Ramona and the Phanotms

Chris Rusk and Kylie Slabby of Ramona and the Phantoms, who recently performed for the Living Room Concert Series.

 

Tulsa has always been proud of its music scene. We offer red dirt country, experimental noise, some of the best hip-hop and rap around, and so much more. When COVID-19 hit, it hit the music scene hard. Gigs were canceled left and right; entire festivals moved online, or were postponed or cut all together. 

Tip Crowley, general manager of RSU Radio — Rogers State University’s student-run radio station — quickly realized the impact this would have on performing artists and music fans who love live performances. 

“We realized that concerts just weren’t going to happen for a long time, and we were kind of unsure about where live music would be in the next couple of months. So at the beginning of April, we started broadcasting these self-recorded

performances for musicians of all different styles,” Crowley says. “Our goal is to bring a feeling of normalcy to our listeners who go to shows regularly and who miss going out and hearing these performances.”

The bands and artists record themselves in their living rooms, home studios or wherever they can and send in the audio to be played on RSU Radio (KRSC-FM 91.3) for live music fans to enjoy. The Living Room Concert Series has included performances by Girls Club, New Time Zones, Men of Action, Chrim and many more local and regional acts. 

Lindsay Wessinger, front person of local band Girls Club, saw how valuable the series is to artists firsthand after her band recorded its own Living Room Concert, which aired April 17.

“It’s been hard being cooped up as a musician … During this crazy time, it’s been so nice having that outlet through their Living Room Series,” Wessinger says. “Not only did we enjoy recording and sharing our music on the radio waves, but we also love listening to our friends on the show and hearing some new stuff and old favorites.”

RSU isn’t bringing any musicians into the studio in order to maintain social distancing, so the artists are in charge of how their recording sounds. Sometimes the recordings they turn in have special songs or alternate versions of their music you know and love.

“I think it’s really cool because the performances are different than what you would hear when they’re actually playing in-person, live gigs and also different than what you would hear on their album,” Crowley says. “Like Girls Club did some unique drum programming just for this, and they did a really cool jazzy upright bass version of a song for us.”

Tune into RSU Radio, 91.3 FM, or visit rsuradio.com, to hear the weekly Living Room Concert Series. The station is not currently posting sets online after they air — Crowley says part of the goal is to bring people together to hear the same performance at the same time like at a concert. Showtimes are announced through RSU’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, and Crowley says they plan to continue the series until live concerts return to venues. 

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