Non-Profit Record Company Gives Musicians Chance To Showcase 'Tulsa Sound'
TULSA, Oklahoma - One thing people from outside Green County know Tulsa for is its sound. The Tulsa Sound is a mix of rockabilly, country, blues and rock 'n' roll, made famous by greats like JJ Cale and Leon Russell.
While The 'Tulsa Sound’ had its hey-day in the 50s and 60s, some musicians, and passionate volunteers, are re-igniting the groove and attracting out-of-town attention once again.
With true grit, musician Paul Benjaman hauls his own gear, tests his own sound, and sells his own records.
"I can't believe it, I feel very lucky to be here at this point in time," he said.
Lucky because he's a part of something bigger – The Tulsa Sound – a sound that influenced the Beatles, Eric Clapton, and other rock ‘n’ roll greats.
"If you experience it first hand, you're sold on it. It's something that's undeniable," said Horton Records founder, Brian Horton. "A certain sound, a certain style of music."
Benjaman said, "The guys that were originally part of the Tulsa Sound, they're coming out and they are playing gigs with us and passing us on that lineage and showing us how to do it."
That lineage is also getting rediscovered outside of the area.
Horton said, "That's what people outside of Tulsa have connected to."
The scene here is unique, with many original singers and songwriters.
"We didn't have a lot of industry tell you 'hey, you need to look like this and sound like that,' and that's the same thing we have happening to Tulsa today," Horton said.
It’s allowing for true artistry to take hold.
Horton said, "There is nothing like this going on in other cities - and that means Austin, Nashville, New York, L.A."
The revival is thanks in part to non-profit Horton Records.
"It wouldn't be what it is without him, it really wouldn't be. It really wouldn't be as great," said Benjaman.
Founder Brian Horton helps the artists with recording, booking shows and marketing.
Benjaman said, "Everything he does, he doesn't take a single dime for. He doesn't even charge us for use of toner."
Horton does it all for the love of music; to preserve it and pass it on.
"The live music thing is thriving," he said.
By next year, Horton Records will have helped 100 area musicians get going.
You can find a list of artists and their music here.
And if you’re looking for something to do this New Year's Eve, Paul Benjaman will be playing at Fassler Hall, featuring some of the area's best talent.