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Editor’s Letter – 3/7/18

My first concert was Jars of Clay, a Christian rock concert, at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany. I was nine or ten; my mom took me. Low lights crept across the dark stage when the band began the acoustic intro to “Flood,” singing “Rain, rain on my face / It hasn’t stopped raining for days / My world is a flood / slowly I become one with the mud.” Then the lights burst onto the band and crowd, and some lighting effect replicated a stormy sea across the room as the singers harmonized: “But if I can’t swim after forty days and my mind is crushed by the crashing waves ...” I felt like I was being tossed about in the middle of the ocean. The lyrics and loudness moved me. I was in awe.

Of course, it took a few years before I was made to feel really super dorky about this first concert experience. (I was homeschooled and this is Oklahoma; give me a break!) So I made a new memory with the much less dorky Blink 182 at the arena in Oklahoma City’s State Fair Park. My friends and I made shirts that said, “I Love Blink,” which I’m far more embarrassed about now. But the Jars of Clay concert remains a powerful memory. It was the first time I was in the presence of live music and it made me feel empowered and understood.

Photographer Chris Williams mentions this same thing in our feature, “Rite of passage”: “As far as what people can convey through music, it’s one of the most powerful things. It hits your spirit different.” Williams is in good company in this piece—other Tulsa musicians and music industry folks explain how their first concerts marked them so that, in one way or another, they have never left music behind.

Mike Gilliland and Conor Robb of Auggy Reed Studios also understand the transformative power of listening to (and recording) live music. For their DIY dinner-and-a-show events, local bands record an album live while local music-lovers watch. In “Hosts with the most,” Damion Shade takes us inside their studio and previews singer-songwriter Adrienne Gilley’s album, which will be recorded at Auggy Reed this weekend.

Elsewhere, Brady Whisenhunt introduces us to the “unholy” but well-meaning punk rock of Holy Void, and Mason Whitehorn Powell examines what it will mean to have local access to The Bob Dylan Archive.

It’s as good a time as ever to be making and appreciating music in Tulsa. We face ourselves through song, and music has long been something that brings our community together.

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