Thursday 17 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Injured police officer finds...

Injured police officer finds musical healing

Joanna Rus June 26th, 2008

A former Oklahoma City police officer and Army Reservist turned tragic circumstances into a profession.


Sgt. Justin Echols joined the Army Reserve in 1998 and the Oklahoma City Police Department in 2001, and was serving as an undercover narcotics officer when the 95th Infantry Division was activated in 2003.

But everything changed one dewy morning that year.

Before Echols could be deployed to Iraq, he was in a horrific head-on car collision that permanently disrupted four disks in his back. Injured, dejected and unable to serve overseas with his fellow soldiers, he turned to musical healing.

"I was really in a state of depression after the car accident, and something inside me just decided to sit down and plink on the piano once every three or four months," Echols, 29, said. "I found the music very soothing."

When Echols stepped up his practicing in 2006, he began playing up to six hours a day. It wasn't long before cramped fingers and sore forearms became a staple in his everyday routine.

Echols started taking lessons from Oklahoma City University's School of Music instructors and often performs publicly. After headlining several music events around the state in 2006, he contacted the general manager of the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown OKC just as recently renovated hotel prepped to debut its Red Piano Lounge.

The pianist was hired on the spot, and immediately started a practice and performance routine that began at 5 a.m. before work and resumed at 4 p.m. after. Echols said his schedule included double piano jobs at the Skirvin and Boulevard Steakhouse each night.

The musician now has repertoire of 50 to 60 memorized pieces and a standing 5 p.m. Monday gig at the Skirvin's Red Piano. He hopes to record and release his first CD this summer. —Joanna Rus


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