Tulsa Time Again – A Guide
“Tulsa Time is more than moments on a clock face or a song title. It is an experience. It is the time of your life, the moment where stories meet and history is made”
Sitting down on North Main, opposite 3cg in a favourite cafe, gives this an odd sense of close to home. Sitting amongst the burgeoning businesses, it is possible to catch the excitement of something new, but you can’t quite clear your throat of the Oklahoma dust that carries with it the taste of tradition and memory. And at the heart of this is Hanson and the Tulsa sound.
The Tulsa Sound is a difficult one to define. It seems to be a mix of rockabilly, country, rock n roll and the blues. These musical stories came together in the late 50s and early 60s and created a genre, which has left the city with a legacy honoured in the bars and on the pavements. And homage is paid visually and musically to great artists of Tulsa as much by the spirit in which it is shared as the songs that are played. Tulsa has an independent vibe and the downtown corners resound with colour, attitude, character and creativity.
It is in this vein that Hanson’s journey is a part of the story of Tulsa and its music.
“Oklahoma has always forged a spirit of independence. Hanson exemplifies that, too. Bob Wills helped to popularize country music in the 1920s and 1930s, right from Cain’s Ballroom. It’s hard to hear a rock album in the 1960s that didn’t feature Leon Russell or other session players from Tulsa. Garth Brooks again changed country music forever. Hanson transitioned from teen pop to refined and respected artists”. Jerry Wooford
This transition has seen Hanson deliberately locate and build a business downtown Tulsa and with time, the city has become more and more integral to who this band is.
In this edition of Tulsa Times, we briefly reference a few historic sites that have a place in Hanson history.
This venue, like people who have lived a lifetime of music making, has had its ups and downs. It has witnessed everything from storing motor vehicles, to years of disrepair to a punk music revolution. Its walls breathe stories of local artists and local people marking moments since 1930. The pictures that hang around the walls and the names on the pavement outside, mark this place as hallowed and much loved, if a little scarred.
Today, Cain’s has a full and vibrant programme of international artists and it is used most years by Hanson for their special events in May. Hanson have performed at Cain’s on major tours and as special guests alongside other artists.
The Vanguard is a music venue on North Main St across from 3CG. It is a place to be “ at the front and on the edge” experiencing new, live music intimately. This is no aged music hall but rather a space to encounter new bands and music. In this place you are promised a great view from every spot available.
Hanson have held events at the Vanguard and this year it is playing host to Hanson day Karaoke, Listening party and The Hop Jam.
The story of Tulsa cannot be told without referencing this historic area of the city. Here, in 1921, in a place of growing wealth and investment among the black community, a misconstrued incident sparked violence from white rioters. Twenty four hours later, 35 blocks were destroyed and as many as 300 people had died.
In 2010, when Hanson recorded the Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin’ video, with dancing in the streets, they chose Greenwood. They did something joyful and reconciliatory on a street whose pavements are marked with records of destruction and suffering. Fans are now invited to walk to Greenwood and Archer, to find the TBS Mural, visit the streets where the video was made and in so doing they trace many footsteps on a path to healing.
Woody Guthrie Centre
The Woody Guthrie centre, just a short walk from 3CG Records, documents the life and music of Woody Guthrie, houses the archives of his work and shares his legacy with all generations.
Through permanent and temporary exhibitions, talks, music events and educational programmes, the WGC seeks to celebrate and share his message of equality, diversity and social justice.
This is a must visit location for those interested in the spirit of Oklahoma and its music.
OKPOP – Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture
An as yet incomplete venture, the OKPOP museum has been in progress for at least 6 years.
This radical and exciting plan to celebrate the music of Oklahoma and its impact was hindered by difficulties in finding a location, but in 2017, thanks in part to Taylor Hanson, a plot was secured.
Its mission is to tell the story of the creative spirit of the people’s of Oklahoma and how its artists have influenced popular culture around the world.
It will fill the empty parking lot opposite Cain’s Ballroom and is definitely one to watch.
The ongoing story of Tulsa music and artistic development is one of passion and independence. It maybe true that Oklahoma wants to be seen on the map, but there is nothing wrong with that. If its place is marked by equality and diversity then the story of its impact on popular culture will be one to treasure. And in there is the much loved, treasured and inspirational creativity of Hanson.