Ryan Lawson's folk/country amalgam is unique for several reasons: he doesn't have much twang (like folk), he strums a lot (like country, and his vocals knob is perpetually set to "holler." He falls in the space between the genres, and his singular vision is always exciting and interesting. His set at Sooner Theatre Stage was no different. He entertained the audience with his excellent tunes and charming stage presence, despite putting up with some unnecessary shuffling of other people's equipment during the front end of his set. It was a joy to just kick back and enjoy some foot-stompin' good tunes.
It was also a joy to see Laura Wiederhoeft and Kyle Reid at Sonder Music. I'll listen to anything Kyle Reid does — so this set was guaranteed on that front — but it was also Wiederhoeft's (Off Boyd Jazz) last Oklahoma set before a move to Wisconsin. This can't-miss set lived up to its promise, as Wiederhoeft (vocals) and Reid (acoustic guitar) trotted out originals by both, jazz standards and even a Reid instrumental on cigar box guitar (his latest venture). The originals were the most riveting, with Reid's instrumental being a jaw-dropping highlight. Wiederhoeft's voice was sultry and inviting as usual, shining brightest on a Reid-penned tune about (what else?) the craziness of being in love. It was a thoroughly calming and enjoyable set. Wiederhoeft will be missed.
The venue helped the atmosphere as well. Well lit and well-insulated from outside sound, the intimate venue was an excellent place to watch the duo work their magic. I hope they expand their role in the fest next year.
Because I knew I was going to miss Penny Hill Party on the main stage, I stopped back in at Opolis to watch Penny Hilary ("I am Penny Hilary, my band is Penny Hill," Pitchlynn said) acoustic. Her loose, meandering songs quite impressed me, exciting me for a 7" record that she said was coming out on Nice People this summer. Although her modus operandi included a flowing, easy pace, her best songs tightened up the formula a bit, allowing for immediately memorable melodies.
Norman guitar loudsmiths engineer an awesome sonic nightmare.
Rock Matt Carney
I always enjoy conversations — be they digital or in-person — with Hook
Echo Sound and Nice People Records owner/engineer/operator Chris Harris, mainly as he’s one of the Oklahoma
music community’s few remaining people who speaks his mind forcefully
Download a bunch of free music for your holiday season.
Sorry to have waited so long to provide you, noble OKSee reader, with quality tunes for your Christmahannukwanzika season, but I figured that the Blackwatch Studios and Nice People compilations would tide you over until I could find a spare couple of minutes to compile all the festive stuff that’s filled up my inbox like a stocking since about mid-November.
Highlighting this little collection is a pleasant surprise that The Nghiems’ front man, David Nghiem, just sent, called “Holiday in the OK.” He recorded it at Blackwatch with Will Hunt, James Nghiem (also from The Nghiems), Tyler Hopkins (The Nghiems, Black Canyon), Chad Copelin (Blackwatch) and Gazette contributor Becky Carman. It sounds like a lazy, perfect holiday spent with your family. Love it.
I don’t give two snowballs about anything else in this song, it’s by Guided by Voices and opens with the lyrics “Start off the day with a Krispy Kreme doughnut / Sweet as life can get.” New favorite for the holidays.
I really, really, really want to hear Tom Waits take a stab at this one. I suppose Red Wanting Blue will have to do.
Merge Records — “Winter Sampler” OK, none of these songs appear to have anything to do with the holidays, but they’re from Eleanor Friedberger, The Mountain Goats, Superchunk, Wild Flag, Archers of Loaf and the rest of the usual Merge suspects. And oh, lookie there — you can nab free Christmas tunes from She & Him and Julian Koster down at the bottom of the page!