Friday Five: Oklahoma’s Rising Stars

Juli Thanki | April 4th, 2014

These days it seems as though Oklahoma’s chief export is Americana singer-songwriters. Here are a few of our favorite rising stars from the Sooner State.

5. John Moreland

If you haven’t heard John Moreland’s name before, you might have heard his music on Sons of Anarchy (with his beard and tattoos, Moreland could easily be mistaken for one of the show’s bikers). His In the Throes album, released last summer, was an under-the-radar gem full of starkly beautiful alt-country.

 

4. JD McPherson

McPherson’s scorching, retro rock and roll was catapulted onto the national scene when Rounder Records re-released his damn good Signs and Signifiers record. McPherson’s music is best experienced at one of his sweat-drenched live shows; if he plays your town, make attendance a priority.

 

3. Carter Sampson

With deeply personal lyrics and a bell-clear voice, Sampson is reminiscent of a young Lori McKenna. Her last record, Mockingbird Sing, was released nearly three years ago; let’s hope this means a new album is currently in the works.

 

2. Parker Millsap

Millsap’s self-titled debut, which was released earlier this year, is stunning, full of vivid, well-realized characters straight out of a Southern Gothic short story collection and the occasional banjo string garrote. At only 21, Millsap has a bright, long future in front of him. It’ll be exciting to watch him continue to progress.

 

1. John Fullbright        

Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to catch this spellbinding singer-songwriter in several tiny clubs, but there’s a good chance he won’t be playing those clubs much longer, especially once folks get their ears on his fantastic sophomore record, Songs (out late next month). Here’s a cut from the new album:

 

  1. nm
    April 4, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    John Fullbright is awesome in any geographical context. He seems to be able to pull from any number of musical forms and mix them all together to produce his songs. I mean, how often do you go to what is essentially a rock show where the singer performs a piano-harmonica duet with himself? And then in the next song echoes Kurt Weill? This kid amazes me.

  2. luckyoldsun
    April 4, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    I’ve never heard any of these guys, but the state that gave us Woody and Garth has never been shy in the singer/songwriter department!

    (Yes, I’m aware that Garth would not be considered Americana in the current genre definition.)

  3. Dan Uttendorfer
    April 4, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    We saw Fullbright on Cayamo. Brilliant. He blew us away. Looking forward to the next CD

  4. Barry Mazor
    April 4, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Well,they’re NEW. It’s time you’ve heard about them! Fullbright, IMHO, is one of the major new talents of the past ten years–and young Mr. Millsap shows similar potential. Just for starters!

  5. luckyoldsun
    April 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Well, I’m getting to them.

    I ordered Parker Millsap’s CD–for the bizarre reason that his name sounds like someone else’s, who I don’t even think he’s related to, but hey, that’s why it caught my eye.

  6. Paul W Dennis
    April 5, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Really liked the JD McPherson song “Abigail Blue” – can’t really say the others did much for me although I suspect Fullbright might grow on me

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