As we come to the end of the fourth season of Red Brick Nights it is apparent that this was a not just a good, but a great idea. The success of the monthly summer music concerts has shown that the region is not only ready, but anxious to have cool things happening in our town. Wherever you go around the state, mentioning that you are from Guthrie evokes, “I love that town!” “ I love to go there!” “I would love to live there!” “I loved GOTR there!” “I love to go to Bluegrass!” “I love your Christmas celebration!” “I love the 89er parade!”… on and on. Guthrie is recognized as one of the hippest places in the state, and people want to find reasons to be here. RBN gives them the excuse that they are looking for. Of course, there are loads of other events and happenings to attract folks, but this “regularly scheduled” monthly event gives people time to plan (I have heard that some are compelled to do this) and anticipate coming to town.
From the devising of the concept of block parties by Prairie Gothic to the implementation of recurrent concerts with a formulaic program, the music is the thing, and is a perfect complement to Guthrie’s aesthetic. Kudos to the folks that birthed the idea and big props to all of the folks who have refined and nurtured it into the epic coolness that RBN has become. It is truly a community event and we should be proud as a community for the success. There are way too many individuals involved to begin naming names, but some of the key sponsors have been; John Vance Motors, Jameson Realty Group, Guthrie Tourism, North Church, Eskridge Motors, Long Hair Repair, and F&M Bank.
Initially, the upcoming block parties were made conspicuous through the dissemination of beautifully unique flyers and posters that were created by Prairie Gothic (Shirley Clifford) – each one a work of art in itself. Red Brick Nights has found its identity in the marketing world through the incredible concepts set forth by Shawn Hancock of Hancock Family Art in Guthrie. Looking at the iconic image he has created to represent the concerts you can almost name the curious cartoon characters peeking out from all the corners and windows, drinking and lounging, and boogieing to the beats being laid down. This talented graphic designer has put his mark on Guthrie since being drawn here with his family by Guthrie’s creative charm years ago, creating the look for events, nonprofits, and businesses with his insightful and quirky sensibility. His style is both nostalgic and contemporary simultaneously. A difficult thing to achieve effectively, but absolutely perfect to represent RBN’s vibe.
The 2019 Red Brick Nights season will be finishing up with an eclectic mix of talented musicians, many of whom have ties to Guthrie. Leading off will be Guthrie resident Jeff Mathews then the group Moonlight Ford, featuring Guthrie High School graduate Mike Ragland on drums, will take the stage. Finally, Carter Sampson will bring the finale of the 4th season to a close with an irresistible performance.
Jeff Mathews is a “newcomer” to Guthrie, having only been here 15 years, but he calls Guthrie “Home” and boy are we glad that he does (that’s a townie joke, folks)! Jeff decided to focus on his solo career almost a year ago after being in the music business for many years, by starting Jeff Mathews Music. Mathews told us, “I consider myself a singer/songwriter and musician… I love telling stories with my songs and would love to be considered as a musical storyteller. I’m super excited to be performing in front of my own home town!” His passion for music and performing is evident when you have the privilege of experiencing him. He is keeping busy building his career, booking concerts, and making plans to record a solo debut LP in 2020. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Moonlight Ford has been performing in the Metro area since 2010 when husband and wife duo, Allen and Jessica Ford hooked up with consummate bassist, Jim Heggen and drummer extraordinaire, Mike Ragland. Heggen and Ragland, having been in the music industry for some time, brought a depth of experience to the raw talent of the Fords. What was created was pure joyful magic! They played their new jazz/swing sound regularly in venues around OKC for six years before taking a hiatus of a few years. Now they are back with a more contemporary sound and enough new music for a couple of albums. The prolific songwriting has provided perfect vehicles to carry Jessica’s earthy powerhouse vocals to the moon and back! Allen and Jim flawlessly support the musical journey with their stunning instrumental skillsets. For drummer Mike Ragland it is coming home. Having spent much of his youth in Guthrie after being born in New Orleans, he graduated from GHS and is a product of that special magic that is Guthrie - combined with a touch of Louisiana Creole sass. Don’t hesitate to catch up with him and welcome him back – I don’t think he has ever met a stranger. As one of their first larger gigs since reuniting, the group is anticipating Red Brick Nights being the kick off to a new season in their musical development. They are hoping to fill their calendar for the next year with amazing engagements. If you want to book them contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or check them out on FB or www.moonlightford.com.
Carter Sampson is Oklahoma born and bred and proud of it! What a force of Oklahoma nature she is! The self-titled Queen of Oklahoma has a voice that possesses that delicate balance of sweetness and world-wise knowing that so many singers seek. It can be tempting to just enjoy the unique sound but pay attention to the words. Her lyric sensibility is on par with some of the best poet-lyricists of the past 10 years. Sampson has released several albums since beginning her musical journey at 15, her latest being “Lucky”. As she tours nationally and internationally she carries with her the message of what an epic womb of musical creativity Oklahoma is, and her skills definitely back up her boast. If Carter is an indication of the quality of talent found in this state, then we should be expecting a surge of growth in our burgeoning musical ranks from artists clamoring to be a part of OK awesomeness!
Not only does she have an ever developing performance career, but she is the founder and director of The Oklahoma City Rock and Roll Camp For Girls, a volunteer run nonprofit organization that focuses on empowering girls through music education. Giving as much as she gets, or more, she has inspired and mentored hundreds of young women who find that their dreams are just as attainable as anyone else’s. Find out more about Carter and her music at www.cartersampson.net.
Whatever else you do next weekend, don’t miss supporting this gift to the community. Show your appreciation, and thank anyone you see helping out. #GuthrieArts #GuthrieCoolness #TheMusicNeverDies