Memorial concerts planned for red dirt rocker Chad Sullins and more Oklahoma music news



Memorial concerts planned for Oklahoma red dirt rocker Chad Sullins

At least two memorial concerts are in the works to honor Oklahoma singer-songwriter and red cirt rocker Chad Sullins, who died June 27 in Altus. He was 43. 

Sullins, who had a history of heart problems, died of a torn aortic valve, according to a message posted on his official Facebook page. 

“Sullins was a poet in the mold of Woody Guthrie and Bob Childers. He was the essence of what red dirt means to its artists and its fans until his last breath,” said Josh Crutchmer, author of the book “Red Dirt: Roots Music Born in Oklahoma, Raised in Texas, at Home Anywhere,” in a statement to The Oklahoman.

“He loved a song and he loved when it found ears. His passing is a tragedy, but he spent his last day singing to his friends at The Farm in Stillwater, then put all he had into his Altus gig, and I know if he could choose his last 24 hours, that’s what he’d have picked. He never really got his due in this mortal world, but nobody who heard him play or chatted him up at an Oklahoma dive bar is ever going to forget him.”

Born in Hobart and raised in the Altus area as well as in Knoxville, Tennessee, Sullins told The Oklahoman in a 2012 interview that he was working a job he hated in the southwestern Oklahoma oil-fields when a pal introduced him to red dirt music, that enigmatic and heady blend of country, rock, folk, blues and Western swing.

While working as a truck driver, he honed his songwriting talents over the long miles. He wrote hundreds of songs and recorded several albums as the frontman of the band Chad Sullins and the Last Call Coalition and as a solo artist. 

“He was a true troubadour. He was reporting back from the frontlines,” said John Cooper of the venerable Oklahoma band the Red Dirt Rangers.

Sullins was preceded in death by his nephew Chance, father Bill, grandmother Martha and grandfather Glenn. He is survived by his mother Marsha, son Corbin, daughters Presley and Madison, brothers Brad and Randy, sister Gena and many other relatives, friends and fans. 

Sullins was a stalwart supporter of the nonprofit Red Dirt Relief Fund, which provides a safety net of critical assistance for Oklahomans in the music business in times of need, even before the organization stepped up to help the singer-songwriter when he experienced health issues in 2014. 

“Chad, was he was one of those guys with a gruff exterior and a complete heart of gold,” said Cooper, who is a founder and board member for the relief fund. 

The Red Dirt Relief Fund has launched a fundraising effort to help Sullins’ family with funeral costs and other expenses and is co-sponsoring the July 31 Chad Sullins Last Call Celebration at Stillwater’s Tumbleweed Dancehall & Concert Venue. 

Another memorial benefit show is planned for July 11 at Grady’s 66 Pub in Yukon. 

For more information, go to

Iconic Oklahoman Wanda Jackson will release her album "Encore," conceptualized with fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Joan Jett and Kenny Laguna, Aug. 20 via Big Machine Records/Blackheart Records.

Iconic Oklahoman Wanda Jackson announces new album ‘Encore’

Iconic Oklahoman Wanda Jackson teams with fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Joan Jett and Kenny Laguna to conceptualize her upcoming album “Encore,” due out Aug. 20 via Big Machine Records/Blackheart Records.

“Encore” is rooted in the belief that the pure rock ‘n’ roll that Jackson pioneered has lived on in Jett’s modern version of agency, independence and audacious self-expression that has been taboo for women in music, according to a news release. 

Iconic Oklahoman Wanda Jackson will release her album "Encore," conceptualized with fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Joan Jett and Kenny Laguna, Aug. 20 via Big Machine Records/Blackheart Records.

The 32nd album from the Rock and Roll, International Gospel and Rockabilly Hall of Famer is a billed as “a final chapter,” amplifying a career that’s ignited others, too, from the Cramps to Amy Winehouse, Adele to Jack White, who produced her 2009 critical favorite “The Party Ain’t Over.”

“Right around the time I retired from performing and what I thought was the end of my career, I found myself back to writing songs with some of the great writers in Nashville,” Jackson said in a statement. “The songs you hear are truly my life story. This is the first time I have ever inserted so much of my personal life into my music. You’ll get a picture of my early life and have a peak into the closeness that my late husband Wendell and I had in our life together. I’m happy to share this with all of you. Your constant love and support has seen me through the ups and downs of my 64-year career. I love you all and God bless you.”

Recorded just before she announced her retirement from touring in 2019 at the age of 81, “Encore” reportedly features Jackson’s familiar growling voice as well as her penchant for rockabilly, country and punk music.

Singing along with the living legend on “Encore” are Pistol Annie Angaleena Presley and Candi Carpenter on the jaunty “Can’t Keep A Good Girl Down,” Jett on the garage grunge come-on “You Drive Me Wild,” as well as the classic ballad closer “That’s What Love Is,” and Jett plus Elle King on a rockabilly number called “Two Shots.”

“Real, authentic rock and roll is something you have to have inside. It can’t be taught, it can’t be faked. Wanda Jackson has it. Joan Jett has it. ‘Encore’ has it. It is rare,” said Laguna in a statement. 

The bodacious vocalist known for “Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad,” “Mean, Mean Man,” “Fujiyama Mama” and “Let’s Have A Party,” Jackson penned half of the eight tracks on “Encore,” with co-writers including triple Grammy Awards winner Lori McKenna, Grammy nominees Will Hoge and Luke Laird, Presley, and bluegrass queen Sonia Leigh. 

The album also includes Jackson’s plaintive cover of Johnny Tillotson’s 1962 R&B smash “It Keeps Right On A Hurtin’,” which is the first song we’re getting to hear from the anticipated new album. 

Known for more than six decades as “The Queen of Rockabilly,” Jackson, a Maud native and longtime Oklahoma City resident, was crowned in 2018 an Oklahoma Cultural Treasure in recognition of her influential seven-decade career as a singer, songwriter, performer, trailblazer and style icon. 

Preorder Jackson’s “Encore” at 

Oklahoma-based Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate has been named one of 31 cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate named state department cultural ambassador 

Oklahoma-based Chickasaw composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate has been named one of 31 cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

Part of the American Music Abroad Program’s 2021-2022 season, Tate’s appointment will take him on a month-long, multi-country virtual tour, where he will engage with international audiences through public concerts, interactive performances with local musicians, lectures and demonstrations, workshops, jam sessions, and media interviews. 

Born in Oklahoma, Tate’s father is a Chickasaw lawyer and tribal judge and was author to the current Chickasaw constitution, and his mother is of Manx descent originally from Nebraska. In addition to being an active leader of American Indian law and politics, Tate’s father is a classically trained pianist and baritone, and his mother was a professional choreographer and dancer, leading to Tate’s immersion into American dance, ballet, musical theater and opera. Like his classical composer role models such as Debussy (France), Bartók (Hungary), and Stravinsky (Russia), Tate strongly identifies with his culture and imbues it into all of his compositions.

Tate’s recent commissions include “Shell Shaker: A Chickasaw Opera” for Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra; “Ghost of the White Deer, Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra” for Dallas Symphony Orchestra; and “Hózhó (Navajo Strong)” and “Ithánali (I Know)” for White Snake Opera Company. He recently hosted San Francisco Symphony’s Currents series and curated a performance by the ETHEL Quartet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

His music has been featured on the HBO series “Westworld,” and last month, Tate released the world-premiere recording of “Lowak Shoppala’ (Fire and Light),” which expresses Chickasaw identity through the medium of modern classical music and theater via eight scenes, on Azica Records. 

American Music Abroad activities focus on younger and underserved audiences in countries where people have few opportunities to meet American performers and experience their music first-hand. Selected acts have traveled to more than 100 countries around the world since 2011.

Greyson Chance

Greyson Chance directs ‘Nobody’ video

Fresh off his hometown headlining gig last weekend at OKC Pridefest, Oklahoma City singer, songwriter and musician Greyson Chance releases today the sexy music video “Nobody,” from his new album “Trophies.” 

The suggestive music video for “Nobody,” an anthemic homage to a toxic relationship, was written, directed and edited by Chance, who also did the styling and lighting design. (Fair warning: There’s some strong language in the song.)

Released as part of his new deal with with Arista Records and Sony Music, “Trophies” is the follow-up to the Edmond native’s well-received 2019 sophomore album, “portraits.” He bought a house in OKC in 2020 and spent much of last year during the COVID-19 pandemic working on his new album. 

“I have, again, Oklahoma to thank for so much, but especially for, I think, getting me back to my roots this past year to write a record that I think is very honest, and very, very authentic,” he told The Oklahoman in a recent interview.  

After launching his new world tour at OKC Pridefest, Chance continues his tour with stops across the country in July and August, a European run in autumn and a pair of Latin American shows in December. 

Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton perform on "The Voice."

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani reportedly apply for Oklahoma marriage license 

For Oklahoma country music superstar Blake Shelton and his pop-icon fiancée Gwen Stefani, it seems that wedding bells could be ringing very soon here in his home state.

People reports that Shelton, 45, and Stefani, 51, applied for a marriage license Tuesday through the Johnston County Court Clerk. In Oklahoma, marriage licenses are valid for up to 10 days after the date of issuance.

The musical power couple, who met on the hit TV singing contest “The Voice,” announced their engagement last October after five years of dating. 

Reba McEntire

Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire to perform on ‘Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular’

Oklahoma country music superstars Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire will perform on NBC’s 45th annual “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular,” which tops off Independence Day with its world-renowned fireworks display and a cracking lineup of musical mega-stars. 

The TV special will broadcast live at 7 p.m. Central Sunday with an hourlong encore presentation at follow.

Tony and Grammy Award winner and star of Peacock’s “Girls5eva” Renée Elise Goldsberry and star of NBC’s “New Amsterdam” Ryan Eggold will host the star-studded event. Lighting up the stage in advance of Macy’s iconic fireworks display will be chart-toppers Black Pumas, Coldplay, Jonas Brothers, Marshmello and OneRepublic, which is fronted by Tulsa native Ryan Tedder.

This year’s Macy’s fireworks show will launch more than 65,000 shells and effects from five barges positioned on the East River centered in midtown. The 25-minute display, scored to patriotic music, will feature dozens of colors and shapes, creating dramatic effects a mile across the river and from 1,000 feet in the air to the water’s edge. 

During the Jonas Brothers’ performance, 350 drones will be included to honor Team USA as they prepare to depart for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Throughout the broadcast, a series of uplifting personal stories called the “American Spirit” puts the spotlight on the everyday heroes who make this country so special. Olympians Allyson Felix, Simone Manuel, Tatyana McFadden and Jessica Long will join the special event to share their stories.

At key moments throughout the night, viewers will have the opportunity to donate to Red Nose Day in support of children and families facing hunger and food insecurity.

Pentatonix drops a new album, "The Lucky Ones," on Friday.

Pentatonix to perform on star-studded PBS special ‘A Capitol Fourth’

Three-time Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum selling vocal group artists Pentatonix, which includes former University of Oklahoma student Kirstin Maldonado, will be among the performers on PBS’ 41st annual star-studded Independence Day special “A Capitol Fourth.”

Hosted by Vanessa Williams, the show has been pre-recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic with a live fireworks presentation, in lieu of the traditional live concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.  

“A Capitol Fourth” will air in Oklahoma at 7 p.m. Sunday on OETA, with an encore presentation at 8:30 p.m. Sunday. 

Among the entertainers performing from Washington, D.C., are “Empress of Soul” and seven-time Grammy Award-winner Gladys Knight; Broadway and television star Christopher Jackson; country music star and Grammy-nominee Mickey Guyton; Tony Award-winning Broadway and television star Ali Stroker; acclaimed multi-platinum country music singer-songwriter Jimmie Allen; Tony Award-nominated Broadway star Laura Osnes; and the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly. 

World-renowned four-time Grammy Award-winning soprano superstar Renée Fleming will open the show with a special performance of the national anthem.  

Other cross-country performances will include multi-platinum selling music legend Jimmy Buffett and Tony, Emmy, and Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo from Southern California; multi-platinum selling country music icon and Grammy winner Alan Jackson from the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville; Grammy Award-winning country star Jennifer Nettles from the famed Town Hall in NYC’s Times Square with the Broadway Inspirational Voices; “Moana” actress and singer Auli’i Cravalho  in Queens, New York, from the Unisphere; diamond-selling and multi-Grammy Award-winning band Train overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. 

The Vandolier will headline the Fourth of July Smoked Out Cookout July 4 at Mercury Lounge in Tulsa.

Vandoliers to headline July 4 Smoked Out Cookout at Mercury Lounge

TULSA — Oklahoma cannabis company Ruby Mae’s is presenting the Fourth of July Smoked Out Cookout Sunday at Tulsa’s Mercury Lounge in Tulsa.

The free all-day event will feature live music from Vandoliers, Red Dirt Rangers, Zac Wilkerson and Chris Blevins. as well as games, food and multiple vendors, including Sasuke Leon, Tessica Ann Jewelry and Josey Records.

The outdoor area will be open to all ages and will have a dunk tank, face painting and other games. 

The vendor event kicks off at noon Sunday, with music starting at 2 p.m. The Mercury Lounge will offer a clear view of the Tulsa Folds of Honor FreedomFest fireworks display over the Arkansas River. 

For more information, go to

Vince Gill examines Country Music Hall of Fame member Roy Acuff’s fiddle. Gill acquired Acuff’s fiddle and donated it to the museum’s permanent collection.

Vince Gill donates Roy Acuff fiddle to Country Music Hall of Fame 

Oklahoma native and Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill has donated country legend Roy Acuff’s cherished fiddle to the permanent collection of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Acuff’s fiddle debuted this week in a spotlight exhibit in the museum’s upper-level galleries.

The fiddle was found and given to Acuff by American soldiers stationed in Germany at the end of World War II, according to a news release. 

The instrument and its story exemplify the popularity of country music — and Acuff in particular — during WWII. Then a major star of the Grand Ole Opry and a best-selling Columbia recording artist, Acuff enjoyed broad appeal in country music at the time, serving as an important bridge from the string-band era to the modern era of star singers backed by bands.

The fiddle was acquired this year by Gill, who became friends with Acuff when Gill began appearing on the Opry in the late 1980s. 

“It felt important to me that the great Roy Acuff’s fiddle join the ranks of other revered instruments in the museum’s permanent collection — including Maybelle Carter’s 1928 Gibson L-5 guitar and Bill Monroe’s 1923 Gibson F-5 mandolin,” said Gill in a statement. “The fiddle was given to Acuff by soldiers during a time of war because of how much he meant to them. He meant a lot to me, too.”

The instrument was built in Germany around 1890 and is a copy of the highly prized violins constructed by Austrian luthier Jacobus Stainer in the 1600s. Discovered in a bombed-out music store in Frankfurt, Germany, by soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 348th Engineer Combat Battalion in the waning days of World War II, the fiddle was sent to Acuff, their favorite country music performer, as a show of appreciation. Liking the tone, Acuff made it his primary fiddle for many years.

Acuff (1903-1992) was a singer, fiddle player, bandleader, songwriter, music executive and Grand Ole Opry favorite. Acuff’s star power among U.S. servicemen and women was proven when he prevailed over pop crooner Frank Sinatra in a popularity contest held on Armed Forces Network’s “Munich Morning Report” near the end of World War II.

Acuff’s remarkable contributions to country music, which included co-founding Nashville’s Acuff-Rose Publications in 1942, led to him becoming the first living member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1962. For more information about the new exhibit, go to



Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.