Oklahoma Sky: The Sooner State Is Poised To Become America’s Next Great Music Scene

[caption id="attachment_217230" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Taylor Hanson of the pop-rock band Hanson, pictured in Tulsa. Photo by Lynne Margolis[/caption] For some years now, the Oklahoma Room has been the place to be at Folk Alliance International conferences; so much Sooner State talent shows up, their “something in the water” claim almost seems believable. But lately, more artists who weren’t born or raised as Okies have been jumping in the pool as well. Creatives getting squeezed out of places like Austin and Nashville are turning to Tulsa, in particular, for its affordable housing, lively, mural-covered arts districts, support of original music and proximity to Oklahoma City, just far enough away to remain a separate tour market. But there’s another factor, too: the energizing momentum of a city embracing its past while working to transform its future. Though it lacks major labels, publishing houses or similar “industry” infrastructure, Tulsa is morphing into a creative mecca — one trying to nurture an economically healthy music community. For both natives and newcomers, that’s a powerful lure. When Paul Benjamin’s Sunday Nite Thing finally ambles onstage at the Colony, a tiny club in Tulsa, it’s around 11 p.m. At most clubs, this is the graveyard gig,…

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