The Depot Gallery and office will be closed until at least the end of May, 2020. We will reassess at that time. Phone messages will be checked regularly and calls returned. We do this out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health of our community.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
*BECAUSE PRIDE MUST GO ON!*
Two award-winning singer-songwriters, Heather Mae ("the queer Adele") and Crys Matthews ("the Woody Guthrie of our generation"), are joining forces once again to VIRTUALLY spread their message of social-justice, hope and love from coast to coast as The Singing OUT Tour, a celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride! During this difficult time of social distancing, it is imperative that LGBTQ+ people and our allies gather to lift one another up and bask in the power and beauty of our resilient community! We may not be able to physically gather, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate our stories and our people. We don’t give up - we adapt!
Come dressed in your best Pride gear - however you identify! - and get ready to sing along, play games, compete in giveaways every night, and share connection and community in what will be a memorable VIRTUAL Pride concert! Let’s gather together in song and spirit and keep Pride alive in 2020!!
"Soul-filling" and "amazing" is the way fans described last year's in-person tour and, with both artists celebrating new releases (Mae's "GLIMMER" and Matthews' "These Old Hands"), the 2020 VIRTUAL edition of The Singing OUT Tour will be a memorable and empowering gathering of community and PRIDE!
In 2016, after an eight-month period of silence to recover from vocal nodules, singer-songwriter Heather Mae made a vow: she would dedicate her career solely to writing music that made the world a better place. Her independently-released debut EP I AM ENOUGH, which reached #58 on iTunes Pop Album charts, was her announcement to the world. “When people listen to my new music, my mission is that they feel they’re not alone and that they’re moved to rediscover the best versions of themselves,” Mae said. With her September 2019 release Glimmer, it seems that she has discovered the best version of herself.
Although L-Mag dubbed her "the new queer Adele," Mae has remained unfazed by what a typical pop artist today is 'supposed' to look like or how the typical pop artist is 'supposed' to sound. Instead, Mae sees her music as a platform for change, "pop music with a mission," she calls it. With each of the nine tracks on Glimmer, from her #MeToo-inspired feminist anthem “Warrior,” which features a choir of more than 100 female vocalists, to “You Are My Favorite,” a love song inspired by her own wedding vows and written for her wife, Mae shows that she is nothing less than a powerhouse. From LGBTQ+ discrimination, gender stereotypes and women's rights to body image and mental health issues, Mae "seeks to write music for those that need an anthem" says Eden Arielle Gordon of Popdust. "Heather Mae's Glimmer spins pain into exquisite alt-pop," Gordon says. "This album is a work of empathy and raw honesty, a candid confessional and a rallying cry for everyone looking for a reason to go on."
Ask about the new generation of social justice music-makers and Crys Matthews will be mentioned. A prolific lyricist, Matthews blends Americana, folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass and funk into a bold, complex performance steeped in traditional melodies punctuated by honest, original lyrics. “While each and every day, on each and every media platform, we’re reminded of the division, alienation, marginalization, and divisiveness rampant in our country (and our world), we’re not often enough met with people like Matthews," said Justin Hiltner of Bluegrass Situation, "who exist as reminders of what beauty can occur when we bridge those divides.” Her two 2017 releases, a full-length album called The Imagineers, a selection of thoughtful songs about love and life, and an EP called Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers, which tackles social justice themes helped earn Matthews high praise like that from Hiltner as well as the title of 2017 NewSong Music and Performance Competition grand prize winner.
On the title track of her newest EP, Matthews says, “Must be 10,000 miles between here and forgiveness.” These Old Hands is about that journey. Her eighth studio release, this album is a sharp departure from her pre-2016 saccharine love songs and her post-2016 social justice songs. “It is the most vulnerable I’ve ever been in my music,” Matthews says. From the title track, written about picking up where a love leaves off, to the final track, written about familial complexities, Matthews is letting her listeners see behind what she calls her “titanium wall.” These Old Hands is already garnering acclaim from Folk DJs and finished out 2019 in Folk Alley's Top Ten of 2019. Matthews already has her sights on a pre-election release of a full-length social-justice album called Changemakers.
Paul Austin has a decades long career writing for and about theatre in poems, essays, and plays. A collection of his writings, Late Night Conspiracies, was even performed with a jazz ensemble at New York’s Ensemble Studio Theatre. Paul has made his home in Norman and we are delighted to have him doing a reading of his varied and theatrical work on Depot TV this Thursday, June 25, livestreaming at 5pm.
Watch at www.facebook.com/PASNorman/live
Barron Ryan has a wide influence in style of music, and he brings it all to his masterful skills in piano. His two albums, Classical with Attitude and The Master’s Apprentice show skill and variety. His songs vary from Rachmaninoff to the Jackson 5, and he is a born entertainer as well. Don’t miss his awesome talent, streamed live on Depot TV on Friday, June 26 at 5 pm.
Watch at www.facebook.com/PASNorman/live
The Depot is partnering with KGOU=Your NPR Source to bring the 20th Anniversary of the Summer Breeze Concert Series to you wherever you are. The concerts are broadcast live on Sunday nights at 7pm and listeners can find them at 106.3 FM Norman ~ 105.7 FM Oklahoma City ~ 88.1 FM Woodward ~ 91.9 FM Ada 89.1 FM Clinton ~ 103.1 FM Seminole ~ 97.9 FM Ada ~ 106.9 FM Chickasha 105.1 FM Shawnee, at KGOU.org, or by saying “play KGOU“ to your smart speaker.
When it became clear that hosting this beloved community concert series in the park wasn’t feasible due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the team at The Depot reached out to KGOU and a partnership was born. Both organizations have an enthusiastic commitment to community and the collaboration just seemed right and natural. After the successful kickoff on May 24 with Carter Sampson and the Jackelopes, the final schedule was finalized and is now available.
June 7 - Chris Jones and the Flycatchers based in Norman, OK, bring a little bit Rock N’ Roll, a little bit Americana, and a whole lot of cleverly crafted songs. “Songs for Red”, their powerful debut album, is comprised of ten tracks that will connect to a wide audience of music lovers. Chris is a story teller, his lyrics are relatable, and his delivery feels like a conversation through music.
June 21 - Beau Jennings and the Tigers – Beau Jennings spent years fronting Americana rock band Cheyenne before returning to his Oklahoma home and joining forces with The Tigers, a wrecking crew of some of the best musicians in the state. Beau prides himself on writing songs personal enough that only he could write at this point in his musical career. His most recent album, “The Thunderbird”, channels some Elvis energy into an album of pure heartland rock recorded live.
July 5 – Husbands, a delightful indie duo originated in Oklahoma City, makes surf pop and garage pop music that makes you want to dance in your seat. In 2020 alone, they have released a full album “After the Gold Rush Party,” a music video to the song “Manhorse", and another album called “Wayne John.” They are creative and influenced by everything from the Beach Boys to punk, and bring a unique a creative style of their own to each and every bop that they write.
July 19 – Mike Hosty is a man that needs no introduction, he is a Norman legend and an Oklahoma icon. He is a wonderful weirdo, champion of our quirky culture, and the quintessential one-man band, most well-known for playing drums with his feet while playing guitar, singing, and playing kazoo. He does all this to original numbers and sometimes even improvises songs on the fly. Beyond the technical feat of how he plays, his music is captivating. His original blues songs like “Oklahoma Breakdown” and “Disco Truck” will have you dancing wherever you are.
August 2 - Chanda Graham, a jazz and blues singer from OKC, has performed all over the metro, and been a guest vocalist on countless records. Chanda’s soulful voice is reminiscent of Ella and the golden age of jazz, and her sound brings some of the best days of music alive again. “Rona Blues,” a single she released May 2020, takes the pandemic scare we are all feeling and turns it into an old school blues piece that is impossible not to feel in your very core.
August 16 - Homegrown Volume II is a beautiful gathering of many of Norman’s best musicians playing together in song swaps, instrument swaps, and collaborating on each others’ material. It is organized by Terry “Buffalo” Ware and Kyle Reid, and features many of the musicians that make this town a vibrant musical community.
The Depot is a community supported nonprofit organization and can’t do this amazing work for our community alone. A free series requires the support of a lot of organizations and individuals in our community. For this series, those include: the Norman Arts Council and the Oklahoma Arts Council, Norman Smile Center, Skye Diers & Gingerbread Nursery School, Tom McAuliffee & Don Cies Real Estate, Peggy Doviak & DM Wealth Management, Bruce & Trisha Bunce, Keri & Hugh Young, and Bob Schelegel. The Depot would never have made it this far without those folks and others including Cindy Merrick & Therapy in Motion, The Bluebonnet Bar, Edward Jones, Hitachi Computer Products, Native Spirits Winery, Lazy Circles Brewing, The Montford Inn, and fans like you who could join as a member of the Depot for as little as $5 a month. Learn how at www.pasnorman.org/join
Summer Breeze 20th Anniversary Concert Series is happening! In an effort to make sure that everyone gets their summer dose of live original music, The Depot is partnering with KGOU Radio to bring you the Summer Breeze Concert Series live on-air beginning May 24, 2020 at 7:00pm. Normally held in Lion's Park, this year we're bringing the show to YOU anywhere you are. Picnic with the family in the backyard at sunset, take a drive and turn up the radio, turn up the A/C and listen from the sofa -- you can listen ANYWHERE!
KGOU Radio will broadcast Summer Breeze Concerts live at 106.3 FM in Norman, 105.7 FM in OKC, at KGOU.org. Summer Breeze is also streaming through Apple Music.
Summer Breeze kicks off May 24 at 7:00 pm with "The Queen of Oklahoma," Carter Sampson and the Jackelopes. Carter Sampson is an Oklahoma born and raised, award winning singer songwriter. She tours nationally and internationally playing both solo and with her trio & band. She has released five studio albums including her newest release LUCKY recorded with Jason Scott in Moore, OK. Sampson’s 2016 release Wilder Side received international attention and was No. 3 on the Euro Americana year end chart for 2016. She is the founder and director of The Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls OKC, a nonprofit volunteer run organization that empowers girls through music education. Carter Sampson’s band includes Kyle Reid (pedal steel & guitar), Mike Satawake (lead guitar) Luke Mullinex (bass) Jack Waters (drums).
The other 6 concerts of the series will all air at 7 pm on the following Sundays: June 7th, June 21, July 5, July 19, August 2, and August 16. The full lineup will be available soon and will be listed on The Depot website at www.normandepot.org and also on The Depot facebook page.
The Depot couldn't make this happen without support from our local partners who have donated to bring this series to our community for the last 20 years and continue to want to help us create experiences that bring us together. Those people and organizations include: Norman Arts Council, Oklahoma Arts Council, KGOU Radio, Skye Diers & Gingerbread Nursery School, Norman Smile Center, Armstrong Bank, Tom McAuliffe & Don Cies Real Estate, Bruce & Trisha Bunce, and Bob Schlegel.
As you all know, we are navigating an ever-changing situation with the potential to have a tremendous impact on us all. The staff and board of The Depot took steps to comply with social distancing guidelines in advance of local and state requirements, and we have started looking at our upcoming programs to ensure that our future plans are well-informed and made with our Norman community at heart. All Depot rentals for the month of April have been canceled and fully refunded, and we expect to make a decision regarding May rentals within the coming weeks. The building is now closed to staff, renters, train customers, and the public at large, but the interior will still undergo a thorough weekly cleaning.
Throughout this time of home, quiet reflection, and social distancing innovations, we at The Depot will devote our time and energy into sharing with you, our community, opportunities to gather virtually in support of our favorite local musicians, poets, and visual artists. We will work to highlight those among us who are bringing light and joy through artistic expression, and hopefully, we will all find ourselves uplifted; together while apart.
Our signature Summer Breeze concert series is still in the active planning phases. Though it may look different than past years or inhabit a shortened schedule, we will do all in our power to bring the community of Norman the unique gift of collective musical experience that we have all come to love. To that end, we would ask our valued friends and partners to keep the Depot in your giving plans as we navigate COVID-19. We already know that revenue losses and funding cuts are coming as a result of current economic instability, and we are working to offset deficits with available emergency funding options.
Maria Shriver said, “Art is fundamental, unique to each of us…Even in difficult economic times – especially in difficult economic times – the arts are essential.” We could not agree more, and we know that if you are one of the friends in our circle reading this, you know it to be true. At The Depot, we often say that at the core of our mission, we are community. If we are to emerge from today ready for tomorrow, it will take us all; it will take community. Thank you is not enough for your support during this time of uncertainty and crisis. We are honored to be able to bring community through the arts, and you make that possible.