Make way for the Prairie Dawgs

It’s hard to characterize the unique sound of the Prairie Dawgs, one of Tulsa’s more interesting local bands.  “If I had to label us,” J. Pat Murphy, band member said, “I would say we are a mix of bluegrass, country, acoustic and folk-rock.”

Murphy, originally from Kentucky, has been in the Tulsa area for over 31 years.  "There are three of us that are core to the band.  I play guitar, harmonica and sing,” he said.  “M. Terral also sings, plays guitar and the mandolin.  Our main vocalist is Jo Morton.” 

Together, the three are noted for their strong two and three part harmonies.  Their talent for combing vocals is one of the reasons they have a growing fan base, too.  “Harmonies are a big feature for us,” he said.  "It doesn’t hurt when you have a little celebrity support as well."
As Murphy notes, “Rod Ellichott played bass with us for a while, too.  He is Annie Ellichott’s dad. We also have Jim Vincent on fiddle.”

Murphy describes the band’s influences as Alison Krauss and Union Station as well as The GreenCards.  “We also like to cover a few songs from the New Grass Revival and I do a lot of Neil Young pieces,” he said.
This band, filled with talented musicians and vocalists, who are mainly self-taught, are evolving in their musical expertise.  An example is Murphy, who started playing music in the 6th grade.

He took band in high school where he played the trumpet and the French horn.  “I picked up on acoustic and electric around the high school era,” he said.  Murphy is in love with the business of making music and beautiful music it is.

The Prairie Dawgs, who originated from a former band called, Second Wind, started in 1998. Their current core line up has been together for about four and a half years. 

“We have a good time.  When the three of us get together, we just all get along real well,” Murphy said. “The harmonies just kind of show up.  The band already had some harmonies working from when the group was known as Second Wind and we were able to work in a third part on some of the songs.”

The group, which practices once a week, is dedicated.  And, that dedication is paying off as they begin to play more and more venues.  Their next performance, scheduled this Thurs., July 9, at 6:30p.m., will be held at Broken Arrow Farmer’s Market located at 400 South Main Street, in the new plaza area on the north side of the railroad tracts, on South Main Street. Tickets are free to the public.

“We’d like to encourage everyone to come out and get some fresh produce as well as some of the best soup in town.  There’s also a great selection of wine and beer,” Murphy said.  “We have a pretty good group of friends that support us and we’d love to make more friends.”

To help keep up with their fan base, the group carries a notebook to their events for people to sign.  “That helps us to add new people to our email list and gives us an opportunity to send out updates on our gigs.” he said.

The Prairie Dawgs, available for private functions, have played at a lot of different venues throughout town and they have been well received.  “It’s really a lot of fun,” Murphy said.

Also on schedule is a July 16th performance at Lola’s that will begin at 6:30 p.m. that Murphy encourages everyone to attend.  A highlight of the band’s upcoming performances are listed below for more information.

Additional details about the Prairie Dawgs and their upcoming gigs can be located at the band’s myspace page: or at the band’s face book site:

Prairie Dawgs Schedule of Performances

July 9 at 6:30 p.m. Broken Arrow Farmer’s Market, located at 400 South Main Street, the new plaza area on the north side of the railroad tracts, on South Main Street.

July 16 at 6:30 p.m. Lola’s at the Bowery, located at 5 East Brady, one block east of the Brady Theater and one and a half blocks south of Cain’s Ballroom.

July 18 from 2-4 p.m. TIDAL SCHOOL WINERY. (Directions: From Tulsa – Take I-44 west fifteen miles to the Drumright /Highway 33 exit. West on 33 to Hwy 16 in Drumright. South two miles on Hwy 16 to the winery).

Aug. 1 at 7:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. CHERRY STREET FARMER’S MARKET. Jason’s Deli parking lot, 15th and Peoria.

Aug. 15 at 6:3 – 9:30 p.m. LOLA’S AT THE BOWERY. 5 East Brady, 1 block east of the Brady Theater, 1 ½ blocks south of Cain’s.

Aug 16 from 2–6 p.m. THE GRAPE RANCH. (Located 6 miles south of the Okemah Exit on I-40, Exit 221)