watermelonslimpasbuy ticketsMultiple award winning blues artist Bill “Watermelon Slim” Homans will perform solo on February 28 as the third concert in the collaborative effort by Jazz in June and The Depot to celebrate America's great musical heritage. The concert begins at 7:00 pm in the intimate Winter Wind listening room at 200 S. Jones Avenue. Tickets are $20.

"He's one hell of a bottleneck guitarist, and he's got that cry in his voice that only the greatest singers in the genre have had before him." writes Paste Magazine. The industry agrees. Watermelon Slim, and his crack touring band The Workers, have garnered 17 Blues Music Award nominations and won an impressive array of those and other awards. Slim has been embraced internationally for his music, performances, backstory and persona.

Bill “Watermelon Slim” Homans was born in Boston. His father was a progressive attorney and freedom rider and his brother a classical musician. He was raised in North Carolina listening to the housekeeper sing John Lee Hooker songs. Slim attended Middlebury College on a fencing scholarship but left early to enlist for Vietnam. While laid up in a Vietnam hospital bed he taught himself upside-down left-handed slide guitar on a $5 balsawood model using a triangle pick cut from a rusty coffee can top and his Army issued Zippo lighter as the slide.

Slim first appeared on the music scene with the release of Merry Airbrakes, a 1973 LP and the only known protest record by a veteran during the Vietnam War. In the years after, Slim engaged in several occupations and was even at times a small time criminal, forcing him to flee Boston where he had played peace rallies, sit-ins and rabble-roused musically with the likes of Bonnie Raitt.

From Boston, Slim landed in Oklahoma farming watermelons - hence his stage name. Slim has now completed two undergrad and a master's degree, started a family, become an artist, and joined Mensa. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in May 2007 and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in January 2014. The late legendary Jerry Wexler called Slim a "one-of-a-kind pickin' n singing Okie dynamo."

Recently Slim moved again to what is generally considered Ground Zero of the blues, Clarksdale, Mississippi.

His eleventh and latest release, Bull Goose Rooster, is the biggest, musically broadest album he has yet recorded, including blues, rock, jazz, a cappella gospel, folk, and the truck-driving country music that has become one of his calling cards. Many of Slim's songs began a cappella in his rig keeping him awake and entertained.

Bill "Watermelon Slim" Homans has built a remarkable reputation with his raw, impassioned intensity. HARP Magazine wrote "From sizzling slide guitar...to nitty-gritty harp blowing...to a gruff, resonating Okie twang, Slim delivers acutely personal workingman blues with both hands on the wheel of life...” Adding to it all, he is now making waves with the publication of Escape From the Chicken Coop, his first-person account of the days he spent driving a truck. 

Links:
Watermelon Slim Website
Video: Smokestack Lightning

To purchase concert tickets click the "Buy Tickets" link above. For additional information on programs at The Depot, phone 405 307-9320. For information on Jazz in June programs, visit www.jazzinjune.org

Winter Wind Concerts are a program of The Depot Performing Arts Studio made possible in part by grants from the Norman Arts Council, the Oklahoma Arts Council and by sponsors Tom McAuliffe of Don Cies Real Estate and Cindy Merrick of Therapy in Motion. Additional support comes from contributors Skye Diers, Gingerbread Nursery School and Tom & Mary Cay Woodfin; Friends include Nancy McClellan; Danna Primm; and The Grider Family. In-kind support comes from the City of Norman, The Montford Inn and Norman Music Institute.

Jazz in June is supported, in major part, by grants and donations from: Festival Underwriters – Oklahoma Arts Council, The Chickasaw Nation, Norman Arts Council; Festival Funders – The Friends of Jazz in June, Brookhaven Village, Republic Bank & Trust; Major Funders – Kirkpatrick Family Fund, Arnall Family Foundation, KGOU Public Radio, MidFirst Bank, Allied Arts, Embassy Suites of Norman and Chuck & Gina Thompson.

Eliza Gilkyson buy ticketsWinter Wind again welcomes two-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Eliza Gilkyson to The Depot, 200 S. Jones, for a concert on February 14 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $20. Advance ticket purchase is highly recommended.

One of the most respected musicians in the Folk, Roots and Americana circles, Eliza's music has always offered a vivid reflection of the times we live in. Full of joys and sorrows, each song is a window into a life of struggle and triumph in a world she feels is “poised on the edge of moral, economic and environmental bankruptcy.” On stage, Eliza presents a vibrant mix of laugh-til-youcry storytelling, political diatribe and love songs ranging from the global to the most intimate.

A recent masterpiece in her career is Eliza's 2014 Red House Records release The Nocturne Diaries produced by her son Cisco Ryder. Earning a 2015 Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album, the album is a restless contemplative work inspired by the converging forces of her highest hopes and darkest fears. Of this album, All Music Guide says “Even the darkest moments here are warmed by a genuine compassion for the lost souls who sometimes populate her stories, and a very real concern for the world we all live in is woven through every tune… Whether she looks into darkness or light, Eliza Gilkyson’s vision is impressive, and she’s given us another remarkable glimpse at her gifts as a vocalist and songwriter...”

Eliza entered the music world as a teenager recording demos for her father. Since then she has released 20 recordings of her own. She has appeared on NPR, Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage, etown, XM Radio, Air America Radio, and has toured worldwide as a solo artist. Her songs have been covered by Joan Baez, Bob Geldof, Tom Rush and Rosanne Cash and have appeared in films, PBS specials and on prime-time TV. A member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame, she has won countless Folk Alliance and Austin Music awards, including 2014’s Songwriter of the Year. Eliza's 2004 Red House Records CD, Land of Milk and Honey, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

The Austin Chronicle, having given Eliza numerous music awards over the years, says “Eliza Gilkyson is making folk music for the 21st Century, and it's a delightful thing to hear.”

Links:
Artist Web Site
Video: Hard Times in Babylon
Video: Fast Freight

To purchase concert tickets click the "Buy Tickets" link above. For additional information on programs at The Depot, phone 405 307-9320.

Winter Wind Concerts are a program of The Depot Performing Arts Studio and made possible in part by grants from the Norman Arts Council, the Oklahoma Arts Council and by sponsors Tom McAuliffe of Don Cies Real Estate and Cindy Merrick of Therapy in Motion. Additional support comes from contributors Skye Diers, Gingerbread Nursery School and Tom & Mary Cay Woodfin; Friends include Nancy McClellan; Danna Primm; and The Grider Family. In-kind support comes from the City of Norman, The Montford Inn and Norman Music Institute.

Jazz and June and The Depot

The Depot and Jazz In June, Inc. pool their respective expertise in folk, jazz and roots music genres to expand the Winter Wind Concert series to include four concerts highlighting America’s rich musical traditions. This year’s jointly-produced shows offer audiences a fun-filled romp featuring The Sisters of Swing, the “antique pop” of Victor and Penny, Watermelon Slim with the blues, and the Justin Echols Quartet interpreting the ‘Great American Songbook’.

The Sisters of Swing kick off this new collaboration with a holiday-flavored showcase that harkens back to a harmonized singing style that features music arranged by members Mary Reynolds and Mary Freeh who are joined by Louise Goldberg, Elyse Angelo, Joanne Trombley, Christine Freeh and, Rosalind Cravens. The Sisters of Swing musical collective concentrate on giving their audience a fun time with numbers from the swing era, the rock and roll years, and ancient times. They perform Sunday, December 13th at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Victor & Penny lead their Loose Change Orchestra on a musical journey that reflects a hot jazz-meets-hokum, plus buoyant Tin Pan Alley era songs. With tight vocal harmonies, fearless feats of guitar daring, red-hot reeds and a fiery ukulele, the group brings a modern voice to original tunes and prohibition-era Jazz. This corset-tight quartet will make your heart pump and your feet jump! Celebrating a time when style mattered and class was king, Victor &Penny and their Loose Change Orchestra impress and delight with style, charm and hot licks -- they are, "...an absolute rollicking blast." Victor & Penny and the Loose Change Orchestra perform Sunday, January 10th at 7p.m. Tickets are $15.

Bill "Watermelon Slim" Homans is an Okie-expat who currently resides in Clarksdale, Mississippi where he continues to hone his blues harmonica and unique bottleneck slide guitar techniques. His lyrical style and voice are just as unique -- combining hints of red dirt and Mississippi delta inspiration. HARP Magazine described the multiple Blues Music Award winning former truck driver’s music as, “a workingman’s blues with both hands on the wheel of life, a bottle of hooch in his pocket, and the Bible on the passenger seat.” (EPK) Homans will offer a solo showcase Sunday, February 28th at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Justin Echols is championed (and rightly so) by none other than Wynton Marsalis for his smooth vocal interpretations of material from “The Great American Songbook.” Brought to the attention of Marsalis and then mentored by pianist Antonio Ciacca, director of programming at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Echols has since built an inspiring international resume, even while managing his dueling careers as Oklahoma City police officer by day and jazz musician by night (including as artist in residence at Hefner Grill.) Recently adding guitar to his powerful voice and amazing piano skills, Echols and his quartet will dazzle the audience, performing jazz standards at The Depot April 10th at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15.

The Depot, located in the historic Santa Fe Train Depot, produces Summer Breeze, Winter Wind and Whistle Stop Concerts, Gallery Exhibitions, Second Sunday Poetry Readings, and manages the rental of the Norman Depot for weddings, meetings, parties and other events. The Depot, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to creating and presenting excellent and innovative fine arts programming for the enrichment and education of the community.

Jazz In June Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and perpetuation of jazz and related musical forms. Jazz In June was founded in 1984 by the Norman Arts and Humanities Council and Cimarron Opera. The festival has since developed into a much-anticipated annual event, featuring three evenings of outdoor concerts, related artist clinics, public radio programs and public jazz and blues jam sessions attended by a total of some 50,000 people per year. Past performers include David Sanborn, Chuck Mangione, the Ellis Marsalis Quartet and Duke Ellington Small Band.

Winter Wind Concerts are a program of The Depot Performing Arts Studio made possible in part by grants from the Norman Arts Council, the Oklahoma Arts Council and by sponsors Tom McAuliffe of Don Cies Real Estate and Cindy Merrick of Therapy in Motion. Additional support comes from contributors Skye Diers, Gingerbread Nursery School and Tom & Mary Cay Woodfin; Friends include Nancy McClellan; Danna Primm; and The Grider Family. In-kind support comes from the City of Norman, The Montford Inn and Norman Music Institute.

Jazz in June is supported, in major part, by grants and donations from: Festival Underwriters – Oklahoma Arts Council, The Chickasaw Nation, Norman Arts Council; Festival Funders – The Friends of Jazz in June, Brookhaven Village, Republic Bank & Trust; Major Funders – Kirkpatrick Family Fund, Arnall Family Foundation, KGOU Public Radio, MidFirst Bank, Allied Arts, Embassy Suites of Norman and Chuck & Gina Thompson.

The Depot will soon move our concerts inside to the intimate setting of our Depot home at 200 S. Jones.  Winter Wind and Whistle Stop Concerts will follow close on the heels of Summer Breeze beginning in September and continuing into March.  The Concert Schedule is as follows: 

Sept. 9,  Whistle Stop Concert, The Honey Dewdrops, 7:00 pm, $15
Oct. 4, Winter Wind, Jimmy LaFave, 7:00 pm, $20
Oct. 25, Winter Wind, Rebecca Loebe, 7:00 pm, $15
Nov. 1, Whistle Stop Concert, Annie Oakley, 7:00 pm, $10
Nov. 8, Winter Wind, MilkDrive, 7:00 pm, $20
Nov. 10, Whistle Stop Concert, Heather Maloney, 7:00 pm, $15
Nov. 22, Winter Wind, Peter Bradley Adams, 7:00 pm, $20
Dec. 6, Winter Wind, Michael Fracasso, 7:00 pm, $20
Dec. 13, Winter Wind & Jazz in June, Sisters of Swing, 7:00 pm, $15
Dec. 20, Winter Wind, Claudia Schmidt, 7:00 pm, $20  (Member’s Choice)
Jan. 10, Winter Wind, Victor & Penny, 7:00 pm, $15
Jan 17, Winter Wind, Horseshoe Road, 7:00 pm, $20     
Jan 31, Winter Wind, Carrie Newcomer, 7:00 pm, $20
Feb. 14, Winter Wind, Eliza Gilkyson, 7:00 pm, $20
Feb. 28, Winter Wind & Jazz in June, Watermelon Slim, 7:00 pm, $20
Mar. 6, Winter Wind, Ellis Paul, 7:00 pm, $20
Apr. 10, Winter Wind & Jazz in June, Justin Echols, 7:00 pm, $15
May 1, Whistle Stop Concert, Griffin House, 7:00 pm, $15

The Depot accommodates audiences of 100, allowing a more personal interaction between audience and artist.  The concerts feature outstanding established artists, excellent sound and complimentary refreshments in a lovely, gallery setting.  

Tickets for individual concerts may be purchased on-line by visiting www.normandepot.org/events, by visiting The Depot at 200 S. Jones, or by phoning 405 307-9320.    

Concerts and other events at The Depot are made possible in part by grants from Norman Arts Council and Oklahoma Arts Council, and by generous donors and businesses in the community.