10pm to midnight). I don't know as much about Crooks but I can tell you that The Dirty River Boys unquestionable originality could only surpassed by their well-deserved reputation for very memorable, high energy live performances.

There are no coolers allowed during the weekend long event, however, there will be lots of food and beer vendors on hand and a couple of restaurants that offer full bars. For the full line up of bands for the entire festival check the Medicine Park website here:

For super cool 360 degree views of scenic points of view around Medicine Park check out the homepage of their website here: 


May 12, 2015

Artist Spotlight - Evin Brady

With a smooth soulful voice that sets him apart from so many of the singer/songwriters in his home state of Oklahoma, Evin Brady is doing things his way and making great music. Evin was the winner of the March Artist Showdown and we recently talked with him and got a peek at what makes a guy raised in the red dirt sing the blues.

What made you want to get into music?

I got into music by accident... Literally, I taught myself how to play guitar when I was young by sneaking into my older brothers room and playing with a cheap Fender electric. I'm not even sure the damn thing stayed in tune. Thinking back on it now but it didn't take long before I was able to string some chords together and attempt to play Hotel California, Smoke on the Water, Stairway to Heaven and Candlebox's Far Behind.... What did you expect? I'm a child of the 90s. Anyways, I wrote my first few songs my junior year in high school after a bad car accident took baseball season away. It's kind of a double edged sword, had I not been in the car wreck I probably wouldn't be playing music for a living now but I might not have student loan debt I currently have either. I still have a scar from the car accident on my wrist. Coincidentally the scar is in the shape of a music note so I believe I'm doing exactly what I'm suppose to do!

What challenges have you faced in your career?

My biggest challenge as a touring musician has been sounding so different than other regional acts. I thoroughly enjoy song swaps and I play with all types of artists from Kansas City to Austin, Phoenix to New Orleans, but the vast majority of my musically talents friends sing country music. And that's okay with me because I love country music but when you stick a white soul singer with a falsetto in a line up with a bunch of country guys and singer songwriter types he sticks out like a sore thumb and not always in a good way. For the most part people are kind though. They either tell me how different I am and how much they enjoyed it or "they don't typically listen to my style of music but I sure do it well." ( I think that's a backhanded compliment, but I'll take it)  Sometimes folks don't like me mixing with their favorite country acts but I guess everyone is entitled to their opinions.
 In regard to your music, how would you define the word “success”?

Ahhh, labeling "success." This is probably one of the most important and yet difficult tasks for any artist. I like to consider myself a realist so I tend to keep my head out of the clouds. That doesn't mean that I don't shoot for the moon from time to time. But I definitely remind myself that the only reason I'm able to do this is because people like my singing and the songs I write and I'm very fortunate to get to do this at all!  I try to treat my music as a business as much and as often as possible. It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the music industry but if you try to make smart business decisions and grow your brand  and continue to grow as an artist as long as your content then platinum records and Grammys shouldn't matter much. But would they be nice to have? Indeed. Head out of the clouds Evin, head out of the clouds.

What is the story with your album that never was? 

In college I sold a 1967 SS Camaro to pay for my 1st record. After sweet talking my professors into letting me skip class, I spent a week in Austin TX with Texas Artist Mark McKinney and his brother Eric recording and co-producing my 1st record. The songs I chose to record were a combination of rocking party songs, love songs and one truly dark and twisted murder ballad. The record turned out just fine but by the time it was finished, I had already been experimenting with this "new sound" (new for me at least) which would in turn lead to my first album remaining unreleased.It is kind of a shame really because I was accompanied by some amazing artists. Artists like Hal Vorpahl formally of Uncle Lucius on the bass guitar and Kylie Rae Harris singing some harmonies and numerous other extremely talented musicians. To not release it was one of the hardest things I've had to decide, but my writing, vocal melodies and phasing were all changing, not by design but let's call it artist development. I love the blues, I love soul, jazz, Motown, R&B, country, and big band stuff like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin and Tony Bennett. I love Willie Nelson, I LOVE Leon Russell and my new style was beginning to reflect more blues and southern soul and less country and rock. I love all styles of music but I could not release that 1st record knowing that I was about to start singing "Southern Soul"
 Evin Brady is the embodiment of what it is I love about music. How many artists today would record a perfectly acceptable album and put in on the shelf? I don't know many guys around here that have the artistic integrity to scratch an entire project like that. In a time where so often, money rules over the music, guys like Evin, who still play the weekly Wednesday night gigs because they haven't put out a record yet can still show us that music means more than the dollar to some people.