It’s easy to see why many secular types consider Christian music a joke. Badly produced, pre-programmed Casio backbeats and plastic saxophones providing the soundtrack to a holier-than-thou message inspires snickers and winces from even those least jaded. OKC’s Soul Williams aims to and succeeds in knocking some sense into that rightfully stereotyped scene.
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.
Last Train Home 7 p.m. Friday The Blue Door 2805 N. McKinley bluedoorokc.com 524-0738 $15-$20
photo: Matthew Worden
From The Byrds to The Band, country-inspired folk rock played a huge part in the path Last Train Home has taken since forming in 1997.
So did Slayer and Megadeth.
For seven years, bandleader Eric Brace was a Washington Post music columnist before quitting to focus on his burgeoning roots-rock outfit. The time he spent in unlikely concert halls shaped his approach to his own tunes.
“I went to about 10 speed-metal shows in three months. Even though it wasn’t my thing, I had to start listening critically,” Brace said. “Before that, I would say I love The Beatles or Tom Petty, but I couldn’t say exactly why. When you are asked to write about something and pass judgment on something, you should probably know what you are talking about. I learned that there’s good in every genre.”
It opened not only his mind, but also his eyes.
“I saw so much live music, I promised myself if I ever got onstage, I would never put on a boring show. That’s the cardinal sin,” he said. “If I was going to put out a record, it would be a well-crafted product, and if I was going to be onstage singing that song, I’d invest 100 percent of myself.”
As Last Train Home’s infectious live sets became the talk of D.C., bigger opportunities beckoned in Nashville, so Brace made the move with the members who could join him. Ever since, the group accepts whichever player is available and interested.
“It’s fun to be able to walk around the neighborhood and be like, ‘Hey, want to be in Last Train Home?’ There’s about 15 revolving members, and it’s maybe a little more fun that way,” he said. “Every night is a little different. The downside is that the sound kind of changes every time. For people listening, I hope they’ll decide it’s still awesome.”