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Jacob Tovar

FX Networks’ “Reservation Dogs” has a soundtrack loaded with music by Native musicians and artists with strong Oklahoma ties.

Sterlin Harjo has long supported the local music scene, says Tulsa roots country musician Jacob Tovar. So, when Harjo invited Tovar and his band to appear in Episode 7 of “Reservation Dogs,” Tovar, a cinephile himself, was thrilled. 

“I’m really into films, so it was a great experience to be on the production side,” Tovar says. “He used ‘Three Good Reasons,’ written by Dennis Howard and me, as the upbeat song at the bar and ‘Cleveland Summer Nights,’ written by Wink Burcham and recorded by Isaac Hanson, as the slower, more emotional one that played several times in that episode and in the credits.” 

Musician JD McPherson no longer lives in Tulsa, but he’s known Harjo since their film school days at the University of Oklahoma.

“Right before the show aired, Sterlin told me ‘Wolf Teeth’ was going to be in the second episode, and I flipped out,” McPherson recalls. “He told me it was in the scene, ‘There’s a rumble at the Indian clinic,’ and I just died laughing. I was surprised by ‘Lucky Penny’ in the other episode. I had no idea. I’ve never been prouder for a music placement.” 

Oklahoma City Native rap duo and brothers Lil Mike and Funny Bone (“Mose” and “Mekko” in the series), have seen the popularity of their own music grow since being featured in the show. 

“I think it’s dope they’re using all Indigenous artists, creators and music. I think it only strengthens the show,” Funny Bone says. “It also brings awareness to artists who normally wouldn’t have that push. It’s been a plus for us because we are independent artists. There’s no big label behind us.”

Former Oklahoman and Muscogee Nation citizen Sten Joddi, a hip-hop artist (“Punkin’ Lusty” in the series), echoes these sentiments.

“Being asked to act on the show was cool, but being asked to send in a few tracks for possible use was the coolest thing for me. Music is my passion, and showcasing my music was incredible for me and my family,” he says. “All the artists featured in the series bring their swag of Oklahoma to the world — the bands, the singers, the rappers. I’m just thankful and grateful for being on something so groundbreaking and amazing.”

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