Old 97s Oklahoma City

(photo by Chris Davis)

Old 97s came to town earlier this month for their “Holiday Hoopla” tour, and we had a chance to check it out at the Tower Theater. They are still one of my favorite bands, and I recommend that you go check them out any time they come near your area. Hell, go see them on the road some time, as it’d make a great road trip, as well.

The guys have been playing together for a long time, yet the song sound fresh. Their last two albums “Graveyard Whistling”and “Most Messed Up”have also been some of their best. “I don’t want to die in this town” and “Bad Luck Charm” are two of my recent favorites. There’s a realism to their lyrics that sucks you in and makes you laugh at the same realities that you have faced or at least thought about before.

They played some of their past favorites during the show, as well. “Big Brown Eyes” is always a favorite, and so is “Doreen.” I love the way they play together and seem to genuinely have a good time. It also helps that Murray (bass) is from Oklahoma, so that always counts for points with me.

Rhett Miller, lead singer and rhythm guitar, opened the show with a solo acoustic set, which was rollicking and irreverent, and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of having a conversation with Rhett, it was vintage Miller.

There was a magician in the middle Casey Magic, which was an interesting interlude between musical acts.

All in all, another great show. I’m glad that there are some medium size venues in Oklahoma City now that are attracting these acts, as in the past it was often overlooked for Tulsa or Dallas.

As 2019 fades, I hope everyone has a great end of the year with plenty of time with the people you want to be with. If things get too tough, as we all know they can, please reach out to someone and let them know. We are all here for each other. I’m here for you, even if we barely know each other. Drop me an email through the site, and I’ll be happy to chat or buy you a coffee or water, or whatever you want to drink. Don’t feel you’re alone.

To paraphrase the Old 97s...I’ve been doing this longer than you’ve been alive…which is mostly true, but I still thank God for music and what it means to me. See you in 2020.


(Photo by Chris Davis)

I had the pleasure of seeing the Flatlanders (Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock) on my birthday earlier this month. They are a real delight to see in person and have such a songwriting and musical craft about them that they captivate any stage they are covering.

I’ve seen Joe Ely several times, and he is always the essence of cool. One of my favorite Joe Ely stories is when he did a guitar pull with Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, and Ray Wylie Hubbard that I attended. Joe told the story of when he and Lu were on a tour back in the 80s that was sponsored by Jim Beam and what a tour it must’ve been.

This past January, my wife and I had the chance to see the Flatlanders together on the Outlaw Country Cruise, and they regulated during all of their concerts. They brought their solo songs, their group songs, and tackled deep catalog like no other group out there.

The show at the Tower Theater in Oklahoma City was no different. An acoustic affair that resembled a guitar pull with the three sitting on stools and having only a guitarist accompany them, the feeling was very intimate. It was a smaller crowd than it should’ve been (c’mon folks, get out and support live music while we still have it!), but everyone there was feeling the vibe.

The two biggest highlights for me were “Borderless Love” and “Dallas.” The former continues to be timely as we as a country continue to try to decide if we have any morality at all when it comes to how we treat people trying to come here for a better life. The refrain of “There’s no need for a wall” still resonates with me today.

The group traded stories about Townes Van Zandt and some of the experiences and dreams they’ve all had about him. This part of the show reminded those in attendance that we were witnessing historical figures that had connections to the roots of the very music that we all love and appreciate.

If you get a chance to go see the Flatlanders, do it. You’ll feel better and hear some great music. The same applies for Joe, Jimmie Dale, or Butch solo, as well.


(photo by Chris Davis)

The last few months have been pretty tough for me. I’ve gone through some personal setbacks and things that I didn’t imagine I would face, including the loss of a 19-year old dog. I know that might not seem like much to some folks, but my dogs are a part of our family, so we still grieve for sweet Emmylou. The other challenges haven’t been as bad as they could’ve been and certainly aren’t as hard as what some folks are facing, but nevertheless, it’s been a challenge to stay positive.

Which brings me to one Buddy Guy. We finally got to see him a few weeks ago in Norman, OK, and it was everything I thought it would be. I’ve been waiting around to see the next time he would be in town, as I fear I don’t have too many more chances. The last few times, I’ve had gigs or been busy otherwise and not been able to attend.

There’s something about the blues that speaks down deep in your soul. It makes you feel good, even though you’re feeling bad at the time. That’s exactly what happened to me the night I got to see Buddy Guy. While there’s some music forms that have been gentrified, and I suppose some of that has happened to the blues, we are blessed to still have a maestro among us in Buddy Guy.

Mr. Guy hit the stage promptly at 8 o’clock PM and at 83 years of age, he rocked it for the next 90 minutes. He moved better than I do, not that I’ve got moves like Jagger, but he kept going and playing. His first song was the title of this blog, “Damn right, I’ve got the blues,” and he made me and the rest of the crowd smile and feel good just by his playing and his attitude. Again, that’s what the blues do to you…they make you forget your troubles, even though they’re all about trouble.

The set kept on going and kept on rocking. Buddy played forwards, behind his back, and played with the guitar sitting on top of a speaker. He came out in the crowd and played at the back of the auditorium and danced with the crowd. He showed what being a true showman is all about.

In between songs, Buddy spoke about Muddy Waters and B.B. King and how they all helped him make it from the farm he grew up on in Louisiana. He shared how he never knew what running water was until he turned 17. He denied the title when he asked the crowed to name, “Who is the best guitarist of all time?” (He said hands down it was B.B.). Note: I got to see Mr. King play once, and while it was at the end of his career, I do believe that Buddy is right. But, all in all, the King of the Blues held court, and we were all willing subjects.

He kept playing, and I kept on smiling, dancing, and just plain feeling great. For that amount of time, I forgot all my troubles, and the music helped transform me to another place and another state of mind. If Buddy Guy comes to your town, get a ticket and go see him. You’ll feel better and be glad you did. So, you ask me if I’ve got the blues? I’ll tell you, “Damn right, I’ve got the blues!”

(Photo by Chris Davis)

On June 11, we had the pleasure of watching a premiere of Martin Scorsese’s “Rolling Thunder Revue: a Bob Dylan Story” at the Circle Cinema in Tulsa. (More about Tulsa in a blog soon. Some great things are going on there, and it/they keep drawing me to this city. The Bob Dylan Center is coming soon with all of Bob’s papers and archives being housed close to the Woody Guthrie Center.)

This was a great evening of great music and entertaining while catching some unseen footage of this rollicking good time that Maestro Dylan put on back in 1975.

The film is a uber entertaining, and I found my self laughing throughout. The newer interviews, especially with Bob, are fascinating and hilarious at the same time. I don’t want to spoil some of it, but it’s even funnier when you realize that some of the film is a hoax. Dylan sums it up early on when he says, “Everyone is wearing a mask.” And, really it’s true. We all wear masks and let people see whichever version we want them to see. At different times in our lives, we wear different masks. We’ve all put on a “brave” face or acted happy when we were dying inside. We’ve all had times where our poker face didn’t last five seconds.

The live concert footage is compelling and there are some great renditions of Desire-era Dylan tunes. His visit to Jack Kerouac’s (shout out Ti Jean) grave in Lowell, Massachusetts with poet Allen Ginsberg is three rivers of poetic charisma intersecting. Also, the “Night of Hurricane” and his visit to meet the falsely-incarcerated boxer Rubin Carter reminds one that artists have been speaking out for as long as there have been artists.

Another poignant scene was footage from the previous film “Renaldo and Clara” featuring Dylan and Joan Baez. They talk about love, and when Bob says Joan got married on him to someone else, she replies that she “thought she was marrying the right person” to which Dylan quickly corrects this mistake by advising that you have to love with the heart and not the head. While there’s some of the typical acerbic Dylan in that, it really hit home with me. How many times does love defy logic? Almost on a daily basis. You can see it everywhere. I know I have seen and felt it in my own life when I thought I was unlovable and know the times that I still am hard to be around and deal with, I’ve still been enveloped with the love that helps me endure another day thanks to my wife. But, I’ve also been carried through by the love of friends and acquaintances that gave me a smile or the gift of time or friendship.

Making the premiere even more fun was the attendance of Larry “Ratso” Sloman, who chronicled the original Rolling Thunder Revue for Rolling Stone and wrote a seminal book on the topic. This was the first chance I’ve had to visit with Ratso, although I’ve felt that I’ve known him for years through the writing of Kinky Friedman and am looking forward to seeing both he and Kinky again in January.

The movie is on Netflix, so check it out. It’s well worth your time and gives some great glimpses into that era.

johnhiatt_brady(photo: Chris Davis)

Just got back last night from a whirlwind trip to Tulsa to see the great John Hiatt at the Brady Theater. What a great evening and great show! I’ve seen a ton of shows at this venue from Mr. Dylan to Joan Baez to Bon Iver and Ray LaMontagne. It’s got great acoustics.

Unfortunately, it was a very small crowd to see such a great songwriter and interpreter of the muse. However, John Hiatt hit all the notes and played a great set featuring songs from every era of his career including some new ones. I’ve always wanted to catch him live, but never have had the chance until last night.

The usual suspects: “Drive South”, “Tennessee Plates”, “Have a Little Faith in Me”, and “Memphis in the Meantime” were all highlights of the set. But, other more poignant and funny songs including, “Perfectly Good Guitar” and “Crossing Muddy Waters” balanced everything out. New song “I’m in Asheville” was particularly a highly for me, as anytime a master craftsman is working on their art in front of you, it makes you sit up and take notice.

I throw this around a lot, but if you’ve never heard of John Hiatt or haven’t seen him live, do yourself a favor, run don’t walk and get into his music. These times are tough right now. Plenty of political and social upheaval. We need music and art now more than ever. Immerse yourself in it and let it heal your soul.

I hope everyone had a great April. Mine was chock full of work and prep of new music, which is a great thing. It’s also a tedious thing. I’m anxious to get some new songs out for everyone to take a listen to, but I also went back to the drawing board on a few. It will get here shortly, but in the meantime, there has been some great tunes released recently.

Jeff Tweedy, whose show in OKC I wrote about last month, has the follow-up volume of his latest work entitled “Warmer.” It’s exclusively available at dBpm records and is a killer follow-up. I highly recommend anything by Mr. Tweedy, but this is grittier and even more to the core than “Warm” was last year. I’ve been a fan since Uncle Tupelo, but the music keeps pushing the boundaries and keeps having a charge to it that is irrepressible.

I had the chance to catch one show this month and that was the Brothers Osborne at Jones Assembly in OKC, thanks to my good friend Dave O. Their show was high energy and had some great musicianship. I went to the show not knowing a whole lot about that band but walked away impressed with them. One of the standout moments to me was the cover of the Steve Earle classic “Copperhead Road.” That’s not an easy song to cover and make sound like your own, but they did it. I’d recommend checking out their catalog and seeing them some time live in the future. I recently read that the Brothers were added to dates with Chris Stapleton and Willie Nelson, so I know they are doing something right.

I’m looking forward to a couple of private gigs in May and refining some tunes along the way. Hoping by this Fall to hit the road for a little more extended touring than I have been able to do in the past and hope to see some friends out there on the road.

Take care and peace.


(photo: Chris Davis)

It’s always good to see Jeff Tweedy in concert. March 1st in Oklahoma City was no different. A great newer use/repurposed venue in the Auditorium (formerly Douglass High School) was the site of the show.

Just Jeff and his guitar made it an intimate evening and a good time. He was feeling good and sounded great, as well. Opening with one of my favorites, “Via Chicago,” it was a lively 90 minute tour through the Wilco catalog, along with some songs off his latest solo record “Warm” and even a couple of songs from the Uncle Tupelo years.

Highlights of the show included “Jesus, Etc.” (Mr. & Mrs. Davis’s favorite), “Misunderstood,” “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” “California Stars” (from the Billy Bragg/Wilco collaboration of Woody Guthrie lyrics), the aforementioned “Via Chicago,” “Impossible Germany,” and “Acuff-Rose” (an Uncle Tupelo diamond in the rough).

There was great banter with the crowd, which you don’t get a ton of at a Wilco show, and this kept things light. The crowd seemed to hang on every song, and it made for an overall good time. Opening act Buck Meek was an interesting choice for the tour, but Tweedy is well known for introducing up and coming stylists to his crowd (a Wilco show in Kansas City was the first time I saw Andrew Bird).

But, the overall feeling I took from the night was that the music of my young adulthood is still standing the test of time. Tweedy is fast becoming an elder statesman of the alt-country genre and the role fits him well. He, of course, has the history and the experience that this is a no-brainer.

But, like most things for me, it always goes back to the songs. Wilco and Son Volt, the off-shoots of the Uncle Tupelo breakup were both seminal bands for me during my college years. I still remember buying “AM” and “Trace” at the old Target on Penn & Memorial when I visited my brother who was studying at the University of Central Oklahoma. I thought it was the big-time because it was. Being able to find music like this when I came from small town Oklahoma. This was pre-Internet and way pre-Amazon or iTunes days. Back when you bought the whole album and listened to every track.

Jeff Tweedy’s songs have been there for me for a long time, and they’re still there. When I hear “Name me a song that everybody knows, and I’ll bet you it belongs to Acuff-Rose” or “Tall buildings shake, voices escape, by singing sad, sad songs,” I am always taken back. Back to times, places, people, and experiences.

I still need those songs to help me get through the day to day of life. Thanks, Mr. Tweedy.

toddsnidertowertheater(photo by Chris Davis)

“A smokin’, long black cadillac, the engine windin’ down…”

Todd Snider, cosmic Americana cowboy played the Tower Theater last Saturday night, and I had the pleasure of attending. The few times I’ve gotten to see Todd, I always walk away feeling better and happier about the world. He is the true embodiment of the modern folk troubadour. His style is part of the East Nashville sound that has given us so many other great performers today. 

“He’d park it up on the sidewalk, like he owned the whole damn town…”

Starting off with some new songs, he spoke of his latest record and how he recorded it at Johnny Cash’s old studio because he had a dream where Johnny Cash kept pointing the way. He and his other band Hard Working Americans went out to the studio to spend the night, and that’s when he got the “inspiration” to make the record there. I’m anxiously awaiting this album, as Todd’s the giant of a songwriter where every song makes a difference.

“I’d hear him talkin’ to some chick through a thick ghost of smoke…”

The rest of the show was pure Todd Snider…lots of stories and jokes and fun. And, the fun is always the songs. “D.B. Cooper,” “Alright Guy,” “Too Late to Learn,” the list goes on and of course, my personal favorite (hence the subliminal lyric insertions), “Play a Train Song.” You can feel the truth in Todd’s songs. They pass the test of great songwriting in that they make you feel glad to be alive while at the same time they make you reflect on the harsh realities of this world.

“Through a thicker haze of Southern Comfort and coke…”

Go see Todd if you have a chance. Buy his latest records and some of his older ones, too. I almost wore out my copy of “Live: The Storyteller.” It’ll make you feel better and reflect on the value of this life, or as Todd says, “at least be a distraction from our impending doom.”

“Play a train song, play a train song.”

Todd Snider’s Cash Cabin Sessions Vol. 3 will be released on March 15, 2019.


I recently had the chance to finally see Margo Price in concert. We caught two shows and a live interview on the Outlaw Country Cruise. I’ve been listening to her music and watching her from afar for the last few years, but let me tell you, she’s the real deal. Singer, check. Songwriter, check. Bandleader, check. Boss, check.

Margo commands the stage with her songs and style. She reminds me of some of the greats in country music such as Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and even Patsy Cline. She is clearly having fun, but she’s also clearly in charge. Her songs are catchy, funny, original, but also address some of the things she’s seen in the business.

It’s no secret anymore the challenges that women face in the music. The stories are hard to bear of what they often have to put up with, and Margo’s not afraid to share the truth, three chords or not. These challenges are important to address across society and business, as a whole, but the country music world has seen it’s unique share of challenges.

I love many of the older country tv shows. From the Wilburn Brothers to Porter Wagoner to Ernest Tubb, they all have entertained me through the years. However, the moniker “girl singer” was often added to phenomenal talents that happened to be female. Margo Price is part of the generation that is exploding this mold. She’s a businessperson and a great artist and writer, a real force to be reckoned with through the years to come.

If you get a chance to go see her, please don’t take your time like I did. My wife and I had a chance to meet her, also, and she is a phenomenally nice and generous person. The kind of person you want to pull for to have even more success. I’ll be watching, as I know bigger and bigger things are going to come from her.

(photo by Chris Davis)MargoPriceOutlawCruise