Dane Arnold’s a bit paradoxical at first sight: This shy unassuming blond guy in a trucker cap wearing red-rimmed glasses, groaning like Otis Redding and strumming his acoustic guitar, feels like an aberration. But Arnold has become a distinctly soulful voice of late in the Tulsa music scene. His band, Dane Arnold and The Soup, recently recorded their first EP live at Auggy Reed Studios, which will be released April 13 at The Shop.
Arnold was born in Baton Rouge, but his family moved to Austin, Texas, when he was 12.
"When I moved to Austin, I really started playing music," Arnold said. "I was probably about 13 when I picked up guitar. My mom would play piano in church, and she was in the church choir. She also had an old guitar. I picked it up and started writing songs around then. At that time I learned just about every Bob Dylan song from his first two albums. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin—more so the singer-songwriter stuff—Eric Clapton’s Unplugged album."
This infatuation with an older sound is ever-present on The Soup’s new album. There are bits of Motown, old country, and soul there—from Michael Frost’s taut and lively drum rolls to Zach Hardin’s tuneful bass melodies in the foreground. Guitarist Johnny Mullenax adds a fiery texture of Southern rock and bluegrass, and D.G. Rozell (trumpet) and Dominick Stephens (trombone) add dimensionality with sophisticated horn melodies.
It was a stroke of fate or good fortune that led Arnold to Tulsa and to this group of musicians. He traveled from Austin to Colorado to Nashville, finally ending up on a piece of land in Arkansas with no running water or electricity, in search of the inspiration that would take him to the next level creatively.
"At the time I didn’t have anything going on, and I wanted to remove myself from everything," he said. "I really feel like distractions in city life and a very social life can hold creative processes back. I kept thinking, I don’t want to go out and drink and just hang out with my friends. I wanted to record and play out there in the middle of nowhere until I improved. I think being away from the city for so long opened me up to the possibility of living in Tulsa.
"My parents moved here a few years ago. So I came up here to visit for Thanksgiving [in 2016], and that’s what introduced me to Tulsa … I went to a couple open mics. Went to Yeti, went to The Colony and the Gypsy. I met Cody Clinton and Zach Short and several singer-songwriters here who were immediately really nice and helpful. … This is gonna sound really weird, but there were so many things that happened that made me feel like I was in the right place. It was what I’d needed for a long time."
Dane Arnold and the Soup album release show with special guest Mr. Burns
Fri. April 13, 10 p.m. | The Shop
14 N. College Ave. | $10