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.
The Flaming Lips’ longevity has allowed them to cover a lot of sonic terrain over the years. Yet they’ve arguably become more adventurous with age, jeopardizing a good portion of their fan base in favor of fascinatingly bleak experiments in sound, beginning with Embryonic in 2009 and, more recently, The Terror.
Ben Rector with Andrew Belle 7 p.m. Sunday, Sooner Theatre 101 E. Main, Norman soonertheatre.com 321-9600 $10 advance, $13 door
Tulsa native Ben Rector has never shied away from going things alone. From striking off for college at the University of Arkansas or opting for a career as an independent musician, self-reliance has been a virtue and advantage.
“I value the total freedom to do or say whatever you want,” the singer/ songwriter said. “You take the risk and you take the reward if that comes.”
The high-risk/high-reward scenario of releasing an album independently paid off big for Rector with last month’s “Something Like This.” Despite no major financial backing or massive marketing team, the humble, folk-pop auteur stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Lil’ Wayne, Adele and Foster the People on the Top 10 iTunes chart the week of release.
“It was nuts,” he said. “I was pretty sure it wouldn’t chart very high. There were lots of huge records coming out all around that time. I didn’t think I’d be selling anywhere near that volume.”
Rector has got an uncommonly loyal fan base to thank.
“There’s nothing weird or special that I do,” he said. “As close as I can explain it is that I try really hard to put a lot of craft into the music I write. It seems like people appreciate that it’s not just about one song a record. I’ve written songs that I know will never move mountains or change someone’s mind or heart, but I have this thing where I want to do something well and not just the easiest level I can.”
There’s nothing special that I do. —Ben Rector
His fans stayed true with “Something Like This.” The album, which saw Rector venture out a bit from his Beatles and Spoon-inspired ballads, was produced by Chad Copelin and Jarod Evans of Norman’s Blackwatch Studios and is his most daring effort to date.
“I realized that if I was going to do this as a career, I couldn’t only aim to make people happy — I had to grow as an artist and writer,” Rector said. “We took a couple risks. I meant for it to be accessible, but it’s definitely not as accessible as some of my older records. It’s bolder flavors. I’m excited that people have gone with me on it. They actually seem to like that there was some growth.”
Now a resident of Nashville, Tenn., Rector will tour through the year before pumping the brakes for some well-deserved rest and relaxation, and hopefully an extended visit in his home state.
“Being around a strong community of like-minded people, it was a great place to be raised,” he said. “The values and cultural norms that Oklahoma ingrained in me are still present in my life now, and they are things that are important to me to keep up.”