Classic reggae for the big kickoff sponsored by McNellie’s Group.
They brought reggae to the masses with Bob Marley, and they’re still going strong with a message of peace and social justice. A highlight of the Guthrie Green opening weekend activities, The Wailers are one of the last, great authentic reggae institutions. In the post-Marley period, the band’s anchor is Aston “Family Man” Barrett, Marley’s most trusted lieutenant, who played on countless classic reggae hits throughout the seventies. The authenticity he brings to The Wailers’ sound is indisputable. Yet today’s line-up combines old school know-how with lead vocals from Koolant, one of Jamaica’s most exciting new singers whose material is inspired by reggae’s golden era. This mix of the old and the new has kept the band on top, playing the best festivals and touring the globe regularly. Tulsa Roots Music is proud to kick off eight fabulous weeks of Sunday Concerts with this classic band.
Latin rock. La Semana Day.
This award-winning, Austin-based, Latin rock band blends flamenco, rock, Latin, blues, and world music into what Rolling Stone has described as “eruptions of technique and taste that conjure images of Eddie Van Halen fronting early Santana, with an assist from the Gipsy Kings. Movie directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino have enlisted the group to contribute music to many films, including Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Sin City, and Kill Bill Vol. II among them. The band’s sultry sound has earned them spots on festivals such as Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, they’ve collaborated with the likes of Willie Nelson, and they continue to win over audiences with their searing live shows.
The band’s members hail from the all over the world—Brazil, France, Canada, the U.S.—and the rock music they create, a rich and complex musical tapestry that reflects their international upbringing, draws on influences from around the globe. Three are the children of missionary parents, who spent their young lives traveling the globe. By happenstance they came together in Rio de Janeiro in 2009 to make music, soon relocating to Austin to record their debut EP, The Bright Lights, which spawned a Top-50 hit with “Providence” and earned them a devoted following and Top-10 placement in six categories at the Austin Chronicle’s 2011 Music Awards, and they’ve been turning heads ever since. We are happy to welcome one of rock’s most exciting emerging bands.
Brazil meets the American South. Philbrook Musuem of Art Day.
This Brazilian/American collective plays a 21st century mashup inspired by Brazilian maracatu drumming, New Orleans second line rhythms, funk, swamp rock and country blues. A regular at both American and Brazilian festivals, Nation Beat are rhythm gatherers, harvesting the fruit of 500 years of cultural crossbreeding, which is why the sounds of Northeast Brazil and the American South blend together so seamlessly. The focus is on complete unity of sound and style, grounded in the musicians’ own history and years of collaboration.
Tulsa’s own percussive worldbeat outfit. Philbrook Museum of Art Day.
Tex-Mex & zydeco.
The band came to life a few years back when keyboardist Dave Barclay brought a button accordion to a blues jam. Fusing zydeco, New Mexican rancheras and outlaw country with the improvisation of jazz and swing, Felix y Gatos is made up of some of the best session musicians from the New Mexico blues and jazz scenes.
Groove-oriented jam Americana. Booksmart Tulsa Day.
The five souls in this Colorado acoustic quintet all share vocals and write songs. Banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass, fiddle, washboard, djembe, musical saw, stompbox and even footsteps on plywood make for a groove-oriented Americana that contains elements of gypsy, rock, Celtic, alt-country and folk. Some call it “progressive edge,” still others “jam band” music. We just call it good old American music played by great young musicians.
Witty honky tonk & alt-country. Booksmart Tulsa Day.
If country music has an Elvis Costello, it’s Robbie Fulks, who marries Ivy League cleverness to an appreciation of hillbilly music that actual hillbillies could only envy.—Entertainment Weekly
One of the great unsung honky-tonk singers of his generation, Chicago based alt-country rocker and brilliant flat picker Robbie Fulks, whom Rolling Stone describes as the “wiseass bastard son of Roger Miller,” teams up with the lovely versatile vocals of O’Connor, who has recorded and performed with Andrew Bird, Neko Case, The New Pornagraphers, and many more.
Tulsa’s own progressive indie acoustic outfit.
photo by Jennifer Esperanza
The greatest Cajun band on the planet. Tulsa Global Alliance Day.
Over the past three decades BeauSoleil has made 30 albums, won Grammys and evolved into the most esteemed Cajun group on the planet. Fiddler-vocalist Michael Doucet is well known for his mission to keep the unique southern Louisiana culture and music from extinction, but that hasn’t stopped his band from innovating and spicing its Cajun gumbo with elements of zydeco, New Orleans jazz, Tex-Mex, country and blues. Formed in 1975, BeauSoleil literally means “good sun,” a reference to a fertile region in Nova Scotia where the band’s 17th-century, French-speaking ancestors lived prior to their migration to Louisiana, where they became “Cajuns.”
One of Los Angeles’ biggest club draws, Three Bad Jacks’ hard hitting hybrid of soul, rock and rockabilly is most often described as psychobilly. Anchored by a throbbing gutbucket bottom end and topped off with bandleader Elvis Suissa’s passionate vocals and sizzling guitar, the trio delivers high-impact, soul-deep, thoroughly original, uncut rock & roll that belies a mastery of the underground American big beat heritage. Three Bad Jacks’ original mix of the sensitive and savage, and its ability to navigate a broad musical spectrum, has earned it a spot on tours with the likes of Joe Strummer, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dwight Yoakam, and Social Distortion. The band’s latest disc, Pictures & Memories From Home, was mixed by Dave Schiffman (Nine Inch Nails, System of a Down), mastered by Howie Weinberg (Clash, Iggy, Ramones) and features key contributions from Rami Jaffe (Wallflowers, Foo Fighters).
Smart saints-&-sinners roots music. Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma Day.
Muscular, joyous roots music that is bluesy, rocking and thoroughly Southern. The Tupelo, Mississippi native worked in a furniture factory, jumped out of airplanes, and was a boxer before embracing music full time, topping the Americana charts and breaking the Billboard Top 100. Thorn’s father is a Church of God Pentecostal Minister and his uncle was a pimp. Thorn was influenced by both men, and his music is rife with vigorous, witty “saint & sinner” scenarios, mining the juxtapositions that exist in us all.
Body percussion youth choir from Tulsa.
Muscular indie rock.
One of the most promising young bands out of Texas, this Austin-based indie outfit takes rock from its deep roots (think Doors & early Black Crowes), pushes it forward with contemporary sounds and elements of R&B and blues, and finds its deepest expression in highly energetic live shows. For the past three years, the band has crisscrossed the continent bringing rock and roll back to its heyday sound. The band’s brand-new disc, And You Are Me, has just been released.
Straight up Chicago blues by one of the great contempory singers & her top-notch band. Welcome University of Tulsa alumni!
When an 18-year-old Shemekia Copeland first appeared on the scene in 1997, everyone agreed that an unstoppable new talent had arrived. In the short period of time that followed, she amassed Blues Music Awards, Grammy nominations, Living Blues and DownBeat Critics’ Poll Awards, and invitations to tour with legends such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Dr. John. Born and raised in the tough, urban streets of Harlem, Shemekia was always encouraged to sing by her father, the late Texas blues guitarist Johnny Clyde Copeland, who brought her onstage to sing at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club when she was just eight. A decade later, her huge, blast-furnace voice was being compared Etta James, Koko Taylor, and Aretha Franklin. Copeland’s music reflects the streets she grew up on, where a daily dose of city sounds from street performers to gospel singers to blasting radios surrounded her. Her many records and famously energetic live shows showcase far-reaching material treading the ground where blues and soul meet rock and roll.
Where country & soul meet.
She has the voice: bruised, smoky and ornery, right at home where country and soul meet.. She has the melodies and the timing.. she’s irresistible.—New York Times
This singer-rocker-songwriter has toured with Stevie Nicks, Ryan Adams, John Mellencamp & Sun Volt. Admired by blues musicians, adored by the Americana crowd and increasingly appreciated by rockers, McNally’s gift for writing great songs is outdone only by her killer live shows.
A promising young storyteller with fealty to ragged, country-driven indie-pop and an alluring dark streak.—New York Times
With a blow-your-hair-back vocal presence that occasionally yields to whisper-soft vulnerability, Crain’s folksy arrangements, both gorgeous and eerie, coexist with a knack for narrative storytelling and lyrics that are as likely to detail disaster and despair as they are community and reconciliation. A Choctaw from Oklahoma, Crain’s sound manages to simultaneously evoke the deeply rural and southern, but also the itinerant and urban. Crain’s latest disc, You (Understand), features a heavier emphasis on electric guitars and drums.
Sponsored by Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa.
Like so many French kids raised in rural Louisiana, accordionist, singer and songwriter Mary Roszela Bellard “Rosie” Ledet (pronounced led-dett), paid no particular attention to the zydeco music that was all around her. But, at age 16, she heard Boozoo Chavis at a zydeco dance, and her fate was sealed. Ledet, who is now widely considered the reigning queen of zydeco, provides a unique female presence in the male-dominated zydeco world. Her self-penned tunes, sung beautifully in Creole French and in English, are often often sly and lusty, and she fronts one of Louisiana’s most smokin’ bands. Bring your dancing shoes.
photo by Jennifer Esperanza
Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa Day.
Embracing the one-chord, deep-trance blues of the Mississippi Hill Country, Richard Johnston appeared as a street musician on the Memphis blues scene in 1997, and three years later recorded his rollicking self-produced debut, Foot Hill Stomp. Featuring guest appearances by Jessie Mae Hemphill and Cedric Burnside, it was nominated for a Handy Award, and the CD release party on Beale Street was broadcast to 20 million radio listeners. Armed with one-of-a-kind instruments (home-made cigar box guitars, among them) and a boot full of Southern grooves, Johnston is, hands down, one of our all-time favorite bluesmen.