Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Great American Road Trip: Oklahoma music

Oklahoma is a western, southern, southwestern, midwest state that’s been home to a range of musical giants. Woody Guthrie comes first to mind -- if you are asking yourself who that is, think This Land Is Your Land, Pastures of Plenty, or even a recent commercial about kids going back to school. Award winning country star Reba McEntire is from Oklahoma too, as is top songwriter and singer Vince Gill. All of them have music well worth your listening as the Great American Road Trip winds through Oklahoma.

So does Jack Guthrie. He was Woody’s cousin. His style tended more toward mainstream country and western swing than did the folk music and political broadsides of his well known relative. He wrote a quintessential song about Oklahoma, Oklahoma Hills.

Jimmy LaFave is an Oklahoma native too. He has a voice that speaks of the hills and prairies of his native state, and the wide open skies and rough places too. He’s a fine songwriter, as well, and brings his story telling abilities to bear both in the material he writes and in the songs he chooses to cover. A good place to hear him tell stories of the restless soul of the heartland in his album Cimarron Manifesto, which makes a fine soundtrack for travel through the Sooner state. Update: JimmyLaFave has passed on -- his music lives, though.

you may also wish to see
Music Road: Terri Hendrix
Music Road: reflections with Adrienne Young
Music Road: Road Trip Music: Arkansas and Missouri
check out our songwriter CD recommendations

This is part of The Great American Road Trip, in which I originally partnered up with A Traveler’s Library to add musical ideas to the book and film suggestions for journeys through the regions of the United States which you’d find there. The Library is closed now, but I think you will still find the journeys through music interesting.
For more about the road trip (and a look at some great road songs) see Great American Road Trip: Music begins

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Woody Guthrie! I used to sing This Land Is Your Land to my babies.

10:13 AM  

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