Three volumes in and A Blackwatch Christmasyet again nabs a spot on the nice list, showcasing a smattering of Oklahoma artists with charming new holiday standards. This year shakes up the status quo with two themed halves — serving up dusty, countrified Christmas ditties on the Holly-Tonk side and soulful hip-hop carols with Jingle Beats, both with joyful returns.
It has been a relatively rocky road for Weatherford alt-country outfit Green Corn Revival, which has seen its share of highs (acting as backing band for rockabilly icon Wanda Jackson) and lows before an (amicable) split in the road led half of the original lineup to forming Honeylark.
Oklahoma is quickly becoming the indie Christmas music capital of the world, it seems, with yearly compilation albums featuring everyone from Stardeath and White Dwarfs to Graham Colton. So it makes sense that Colourmusic — freak-poppers hailing from Stillwater — would craft a full album of original, offbeat holiday tunes themselves.
The Oklahoma City metro has a thriving garage rock scene. With seasoned acts like Broncho and Copperheads carrying the modern-day torch, the way has been paved for a flock of gritty, young, guitar-centric acts. But nascent Norman trio Poolboy has a knack for riotous hooks that few of its contemporaries can boast.
Eileen Jewell 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7 The Blue Door 2805 N. McKinley bluedoorokc.com 524-0738 $15 advance, $20 door
Idaho singer/songwriter Eilen Jewell has quite a bit in common with the songstress of a very similar name. They both hail from less populated regions; both blend rock, pop, folk and country; and both made a go at busking to support themselves early in their careers.
Jewell hasn’t written a hit as big as Jewel’s “Who Will Save Your Soul,” but at least music has never driven her to living in a van.
“It was a low-risk way of experimenting with a life as a musician,” she said. “I made enough money to scrape by on.”
She made the transition to full-time performer using the basic lessons she learned playing curbside for change and spare dollar bills.
“It’s where I realized that playing songs can really put a smile on someone’s face,” Jewell said. “It helped me learn how to play in front of people. I had never really done that before. It was easing into performance and figuring out if this was something I really wanted to do.”
It took a little hopping around to find the proper place to foster a career, however; she began experimenting with music during college in Santa Fe, N.M., then moved to Los Angeles to perform on Venice Beach once she opted for a guitar instead of an office job. Eventually, she found her way to Boston, where she assembled both a following and her first recordings.
“It was my identity in Boston.
People didn’t know me as any other person,” Jewell said. “I like that anonymity, and a certain amount of that is required to be creative.”
There, she also found her sound, or lack thereof. The endlessly genrebending songwriter began indulging in every whim: Americana, honky-tonk, rockabilly, blues and more.
“It’s kind of like vintage rock ’n’ roll, cowgirl noir,” she said. “I don’t get hung up sticking to one particular genre. I just follow my gut, and luckily, my band can keep up. I tend to write to test them and keep them on their game.”
In the past five or so years, she’s released four studio albums, including summer’s “Queen of the Minor Key.”
This newest record sees her doing even more toying and tinkering, not only with genres, but recording her first two instrumentals, bringing along a guest singer and injecting a little whimsy and humor into songs that had previously sounded a little more sorrowful. Even the disc’s title is a self-deprecating jab, plus a look at her coming legacy.
“An old friend on a co-bill introduced me that way. I tend to write a lot in the minor key, and at first, it almost felt like an insult, but sometimes the best way to deal is to run with it,” Jewell said. “Rather than shy away, I decided to make it my thing, to own it.”