When the members of Marshallcity reunite this Friday for one more go-round, it won't be part of a healing process or a band-aid covering an old wound. Anyone who knows the guys involved also knows they've remained good friends over the years. This is just an opportunity to get together once again and celebrate what they accomplished together a decade ago.
As Philip Zoellner explained it, "With a lot of breakups there's a degree of drama associated with it -- kind of like a divorce. Ours was more like w outgrew the house we had built."
"We had all outgrown it -- or at least thought we had," he continued, "but we all stayed very close over the years."
Even though the members separated for a time, many of them came back in separate iterations: guitarist Jay Falkner, bassist Colby Cook and drummer Daniel McElroy now play together in South 40 and Jody Parsons now plays bass with guitarist/vocalist Zoellner in the Philip Zoellner Band. Although there appears to be a visible split in the ranks, however, doesn't mean there is any animosity. Everyone still remains close and often either sits in with the other band or shares the stage as the two bands have often shared the same bill, opening for each other's CD release parties and playing a handful of other shows together.
In Jody Parson's words, "We still do life together -- we've been through each other's weddings (and in some cases, divorces) and are there for each of the kid's birthdays."
The reason for the original band coming together one more, however, is something of a signature moment for each of them, however: the 10th anniversary of Marshallcity's debut CD, Perennial Travel Fever.
Though the band didn't actually form until after each of the members had finished college, it proved a valuable and fertile soil for each of the members to grow, both personally and as musicians, when they all came together in 1999. As the disc came out in 2000, it marked a new movement in the local music scene as the band took its inspiration from alt-country icons of the time such as Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, The Jayhawks and Whiskeytown.
Although the band didn't consider itself part of the Red Dirt movement, it was quickly embraced by the other bands as Marshallcity's sound easily complimented the bands that were at the head of the movement at the time.
Over the course of the band's short run, the group marked up a number of successes, from the release of its debut disc to sharing the stage and becoming friends with acts like Red Dirt Rangers, Cross Canadian Ragweed and Jason Boland.
As Zoellner said, "We gave our demo CD to the Red Dirt Rangers and I can still remember us all being in the house when the phone rang and John cooper asked us to open a show for them. We thought we had hit the lottery..."
That proved to be just the beginning for a band that made its mark on the local music scene, but only recorded one studio album. The band's sophomore release was a live album recorded at Steamroller Blues in March of 2002.
"By the time we did Cure for the Common Show, we'd figured out our favorite records were all live albums," Jody Parsons said. "Even today: The Who's Live from Leeds, Ben Harper's Live from Mars, Jimmy Page, The Black Crowes: are our favorite albums. And it never dawned on us that we couldn't do that ourselves."
Perhaps that was the true magic of Marshallcity. In Parson's own words: "'No' and 'We can't do that' just weren't included in our vocabulary."
As a result, the young band not only knocked out an impressive debut CD in its first year and followed with a live disc, but the band found an independent showcase in Austin during SXSW, then returned again the next year, where Parson's gave a copy of the band's CD to Mike Daly (of Ryan Adams band) and asked him if he'd want to produce the band's next disc.
Though that never came to fruition with Marshallcity, the connection did lead to Zoellner recording his solo debut in New York with Brad Rice.
Even bassist Colby Cook reflects back on the band and said, "You know, that was a good record and we had no restrictions. We just recorded it and started playing shows and there were no limitations because we were probably too naïve to know any better."
By the time Marshallcity dissolved, it wasn't a matter of animosity or anything else. Everyone was growing up and heading in new directions. Jay Falkner had already moved back to Panama, Okla., and Daniel McElroy had stepped down when Zoellner followed his muse to New York and eventually recorded his debut solo disc before moving back to Tulsa.
Since then, Falkner moved forward with McElroy and Cook in South 40, displaying more of his country influences while Zoellner's more Beatles influenced rock side has continued to emerge. Even so, everyone has remained close friends and upon reflecting back on the release of Perennial Travel Fever, now seemed like the perfect time to get back together and celebrate its release with another show to get together and enjoy the songs with old friends: both within the band and from the group's old fan base.
You can be sure there will be many smiles and much reminiscing about the songs and the start of the band when Marshallcity comes together this Friday, Dec. 10 at Woody's. Cover is only $5 and the music will start around 10pm and Marshallcity works its way through its old catalogue. Along the way, you can rest assured that the groups will likely also play a few Zoellner and South 40 tunes and a few guests will likely show up and share the stage as well. After all, this is more about the celebration that the show itself.
In the process, Kelly Kerr will also be filming the show as part of a documentary that is being compiled as a scrapbook of sorts for the band. Interviews with members of Marshallcity as well as many of the other bands the group has played with are being incorporated along with live footage that will be complied over the evening for future use.
When looking back, Zoellner said, "Songs are kind of like kids -- they all develop different personalities over the years and when you look back, you don't necessarily want to return to that time, but you remember it fondly. When I flip through the pages of this record, I remember that we were just kids when we made the album, but the songs are still good and the playing is still good. It was a good record and got some good accolades at the time and it's still good and fun to play, so we're just going to enjoy revisiting it for a night."
Rock in Color
It has been said that a picture says a thousand words. If that's the case, I'm not sure how many a photo can sing, but Jeremy Charles' portfolio has sung a lot over the past few years.
Charles has quickly become one of the premier photographers in Tulsa, as our readers can attest to by once again voting for him as the ABoT winner for best photographer in 2010. Although he has covered all types of subjects, many of us love him for his music photography: both posed and in the live arena.
This week, Charles' latest exhibit, Wall of Sound, premiers at Shades of Brown Coffeehouse in Brookside on Thursday, Dec. 9. Featuring over 50 different artists, ranging from Hanson and Dwight Twilley to Wighead, Jesse Aycock and Refund Division, Charles' latest show provides a portrait of the Oklahoma music landscape from the national to the local level.
Even if you can't make it out on Thursday evening, you'll want to stop in at Shades of Brown over the next couple of weeks to take in part of his vision. After all, he's got one of the keenest eyes in town and he's always got the inside track on who's hot in Oklahoma music.
Yes, it's a busy season as the Christmas chaos all comes down around us. Still, we know that you need to get out and blow off some steam. If you've been too busy to keep up with everything, however, we've got all the highlights to get you pointed in the right direction, so read on...
On Thursday night, your best bet will be Ted Russell Kamp at Hunt Club with Travis Kidd and Hurricane Mason opening, but you've still got options like Eyehategod at The Marquee for the rock crowd, Aaron Watson at Midnight Rodeo for the country contingent and Ego Culture at Hibiscus for jam fans.
On Friday night, Dec. 10, I've already mentioned the Marshallcity reunion at Woody's, but that's not all. Singer/songwriter fans won't want to miss Patty Larkin as she plays an intimate show supporting her latest disc, 25, and celebrates just as many years as a recording artist, with a don't-miss show at All Souls Coffeehouse.
Also on Friday night, The Skillbillies reunite for a one-off show at The Colony to revisit one of Northeast Oklahoma's original hybrid bluegrass outfits. Of course, founding members Joe Mack and Thomas Trapp will be present, but beyond that, anything goes as the stage will likely remain open to any of the members who eventually rotated through the lineup over the course of its tenure, so keep an eye out for the likes of Dango Rose, Kabe Cornell and Chris Becker to stop by The Colony over the course of the evening, as well.
If you're looking for something a little more upbeat, you can't go wrong with the Southern rock of Wisebird, especially when playing at Fassler Hall, or Mosh the Halls returns for the all-ages crowd at The Marquee featuring Take It Back, Outline In Color and one of the final performances of Relax Relapse, as that band transforms into Parallels as it changes direction.
Saturday night proves just as busy as the Christmas season shows swing into high gear. First up, GHOSTS continue to celebrate the release of the band's fourth annual Christmas album with another show to support This Christmas Game, this time playing at Fassler Hall and sharing the evening for a rare appearance by Team Galaxy. Meanwhile, over in the Brookside neighborhood, The Red Room at Sharky's hosts "A Crooked X Christmas" with its namesake and special guests Siva Addiction.
Other highlights for Saturday, Dec. 11, include Chloe Johns at Woody's with TJ Broscoff, Lizard Police at Soundpony and Rockabilly sensation Dave Gonzalez & the Stone River Boys at Crystal Pistol with special guest Adam Lopez and the Lo-Tops.
Once Sunday arrives, things slow down considerably, but you can still settle in with a good standing gig like Pilgrim at The Colony or Brandon Clark at Mercury Lounge and relax your way into the week before the onslaught of big Christmas shows all hit next week.
Call For Writers!
If you haven't been paying attention to all of the ads, it's time to wake up and put your writing shoes on. The annual SXSW essay completion is now underway and once again we're looking for the best person to represent UTW and report back with a fresh viewpoint form the conference and music festival.
Do you think you've got what it takes to soak up over 1,200 bands, countless parties, a music conference and trade show all in four days and still make sense of it all? If so, just tell us in 500 words or less why you'd be our best representative and which local band you would send to represent Tulsa and why. The deadline is Jan. 14, but don't wait until the last minute. Start writing now so you can send us your best effort!
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