The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

April 27, 2013

Venues keep local music scene strong

ENID, Okla. — Several talented Enid singers and songwriters keep the Enid live music scene active, along with thriving venues.

Stacey Sanders has lived in Enid since he was in school. He said he first started playing in blues bands and began writing his own songs about 1985.

“Music is like any other business, it has its ebb and flow,” he said.

Now, the music scene locally is strong. Some of the active Enid venues include Davinci’s Coffee House, Turpin Tunes on the Third Thursday of the month, Q-Spot Tuesday and Wednesday, Indian Creek Village Winery on Sunday afternoons and Callahan’s Pub & Grille on First Friday.

“Indian Creek (Village) Winery, when the weather is right, the scenery is very pretty and serene. It’s nice to come on a Sunday afternoon and the hospitality is good,” Sanders said of the Ringwood locale.

Sanders and his wife, Kay, even started  a series of house concerts in Enid, where artists perform at someone’s home. Sanders credits Kay with the idea. Enid Main Street also has been active in support of the live music events, he said.

“Going from place to place with a guitar is easy. Just put it on your back and jump on somebody’s gig,” Sanders said.

The house concert series has brought people into Enid who Sanders met on the road and who want to do more. House concerts are popular because many people don’t want to go to a smoky club and hear a loud band, Sanders said.

The musicians who appear at the concerts just want to play for their friends, and it furthers their careers. Sanders said he likes to help out his friends.

The house concert series is random; he usually does two or three a year, taking donations for entry.

Sanders describes his music as “Americana.” He drew from different types of music, blues, elements of jazz or rock. He calls it wooden music, in that he builds a song from many things.

Sanders wrote several songs in high school, but years later went back and threw most of them away.

“I held on to just a few,” he said.

When Sanders writes songs, he may write music or lyrics first, but often he writes both at the same time. One thing you won’t hear are love songs. Instead, Sanders likes writing about different subjects. His songs are stories told in verse about significant times in his life, people he knew who were charged with crimes and other material.

One song, “Pontiac Blues,” is about spending the night in his car after a fight with his wife.

Enid musician Dallas Morris inspired two of his songs, one about a prison farm and the other about “sinking the mule.” He has written a song titled “Steve McQueen,” about a love affair between Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw that made headlines in the 1970s.

“Enid audiences are hungry for good music, and they treat musicians well,” Sanders said.

Jimmy Davis, of Memphis, has been to Enid three times and always played to large crowds. He has developed a following locally, Sanders said. Ryan Conroy from Louisville, Ky., also is developing a following here.

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Scott Carson is one of the most active local singer-songwriters. Carson started playing guitar in elementary school and began writing songs in college. He took up songwriting full-time at 26, and has no idea how many songs he’s written.

Carson’s music doesn’t fall into the usual weekend music, which is oriented toward bands. He plays acoustic music and currently is playing with Enid’s Billy Beck. Carson said he plays about 100 dates a year.

“When I got started writing, it just sort of happened. I had a desire to do it, but it sort of started on its own,” Carson said.

When he decided to further pursue songwriting, he attended a workshop by Nashville songwriter Kevin Welch, an Okie expatriate who wrote a number of songs for Nashville recording artists. Welch later split from that and started his own record label with a partner.

Carson also refers to his music as “Americana.” He said it is similar to folk music, but it can be anything. Most of it is bluesy, country and some is a hybrid of all of that.

The Enid music scene is visibly growing. Carson recently talked with some Oklahoma City area musicians who knew about Enid live music events through social media.

“A lot of Stillwater guys want to come here to play — because venue owners are pretty fair with you — and you don’t always get that other places,” Carson said.

He said Stillwater is “OK,” but it is not what is once was. He has never been satisfied with anything that happened in Oklahoma City.

When Carson writes a song, it is about different things. One idea came from his father-in-law, who sent him a clipping from a 19th century stagecoach from Anthony, Kan., about 1871, that crashed because the driver was intoxicated. He has written another song about the “marrying tree” on the Garfield County-Kingfisher County line.

“You won’t find any love songs in my catalog,” he said. “Nobody is reinventing the wheel.”

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Sylvan Reynolds is another Enid musician who was one of the early participants in the Enid music movement. Reynolds began playing music as a kid taking piano lessons. He was in grade school, junior high and high school bands and sang in the church choir. He picked up guitar in college, but only learned a few rudimentary chords.

When he got busy with his career, he put the guitar in a case in the corner for about 20 years. As he was nearing retirement, Reynolds picked up the guitar again and started hanging out with some of his musical buddies.

“I didn’t really start until about eight to 10 years ago, playing regularly,” he said.

Reynolds played in a group with George Davis and Bill Hyde. They named their band “The Hot Club of Enid,” a nod to the famous Quintette du Hot Club de France, started by Jean “Django” Rinehardt in the 1930s.

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Billy Beck is an Enid native who has been playing guitar for 20 years, starting when he was 11. He was taught by his father, Bill Beck, and friends J.C. Doolin, Monte Humphrey and Donnie Record. He played with a youth group in junior high and began playing with different bands in high school. He played with George Davis, Kyle Dillingham and Josh Tovar in junior high school, too.

“Interest among the musicians seems to be growing. One of the biggest things is the fans and the fan base seems to be growing,” Beck said.

These days he occasionally plays in Tulsa with Tovar, but stays mostly around Enid.

Beck likes to play all types of music. He plays country with Tovar, and has been playing “Americana” music with Carson.

Each month he plays at For You! Boutique. In that venue, he plays solo acoustic, jazz and borderline classical music.

“I like variety and put it into playing,” Beck said.

Beck has studied a number of musicians, including the style of Reinhardt.

“I’m always experimenting with different types of music and trying to learn,” Beck said.

When playing with Tovar, he plays honky-tonk music and has listened to artists from Marty Robbins to Bob Wills.

“Those guys could play,” he said.

Beck said many people are just discovering the live music venue at Q-Spot. He said it is impressive on Tuesday night to go to a live music event with 150 people there.

“The fan base keeps growing, just for live music,” Beck said.

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