The final Summer Breeze of the 2017 season brings Depot Members' Choice artist John Fullbright to Lions Park at Flood and Symmes. Music begins at 7:30 pm on Sunday, August 20, 2017. Bring seating, your favorite refreshments, and settle in to enjoy a free, family friendly concert.
John Fullbright grew up on an 80-acre farm in Okemah, OK. He began playing the piano at age five and taking piano lessons at age nine. In 2009, while still attending Okemah High School, Fullbright made his debut performance at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, thus beginning his solo career.
He released the album, Live at the Blue Door in 2009 as well, and three years later released his first studio album From the Ground Up to a swarm of critical acclaim. The album received a Grammy nomination in the category Best Americana Album. The LA Times called the record “preternaturally self-assured,” while NPR hailed him as one of the 10 Artists You Should Have Known in 2012, saying “it’s not every day a new artist…earns comparisons to great songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Randy Newman, but Fullbright’s music makes sense in such lofty company.” The Wall Street Journal crowned Fullbright as giving one of the year’s 10 best live performances.
For Fullbright, however, it hasn’t been all the acclaim that means the most to him, but rather his entrance into a community of songwriters whose work he admires. “When I started out, I was all by myself in a little town in Oklahoma where whatever you wanted, you just made it yourself,” he explains. “I didn’t grow up around musicians or like-minded songwriters, but I grew up around records. One of the most fulfilling things about all this ... is that now I’m surrounded by like-minded people in a community of peers...and don’t feel so alone anymore.”
On the opening track of his new album, Songs, Fullbright sings “What’s so bad about happy?” To be sure, Songs has its moments of darkness, tracks born from pain and heartbreak, but for a craftsman like Fullbright, there are few greater joys than carving emotion into music, taking a stab at that lofty goal of immortality through song. It makes him—and his fans—happy, and there’s nothing bad about that.
Songs also reflects how drastically Fullbright’s life has changed since the release of From The Ground Up, which launched him into a rigorous schedule of international touring. “Going Home” finds him appreciating the simple pleasure of heading back to Oklahoma, which he likens to The Odyssey. “When you’re gone for so long, once you know you’re headed in the right direction to your own bed and your own home, that’s one of the greatest feelings you can have,” he says.
Summer Breeze Concerts are a program of The Depot, a non-profit arts organization located in the historic and newly restored Norman Depot at 200 S. Jones.
Summer Breeze Concerts are made possible, in part, by grants from the Norman Arts Council and the Oklahoma Arts Council. Additional support comes from Sponsor: Skye Diers, Gingerbread Nursery School & Kindergarten, from Contributors: Republic Bank of Norman; Dentists Jamie Belknap, Donna Sparks and Kristen Campbell at Norman Smile Center; Tom McAuliffe at Don Cies Real Estate; Hugh and Keri Young; Inter Bank; 2 Green Chicks; The Mont; D.M. Wealth Management, Inc.; Edward Jones; The Montford Inn, and from Friends: Nancy McClellan and Sooner Carpet, Air Duct & Restoration; Bruce & Trisha Bunce, and from Neighbors Yoga Life and Bob Schlegel. Major in-kind support comes from Norman Parks and Recreation Department.
The Depot is proud to announce the musical lineup for the 2017 Summer Breeze Concert Series. The eight free family-friendly Sunday evening concerts, taking place in Lions Park at the corner of Flood and Symmes in Norman, are all scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm. Bring seating, your favorite refreshments (no vendors are allowed) and enjoy these relaxed “easy-breezy” musical evenings in the park.
May 21, Jabee
Jonathan Blake Williams Jr, better known by his stage name Jabee, is an Oklahoma City hip hop artist and actor who began to rap at age seven. Jabee has performed at SXSW where, in 2014, he met Sway Calloway and was offered a spot on Sway In The Morning. He earned a regional Emmy in 2014. His album "Black Future” was released in August 2016 with the first performance at the grand reopening of Oklahoma City's historic Tower Theatre. Jabee was recently awarded Best Rap / Hip Hop Artist of 2016 by the Oklahoma Gazette.
June 4, Terry "Buffalo" Ware and the Shambles
Norman's own Terry “Buffalo” Ware and The Shambles bring their distinctive brand of instrumental surf/rock/r&b/Okie Twang to Lions Park. The Shambles include: Ware, guitar; Bob French, guitar; T. Z. Wright, keyboards; Marlin Butcher, bass; Michael McCarty, drums; and Gregg Standridge, guitar. Their sets feature many of Ware's original compositions as well as selected covers. Ware performed with Jimmy LaFave from 1997-2000 and Ray Wylie Hubbard prior to that. Since 2000 he has been a freelance guitarist backing established artists including Eliza Gilkyson, Wanda Jackson, Don Conoscenti and numerous others, including John Fullbright on the 2013 Grammy pre-telecast.
June 18, The Railsplitters
Fresh off the success of their first album, and taking first place in Rockygrass’ Best New Band Competition, Colorado natives The Railsplitters got busy touring the US. With their finger on the pulse, The Railsplitters are pushing the genre forward with an adventurous spirit, carrying on the tradition of breaking boundaries with their high energy bluegrass sound. Lauren Stovall and the rest of the ‘Splitters suggest that using your roots to evolve is really at the heart of the genre,
June 25, John Calvin Abney
Oklahoma-based songwriter John Calvin Abney has, in the past two and a half years, played over 400 shows, driven over 100,000 miles and released his critically acclaimed debut album Better Luck, plus two EPs. Abney approaches his music with a fresh innocence and tuneful confidence that propels his melodies and delivers heartfelt emotion. An accomplished musician and great performer, Abney has risen toward toward the top of the Oklahoma musical landscape.
July 9, The Crane Wives
The Crane Wives is a female fronted indie rock group who feature three-part vocal harmonies, narrative lyricism, and a passion for songcraft that creates organic music that is equally accessible and innovative. Each live show features contagious energy as well as original music that ranges from whisper quiet ballads to danceable grooves. The grand Rapids, Michigan band formed in late August of 2010 and has released four full-length albums.
July 23, The Cave Singers
Former Pretty Girls Make Graves member Derek Fudesco teamed up with Pete Quirk (of Hint Hint) and Marty Lund (of Cobra High) and began playing in the Seattle area as The Cave Singers. Given the rising popularity of meditative, folky indie acts in the early 2000s, forming a twangy, rootsy folk trio was probably the least surprising move Derek Fudesco could have made. Following he band's first full-length LP, Invitation Songs, the band was joined by former Blood Brothers bassist Morgan Henderson. The Cave Singers released their crowd funded fifth album, Banshee, in February 2016.
August 6, Boyd Street Brass
Boyd Street Brass, a 7 piece horn band based in Norman, OK, formed in winter 2013, was modeled after traditional New Orleans street bands, but has since developed a unique and diverse sound, blending funk, swing, Latin, and pop music. In April 2015 their debut album Sup Sucka, was released featuring 14 original songs. The Boyd Street Brass perform a mix of instrumental and vocal tunes featuring Jay Wilkinson, including original songs by Jay as well as covers of other brass bands.
August 20, John Fullbright
Okemah native John Fullbright's 2012 debut release, From the Ground Up, propelled him to the musical forefront. "... a killer debut, pairing sharply worded stories that resonate with confident performances that pop." said The Washington Times. The album peaked at #10 on the Billboard Top Folk Albums chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best Americana Album. The Wall Street Journal review of Songs, Fulbright’s 2014 release, says “Songs is a warm, winning and plainspoken Americana album that builds on the authority and charm of From The Ground Up by its clarity and simmering intensity.” Fullbright was selected by members of The Depot as the “Members Choice” Concert for 2017.
Summer Breeze Concerts are made possible, in part, by grants from the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Norman Arts Council, from Sponsors Skye Diers, Gingerbread Nursery School and Republic Bank and Trust; from Contributors Tom McAuliffe, Don Cies Real Estate; Dentists Jamie Belknap, Donna Sparks and Kristen Campbell at Norman Smile Center; Andi Berry, Wyoming Art Therapy; Edward Jones; 2 Green Chicks; The Mont; Montford Inn; and from Friends Nancy McClellan, Sooner Carpet Cleaning & Restoration, and Neighbors Bob Schlegel and Becca Hewes of Yogalife. Major in-kind support comes from Norman Parks and Recreation Department.