STILLWATER, Okla. - The distinctive sounds of red dirt music now have a new home on the internet.RedDirtNation.com is a new way for fans of this music to find new sounds and connect with their favorite bands.
Some will tell you that red dirt is more a state of mind or lifestyle than a music genre. But in regards to the music, anyone with ears can agree that the sound bridges country and rock while placing an emphasis on quality songwriting.
Music industry authorities may typically label these sounds as Americana, alt-country, folk or southern rock. Texans also often cite their own musical heritage with a name of ‘Outlaw Country.’ However by the time that term came into use, Oklahoma performers were already using the phrase red dirt in a musical sense as well. So Oklahoma red dirt has always had some independent history from the Texas bloodline. Clearly, though, the Texas and Oklahoma sounds have become commingled.
Red Dirt Nation is set up to cover the influence of this sound throughout Oklahoma and Texas, across the country and around the world.
Jeremy Scott, Red Dirt Nation’s administrator and videographer, tells me, “Red dirt continues to grow with a new generation carrying the torch; Texas has certainly picked up on what started in Stillwater and I'm seeing bands on the east coast touring Oklahoma and Texas to be a part of what is happening in this area. There have been a few European artists that have come to Oklahoma to soak up the red dirt sound first hand."
Scott also revealed, “We have been working very behind-the-scenes for over a year now making connections, collecting material, shooting videos and recording from Austin to Dallas and Oklahoma City to Stillwater, Tulsa and more. If it seems like a long time since we started talking about Red Dirt Nation as a website, but anything worth doing is worth doing right.”
“We've used that time to shoot more video, establish relationships with a number of bands and further define what we what the website to look like. We've made good use of that extra time,” explained Scott
Even though the website is just launching, Scott told Currentland that he and has RDN crew have recorded several bands (a few on multiple occasions), including Mike & The Moonpies, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, Red Dirt Rangers, Cody Canada, John Fullbright, Brandon Jenkins and American Aquarium to name a few, and that musician response typically resembles, “I'm glad someone is finally doing something like this - what can we do to help?”
But coverage isn’t limited to a specific roster or clique. “We are looking at hundreds of bands from around the country to add to Red Dirt Nation’s list of offerings; we just want them all to be genuine,” Scott said.
Providing the lion’s share of written content for Red Dirt Nation’s website is Chris Brownsberger, who contributed the chapter on red dirt music to the Another Hot Oklahoma Night book published by the (Oklahoma) state historical society. Brownsberger views red dirt as a community of artists as much as it is a cohesive sound or genre.
“These artists share a lot of different influences, but the way they each combine them is unique. So the similarities in their sounds can be subtle. I love this music. I love these people. And so I want to share their personal stories as much as their music,” Brownsberger said.
Many musicians and red dirt fans may recognize the name of another person steering the new Red Dirt Nation, Chuck Dunlap. Chuck is perfectly suited for this role with Red Dirt Nation, because he is without dispute one of the original, pioneering red dirt singer/songwriters from the early Stillwater days. The late Bob Childers, who was himself considered to be the progenitor of red dirt, credited Dunlap’s songwriting with enticing him to Stillwater in 1972.
Absent from Oklahoma since, 1980 Dunlap recently returned from Washington state and has once again become a staple on the club circuit. You might also recognize Dunlap from having written the original song that would be adopted by the Red Dirt Rangers for the “Stand (And Let
Your Voice Be Heard)” video benefiting the Red Dirt Relief Fund. It’s an incredible video with an extensive who’s who list of Oklahoma musicians. Chuck’s technical skills and talent are perfectly suited for his role in phase two of the Red Dirt Nation plan: a Red Dirt Nation syndicated radio show!
More on the radio aspect will be announced at a later date. For now Red Dirt Nation is proud to be gathering all the great red dirt music out there under one cyber roof for your perusal. Prior to the official launch, dozens of videos Scott and the RDN crew captured have already been viewed thousands of times on YouTube and shared extensively on Facebook and Twitter. So look for @reddirtnation14 on social media, and be sure to check out the homepage often, www.reddirtnation.com.