Wednesday 23 Jul

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | 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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