Red Dirt Christmas comes to Cain's on Saturday
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Thursday, December 13, 2012
12/13/12 at 7:20 AM
This weekend brings the 17th annual Red Dirt Christmas blowout, and with it comes a show that practically promises to sell out.
As expected, longtime local musicians the Red Dirt Rangers bring the ball together, all in the name of good hometown fun and to benefit the Red Dirt Relief Fund.
It's more than an annual reunion for "friends and Red Dirt family," said Rangers singer John Cooper.
Great Divide, one of the earliest bands in the genre to explode onto the national music scene, will play a rare set together, too.
The Bo Phillips Band, featuring older brother of stalwart Red Dirt musician Stoney LaRue, also will perform, as will Oklahoma break-out act The Damn Quails.
The lineup is bigger, the names are bigger and the tickets are cheaper, Cooper said.
That's a Christmas present for everybody.
"I'm excited we wrangled Great Divide into this year's event," Cooper said. "Great Divide is one of those early bands that really opened the door for the rest of us in Red Dirt music."
The band also performed at many of the early Red Dirt Christmas shows.
The Great Divide formed in 1992 and lasted 10 years before splitting. Band founder Mike McClure is also more than a singer-songwriter. He's a producer and has signed rising star The Damn Quails to his 598 Recordings record label.
Proceeds from this year's party benefit the Red Dirt Relief Fund, a nonprofit organization set up to help local musicians and their families.
"We started the charity after our helicopter crash in 2004," Cooper said of the crash where the pilot was killed.
The Red Dirt Rangers skirted death and were seriously injured when a sightseeing ride went awry. Band mates suffered broken ribs, collapsed lungs, broken pelvis, lacerations, broken legs and more - and none could afford insurance.
The community support changed them. It also helped them heal. They decided to return the favor.
"So many in our scene aren't rich," he said. "They're working class. It doesn't take much for them to fall onto hard times with an illness or injury."
The charity is modeled after the Grammy Foundation's MusiCares program, Cooper said. A five-member board approves applications and makes donations to applicants, he said.
The charity earned its 401(c)3 certification this year.
The Red Dirt Rangers head into the new year with almost 25 years together, Cooper said.
"I never thought I'd be in a band. Heck, this is the only band I've ever been in," he laughed. "It's just insane that our music community is still so tight and so close."
The Rangers said a new album is coming, too, likely in March or April.
"We're working on another Oklahoma World Tour," he said, laughing
That means a likely 30-plus shows in as many Sooner State venues as possible in about 30 days.
17TH ANNUAL RED DIRT CHRISTMAS
with Red Dirt Rangers, Damn Quails, Bo Phillips Band and Great Divide When: Doors 7 p.m., concert 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Cain's Ballroom, 423 N. Main St.
Tickets: All ages. $16 and $19, plus fees, available at the box office, Reasor's, Starship, Ida Red, Buy For Less in the OKC area, by calling 866-977-6849 or by visiting tulsaworld.com/protix
Original Print Headline: Red Dirt Christmas
Jennifer Chancellor 918-581-8346
John Cooper (left), Brad Piccolo and Ben Han of the Red Dirt Rangers perform during David Amram's Tribute to Woody Guthrie concert at the Jazz Hall of Fame earlier this year. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World file
The Great Divide Courtesy