It’s easy to see why many secular types consider Christian music a joke. Badly produced, pre-programmed Casio backbeats and plastic saxophones providing the soundtrack to a holier-than-thou message inspires snickers and winces from even those least jaded. OKC’s Soul Williams aims to and succeeds in knocking some sense into that rightfully stereotyped scene.
Three volumes in and A Blackwatch Christmasyet again nabs a spot on the nice list, showcasing a smattering of Oklahoma artists with charming new holiday standards. This year shakes up the status quo with two themed halves — serving up dusty, countrified Christmas ditties on the Holly-Tonk side and soulful hip-hop carols with Jingle Beats, both with joyful returns.
It has been a relatively rocky road for Weatherford alt-country outfit Green Corn Revival, which has seen its share of highs (acting as backing band for rockabilly icon Wanda Jackson) and lows before an (amicable) split in the road led half of the original lineup to forming Honeylark.
Oklahoma is quickly becoming the indie Christmas music capital of the world, it seems, with yearly compilation albums featuring everyone from Stardeath and White Dwarfs to Graham Colton. So it makes sense that Colourmusic — freak-poppers hailing from Stillwater — would craft a full album of original, offbeat holiday tunes themselves.
The Oklahoma City metro has a thriving garage rock scene. With seasoned acts like Broncho and Copperheads carrying the modern-day torch, the way has been paved for a flock of gritty, young, guitar-centric acts. But nascent Norman trio Poolboy has a knack for riotous hooks that few of its contemporaries can boast.
David Ramirez and Matthew Mayfield with Justin Joslin and Braylon Warr 8 p.m Wednesday, May 23 VZD’s Restaurant & Club 4200 N. Western vzds.com 524-4203
Singer-songwriter David Ramirez needs only an acoustic guitar to perform his heartrending tunes. Since he can fit all his gear in the front seat of a sedan, his tour expenses are low, meaning he can tour often. But living on the road ensures some gigs will be out of the ordinary.
“I was at this joint in Chicago, and it was a Tuesday night,” said the Austin, Texas-based Ramirez. “I’m thanking everyone for coming out on a weeknight, and someone from the back yells out, ‘We would have been here regardless!’ Then a woman started playing fetch with her dog, so the dog was running up on the stage.”
Metro music fans can expect fewer mutts milling about next Wednesday, when Ramirez takes the stage at VZD’s, with Matthew Mayfield in tow.
Although VZD’s is a restaurant and venue, its setup guarantees that the concert will be nothing like an unforgettable one he played at this spring’s South by Southwest. His schedule read, “Hilton Lobby,” but fans who showed up found Ramirez stuck playing in a corner of the hotel’s restaurant, right next to the door from the kitchen.
“I don’t necessarily mind people that talk, but dishes clanking and food orders being brought out in front of the stage is not an ideal situation,” he said.
For an artist whose songs often are sparse and intimate, having a carefully constructed mood punctured by zooming waiters bearing plates of piping-hot food was uncomfortable at best. But Ramirez, with all those shows behind him and many more in front of him, took it in stride and put on a great show for his audience.
“You make do. Especially at [South by Southwest], you get put in the most random places,” he said.
Still, at that same festival, he played his first official SXSW set.
It’s a sign of moving up in the music world, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Ramirez, who is fond of releasing live albums and EPs, will offer Apologies, a full-length studio effort, in August. He’ll undertake another big tour to support the album, with plans to incorporate a live band into some of those trips.
Until the album drops, he’ll keep touring on just a guitar and a voice, bringing his heartfelt tunes to listeners both human and canine.