"The Event" At Cain's Ballroom

"The Event" At Cain's Ballroom

The celebration continues Friday night at the legendary Cain's Ballroom with a Will Rogers Memorial Foundation benefit concert featuring Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings and Oklahoma's own Red Dirt Rangers. A tremendous country and red dirt music line-up, all showcased in one evening.

All proceeds go to benefit the Will Rogers Memorial Foundation and programs supporting the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch and the legacy of Oklahoma's favorite son. "Our goal is to build private support locally, regionally, and nationally to enhance museum programming and provide capital improvements," said Linda Bradshaw, event chairperson.

Jessi Colter

Jessi Colter is one of modern music's singular talents, a singer,
songwriter, and entertainer whose influence continues to echo across musical genres.

An artist talented and versatile enough both to top the pop charts and to be part of the groundbreaking Wanted: The Outlaws album, she is assured a place in the history of both formats. With the release in 2003 of An Outlaw ...A Lady: The Very Best of Jessi Colter--which No Depression called "one of the more important and plain necessary releases of the year"-and the 2006 release of “Out of the Ashes” -her legacy has been showcased again both for those who were part of the magic as it happened and for a new generation.

Jessi Colter was born with the name Mirriam Johnson in Phoenix. (She adopted the stage name Jessi Colter after her great-great-great uncle who was in Jesse James' notorious outlaw gang.) Her mother became Sister Helen, an ordained Pentecostal minister, and Colter became the church pianist at age 11. As a teen, her musical talent impressed rockabilly guitar star Duane Eddy, who produced her 1961 single "Lonesome Road." They married in 1963. He wrote and recorded an instrumental, "Mirriam", while she wrote some of his album tracks, as well as "No Sign of the Living" for Dottie West. In 1967, Eddy and Colter recorded a duet single, "Guitar on My Mind," but divorced the following year. She married Waylon Jennings on Oct. 26, 1969, at her mother's church.

In 1975, Colter notched a sizable country and pop hit with the self-penned "I'm Not Lisa." That was followed a year later by the success of Wanted! The Outlaws, a collaboration with Jennings, Willie Nelson and Tompall Glaser and the first Nashville album to sell a million copies. Her best-known duets with Jennings are "Suspicious Minds" and her soothing composition "Storms Never Last."

Her re-emergence as a recording and concert artist, bodes well for the future of popular music when it can surely use someone of her vision, originality, and accomplishment.

Shooter Jennings

Make no mistake about it, Shooter Jennings has never been one to allow expectations, boundaries, genre or ideals dictate the direction of his art. From the moment he burst onto the scene with his debut album Put The O Back In Country it was clear that he had a style and a vision all his own that would separate him from the leagues of cookie-cutter artists out there. Along with his debut, 2006's Electric Rodeo and 2007's The Wolf brought critical acclaim and continued to elevate Shooter to his own unique place in music and culture.

In 2008, Shooter left Universal South records and formed Black Country Rock, his own brand and label which he would begin releasing under. He then released Waylon Forever, an album that began with Shooter and his father, country music legend Waylon Jennings, having fun in their home studio in 1996, and being completed with Shooter's then backing-band, the .357's, supporting the late singer through a rock and roll romp of epic proportions.

But it wasn't until 2010 that we began to see the real Shooter. Black Ribbons, described by the LA Daily News as "...one wild, paranoid, anti-establishment mash-up of psychedelic theater," was an expansive futuristic concept album featuring the voice of master horror author Stephen King as 'Will O' The Wisp,' a controversial late night radio talk show host who was in his last hour of broadcast. The album paints a grim picture of a government-controlled future stripped of its right to free speech and controlled by fear. Black Ribbons has been praised by many for its increasing relevance in the current state of the world. On the record, Shooter and the .357's masqueraded as fictional band Hierophant, an anti-N.W.O band who Will O' The Wisp chooses to play throughout his final show. Although it flew mostly under the mainstream radar, the album has gained a cult following and often is regarded as Shooter's magnum opus. Shooter even programmed and designed a web-based adventure game which took place within the world he had created with Black Ribbons to coincide with the album and build upon its storyline.

In 2011, Shooter briefly moved to New York City, assembling Brooklyn-based band The Triple Crown and released Family Man, returning to his country songwriter roots and painting a deeply personal picture of his family life. Family Man was released on March 3rd, 2012, and Shooter hit the road touring in support of his latest release.

During the recording sessions for Family Man, as in life, things began to shift and change and The Other Life began to take form. Over the duration of 2012, Shooter and The Triple Crown finished work on The Other Life, and Shooter and long time video-collaborator Blake Judd began planning an expansive film counterpart to the album. Shot across Tennessee, Kentucky, Nevada and California, The Other Life film paints a story of isolation, temptation and rebirth through visual storytelling. As an album, The Other Life sees Shooter using all the colors of the pallets of previous recordings, and bringing them together to make his most diverse and interesting album to date. He enlists the help of friends and icons alike, Austin Texas madman Scott H. Biram shares vocal duties on the Steve Young penned "The White Trash Song," Patty Griffin blesses "Wild and Lonesome" and Black Oak Arkansas' Jim Dandy preaches alongside Shooter in the Black Oak Arkansas lost gem "15 Million Light-Years Away." But it is with the closing "The Gunslinger" that we see a portrait of a man hell bent on making art his way no matter who may try and get in the way.

In 2012, Shooter also began work producing records for other artists. On March 12th, the same day as The Other Life's release, Lexington, KY dirt rock band Fifth on the Floor will release Ashes & Angels, the first of three records Shooter produced the previous year. Jason Boland's Dark and Dirty Mile will follow, as well as a yet-unnamed record with Reno's Hellbound Glory.

In addition to his music, Shooter has been a DJ on SiriusXM's Outlaw Country channel for seven years and counting, his show broadcasting Saturdays at 6pm EST and replaying Sunday and Thursday. Shooter has developed the show as a platform to play many underground roots artists that otherwise see no exposure to the masses. In 2011 he also developed GiveMeMyXXX.com and MoonRunners.com, two resources to expose this type of music using his influence and platforms.

In the long run, in his short time here Shooter has been a very prolific and daring artist. Dangerous in his disregard for rules put upon him by the greedy. Deceptive in his unpredictability. Bound only by the progressive evolution of music and controlled only by will and determination, Shooter Jennings will never be able to placed upon a shelf or chained to a simple concept. But as dreams and nightmares continue to blossom and reality continues to crumble, there is comfort to be taken in the fact that artists like Shooter still care about art and disregard the rigid restrictions put upon it by corporate slave-drivers and the mainstream gatekeepers.

Red Dirt Rangers

Sitting right in the middle of the country, with music from the rest of the USA swirling through it from all sides, Oklahoma has understandably been the source of several influential pop-music movements. Invariably, those styles can be traced not just to a city, but to a specific place within that city – as well as to an act that sums up what it’s all about.

You can begin in the 1920s with the Oklahoma City Blue Devils, who’d become a huge force in the creation of Kansas City jazz, coming out of the downtown OKC area known as Deep Deuce. Not long afterwards, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys popularized the music now known as western swing from the Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa; several decades later that same town’s Leon Russell turned a church into a studio, introducing the Tulsa Sound to the whole doggone rock ‘n’ roll world.

Like the others, Red Dirt music grew up in a specific place in a specific town. The town is Stillwater, home of Oklahoma State University. The place was a two-story, five-bedroom, funky old place called the Farm -- for two decades the epicenter of what would come to be called the Red Dirt scene.

The act that represents Red Dirt? You couldn’t do any better than the Red Dirt Rangers, who’ve been carrying the banner for Red Dirt music since the late 1980s. And years before the band existed, Ben Han, John Cooper, and Brad Piccolo became an integral part of the Farm’s musical brotherhood, trading songs and licks with the likes of Jimmy LaFave, Tom Skinner, and Bob Childers – and, later, with such now white-hot acts as Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland and the Stragglers and Stoney LaRue.

“We would keep on coming in, every weekend, and whoever was playing music at the time, we’d just chime in,” recalls Ranger lead guitarist-vocalist Ben Han, whose journey to the Farm began in far-away Borneo. “Living-room jams became jams for beers, and then it was, `Hey, we’ve got something going on.’ We just proceeded with what we already had, called a couple of friends, and the next thing you know, we’re pickin’ and grinning.”

That casual approach to becoming a band is the very antithesis of the ambition-driven grab for the stars that makes shows like American Idol possible. But the Rangers’ laid-back road-less-traveled style splendidly evokes the musicians who honed their chops in the living room, front porch, garage (aka “The Gypsy Café”) and campfire-dotted acreage of the Farm, where the sheer joy of creating music with friends transcended everything else. As Rangers mandolinist-vocalist John Cooper has noted, “ The Farm was as much an attitude as a physical structure. It allowed a setting where freedom rang and all things were possible. Out of this setting came the music.”

The physical structure burned down in 2003. But the attitude prevails in not only every Red Dirt Rangers show and song, but also in the acclaimed new disc Ranger Motel – produced by Red Dirt godfather Steve Ripley at Tulsa’s legendary Church Studio -- which finds the band consistently conjuring up the spirit of the Farm and Stillwater. Opening and closing with two direct evocations of their old hometown, LaFave’s “Red Dirt Roads” and Piccolo’s longingly wistful “Stillwater,” Ranger Motel is chock-full of connections to those golden days at the Farm, In addition to songs penned by such Red Dirt compadres as Childers, Skinner, Mike McClure, Greg Jacobs and Ranger bassist Don Morris, it includes a spirited remake of “Lavena,” a tune from the band’s very first album, the cassette-only Cimarron Soul (1991).

Along with longtime musical pals Randy Crouch on fiddle and Tulsa Sound legend Jim Karstein on drums, Ranger Motel features appearances by another Tulsa great, harmonica player Jimmy Markham, and Texas-based keyboardist Augie Meyers, whose genre-twisting work with the Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados had a major influence on the Rangers’ music.

Another influence on the disc is far less joyful. In the summer of 2004, the three Rangers all went down in a near-fatal helicopter crash. Guitarist-vocalist Piccolo believes that whole experience helped return them to their Stillwater roots.

“A lot of times, you’re just kind of rambling along, and it takes an epiphany like that, a defining moment, to let you know what your purpose is,” he explains. “Now, I just want to make good music and send a good feeling out there to people.”

That’s exactly what the Red Dirt Rangers do with Ranger Motel, channeling the deep and wondrous vibe of the Farm, and playing it forward to a new generation.

-John Wooley

Adv $20, DoS $22, Door $24


Show :: 8pm (times subject to change) / Oklahoma Joe's BBQ will be serving their full menu until 9:30pm!

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