Tuesday 22 Jul

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Crown heights

Crown heights

The reigning Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson puts on a ‘Party’ locally to celebrate her new album with The White Stripes’ leader

Joshua Boydston January 26th, 2011

Wanda Jackson with Green Corn Revival
7 p.m. Friday
ACM@UCO Performance Lab, 323 E. Sheridan
974-4700, free

Oklahoma City’s Wanda Jackson carries a storied past, but she’s not dwelling on it. She’s a legend, an icon, a slice of rock ’n’ roll history, and while those things are well and good, all she’s ever really wanted is a crowd to hear her sing.

Nearly two years ago, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a fitting and well-deserved recognition for the Queen of Rockabilly. She was delighted with the honor, citing how long and hard she and her camp had worked toward that destination; still she was still looking forward, even at the induction ceremony.

“I’d just been thinking how much longer I would be able to do this,” Jackson said. “It was such a big push to that, and I kind of wondered where I would go from there. It felt like there was only so much time I could keep singing these old, simple songs of mine and keep drawing crowds.”

She paused. “Then Jack White called, and I thought, ‘Oh, this is how I get to stick around.’”


Although 73, Jackson’s hardly the type to just fade away, making it plainly clear she will perform as long as her body lets her. But to do that, she needed audiences to keep coming back.

Getting antsy, Jackson wanted new material, something not only for those who had followed her during her full, 55-year career, but also to hook a new crowd. That’s when White, front man for alt-rock’s The White Stripes, made his offer.

Enter “The Party Ain’t Over” (a throwback to her 1960 hit, “Let’s Have a Party”). Released this week, it is Jackson’s first studio album in eight years, and her first with Third Man Records, the label founded and run by White, who also produced.

I guess he was trying to push me into the 21st century. I think that’s what he’s done.

—Wanda Jackson

On it, she covers 12-songs both new (Amy Winehouse’s “You Know That I’m No Good”) and old (The Andrews Sisters’ “Rum and Coca-Cola”), backed by an indie-cred cast that includes White. Their pairing has proven to be an unlikely, if not perfect one. Although she is more than twice his age, they seem to belong to the same era. They would have made a great couple, if the years had folded accordingly (it’s only fitting that White depicted Elvis, whom Jackson briefly dated in 1955, in the 2007 musicbiopic parody “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”).

They are both innovators and musical icons, hell-bent on making good music that anyone can appreciate, and that fact — along with Jackson’s knowledge of White’s winning collaboration with country royalty Loretta Lynn — was the comfort she needed to accept the partnership, despite initial worries.

“I can’t really put my finger on what exactly I mean, but he’s younger than my son,” she said, laughing. “I knew he was one of the hottest names on the planet, but I also thought that just because he was a big artist didn’t necessarily give him the credentials to being a good producer.

“I was also fearful of what kind of material he would be wanting me to do, maybe bringing me up-to-date and singing like somebody else. After we began talking and I got to know him a little bit, he told me that he wasn’t trying to change my style; he just wanted to give me a fresh sound and fresh-sounding material.”

White stayed true to his promise, crafting an album that is just as much Jackson as ever, all while pushing her harder than she had been pushed in years, if not decades. He worked tirelessly to keep her signature, immaculate voice as soft but gritty as ever, all while launching an overall vibe far removed from the decades that birthed it.

“He kept pushing and pushing me, always saying I could push a little harder. I guess he was trying to push me into the 21st century,” she said, laughing. “I think that’s what he’s done.”

While impressed, she didn’t escape the studio unaffected. The entire project was a two-way effort with Jackson resuming the role of student. It’s like a son teaching his mother how to be a good parent, but she listened with an intent ear, often surprised at what she could take away.

“He coached me a little, and I welcome that, although if I don’t always agree. I am the old pro,” Jackson said with a laugh. “I feel like I’m always learning, and you can learn something from everyone you meet. Jack offered a lot to learn from.”


Jackson’s work didn’t stop in the studio, and it’s been a dizzying experience promoting the disc. Having rarely taken a break from touring in half a century, she’s no stranger to sweat — just not at this speed.

“Once Warner Bros. picked up the album, things went into high gear,” she said. “It’s fun to work with people who do that and do it well. They are working me to death, however, but that’s what it takes nowadays. I’m kind of standing in the middle, scratching my head. Things are moving really fast.”

That they are. She’s making numerous appearances on national television, did 50 interviews over the course of three days while in Europe earlier this month, and is prepping for several dates stateside, including Friday’s free performance at the ACM@UCO Performance Lab, in promotion of “The Party Ain’t Over.”

It’s gone as great as imaginable, as Jackson finds herself reaching a whole new audience, selling out a pair of shows in Los Angeles and another in New York in less than half an hour.

The grizzled vet is hardly naive.

She realizes much of this resurgence is thanks to White, and her newest fans are the 20- and 30-somethings willing to give anything he touches a listen. It doesn’t matter to her; what matters is that they are listening, period.

“There’s this whole new generation of fans accepting me because of this,” Jackson said. “I’m doing Letterman and Conan, and I know it’s on the strength of his name, but that doesn’t bother me. I want to come through for him.”

As much as Jackson says it’s for him, it’s also for her. She’s lived and breathed for audiences as long as she can remember, and remains as passionate and willing as ever. It’s what she’s always asked for, what she will always live for.

“Just getting to do what you know you were born to do makes it worth it all. To do the only thing you’ve ever been passionate about my whole life is music. I’ve always loved to sing; no one has ever had to ask me twice,” she said. “I feel good about what’s happening now, I really do. I’m always thought of as an icon or a legend or a trailblazer, but those are all things in the past. It’s good for your ego, your confidence, to be thought of as a relevant, current artist, and that’s where I am and hope to always be.”

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