There was definitely an abundance of entertainment options in Green Country Friday night. Rocklahoma in Pryor, Brooks & Dunn at the BOK Center, Stars Go Dim at the Flytrap Music Hall and the event I have been looking forward to the most, Samantha Crain’s CD release party at the Cain’s side stage (Bob’s). This was Samantha’s CD release party for her new album entitled “You (Understood)” slated to debut June 8th, 2010. For those in attendance, they were able to get an early copy of the album.
I got to Bob’s about 30 minutes before show time and was able to get a table right in front of the sound board. I was very excited to see this show because I have never seen any of the artists, but have heard about them.
Kicking the evening off was Ali Harter, a singer/ songwriter from Oklahoma City. I was completely shocked by her transformation of just looking like your average girl with an acoustic guitar to sounding and performing much like a female version of Joe Cocker. It only took 5 seconds into the first song to spot the star quality. Wasn’t sure how to take her at the beginning; the first song was about huffing gasoline. As her set went on, I could tell she is a songwriter who likes to sing about serious situations but overlap them with humor. She is quite the comedian as well.
After Ali Harter, Zeb Dewar and the Half Breeds took the stage. On their myspace page, they describe themselves as a 2-step/garage/folk band. They are a 3-piece group from Portland, Oregon that have an old 50’s vibe. Not your Elvis look, but more of a blue collar worker look. These guys have great harmonies and were very entertaining. Samantha Crain came up and sang back up on a couple songs with them (she also did this on a song with Ali). Zeb, the lead singer had a couple guitars he was playing. One in particular looked like an old beat up acoustic you could find at any thrift store for five bucks. Somehow, this thing was electric and sounded absolutely beautiful. By this time lots of folks had made their way in to Bob’s and we were starting to have a full house.
The Turnpike Troubadours, a 5-piece band from Tahlequah, OK, hit the stage with both guns blazing. They had a kinetic energy unlike any old school country band I have ever heard. Their stage presence reminded me a lot of the Tossers, an Irish/Folk/Punk band that I am a huge fan of. Most everyone in the joint was on their feet by now. I know they have just released their second album, but these guys sound like they have been playing for 20 years together. They have a very tight, solid sound. I really can’t believe that before tonight, I have never heard of them; they should be a house-hold name for sure. If you like anything from Woody Guthrie to Waylon Jennings, I know you will be a fan of the Turnpike Troubadours.
Samantha Crain is a singer/songwriter/musician from Shawnee, OK. I was really excited to see her; partly because my family is also from Shawnee. I was anticipating, from what I had heard about Samantha, that her style would be very similar to Ali Harter. Either I was misinformed or maybe her style had recently changed, as she played a beautiful sea-foam green electric guitar most of the night. While still indie/folk, the addition of the electric guitar gave her a ‘rock’ edge.
I was amazed with the big voice coming out of such a small person. From my table I couldn’t actually see her so after a couple of songs I made my way to the front of the stage to take in the full experience. The first thing I noticed was Samantha has the sultriest female drummer I have ever seen. You don’t see female drummers too often and not only did this one look good, she is a great drummer as well. There was lots of singing along to Samantha’s older songs by the crowd. Everyone seemed to really be enjoying her new songs too. Samantha had Ali Harter and Sherree Chamberlain sing back up on a few songs in the set, giving the songs more depth. It was a very laid back, intimate show. Samantha has a strong, beautiful, intoxicating voice. She is a seasoned musician as well, playing both the guitar and harmonica at times. There was a song near the end (sorry, didn’t get the name) that was so mesmerizing. It just had a pure, innocence about it. Everyone was so involved in the song, you could hear a pin drop.
Around 11:40, Samantha was told it was time for the last song, so she played one off her new cd that she wanted to “go out” with. After the song was over and getting a tremendous response from the crowd, she was now told she could play two more songs. At first she didn’t want to because that was the song she wanted to finish with but with the crowd yelling for more, she and her band gracefully played two more songs for their fans.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
This was a terrific evening. I was able to hear four bands for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed each one. I have to say, there sure is a lot of talent here; Oklahoma knows how to keep dishing it out.