Summer may be ending soon, but the music keeps on playing.
So, besides being on the verge of spontaneous combustion these past few months, how’s your summer been?
It seems cruel to be on the downhill side of summer, finally getting used to chronic dehydration, skin being seared by hot car seats and sweating in the happy heat of a live-music crowd. But that’s the beauty of this life, the comings and goings of seasons, family, friends and music.
A long-lost friend from Tulsa in the ’80s contacted me a few months back. Gianna Welling, known in these parts and back then as Gigi, recently completed “Something True,” an album steeped, battered and deep-fried in jazz, R&B and soul.
While this author would typically rather sit through a root canal than listen to anything with the letters “R” and “B” in the description, I found a lot to like. It is a beautiful effort, highly stylized and evocative of Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield or the Brand New Heavies.
This Booker T. Washington High School graduate moved to Houston in 1993 after studying at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., and started session singing around Nashville and then Houston.
One thing led to another and another and “Whoops, Bob’s your uncle!” Welling’s first LP comes out this month on CD in Europe and digitally over here on your usual outlets (see: iTunes, Amazon, etc.) on Expansion Records. Look for some local shows to be scheduled soon.
Note: On the album, Welling sings a song written by one of Tulsa’s own (David Gates, from Bread), “I Took the Last Train.”
Completely ignoring the fact that it is August, the eighth month of the year, Urban Tulsa’s 2009 Absolute Best Music Awards are being held at the only place they should be: Cain’s Ballroom, Aug. 8.
There will be a smorgasbord of live music: Callupsie, Dead Sea Choir, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, My Solstice and Vandevender, in addition to the usual “acts to be named later.”
The voting covered everything from Best Indie Rock to Best Cover Band, even including radio stations and personalities. (No KRSU? Terrible.) It really will be the place to see some of the trusted standards of local music and learn about some that flew unnoticed into the local-music discussion (Johnny Polygon, when are you playing again?) or ones that we just don’t get to see play enough (Fiawna, Annie, Dead Sea Choir, I am talking to you).
I would love to start my own awards for Best Hair, Funniest Song and Please, Put the Microphone Down, but that’s for another issue … closer to the end of the year.
Yet another local band that keeps getting better and better, Cody Clinton and the Bishops bring their indie/folk/rock to the downtown epicenter of live music, the Main Street corridor, with a performance at The Marquee Aug. 14.
They are filling a much-needed void in our musical habitat. There has been a dearth of their particular style, the Americana-inspired music that is patched through a series of kaleidoscope vacuums, tubes and wires. It has the dirt and grime of the reality of our lives, but shot full of hopeful bullets.
And they have some of the coolest song titles I have seen in a while, to wit: “Supermodels and Methadone,” “Pontius Pilate Blues” and “White Mountain Radio.”
On Aug. 22, El Paso Hot Button, aka Micky Reece, plays first at Under the Mooch (1423 S. Harvard Ave.) around 7 p.m. and at the Soundpony Lounge (409 N. Main St.) at around 10 p.m.
If you wonder why the western half of Oklahoma doesn’t fall into a bottomless ocean of lameness and musical irrelevance, it has a lot to do with El Paso Hot Button.
They (see: he) drive (see: drives) up from their (see: his) homes (see: you get it) in Norman to get you to buy the band’s newest offering, “Keep Your Eyes Quiet.” I don’t know if it’s the water in Cleveland County or the overwhelming deluge of football and fraternities, but Norman is the center of the musical universe of cerebral trip rock with The Flaming Lips (now in OKC) and The Starlight Mints as fellow residents.
For those of you scratching your heads as to which of these two local shows to see that night, this enterprising author has contacted the scientists at C.E.T.I. (Communications with Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and the German engineers who designed the Sham-Wow to develop your game plan for the 22nd.
- Go to Under the Mooch. Buy the CD from Under the Mooch representative. Listen to EPHB. Party. Smile.
- Go to the Soundpony after above musical presentation has concluded. Purchase cold beverage from Soundpony representative. Discuss crazy scene you just saw at Under the Mooch while EPHB sets up. Listen to EBHB. Party. Laugh.