Lawton native making music in Germany
A Lawton native is making beautiful music while living abroad. Randall Brown has spent the last 20 years in Europe and now calls Hamburg, Germany, his residence. But the hometown still holds magic in his heart.
"I return to Lawton periodically," Brown said, "which is always an inspiration and has a powerful motivational effect on me when ideas and experiences can be shared with the other musicians and artists here."
A return visit earlier this year led to collaboration with Andrew "Fyu-Chur" Jackson for a song and video filmed in the Wichita Mountains. Brown intends the production as a preview for an upcoming album on Future Roots Recordings: Randall Brown "Everyone Goes to Heaven" 2017https://youtu.be/6U5i9tE3jkM.
A proud fourth-generation Oklahoman, Brown works in Hamburg at a regional TV station, Norddeutsche Rundfunk, as an audio designer. He creates the soundtrack for diverse themes and culture reports covered in North Germany.
"While doing this work, I have gained more insight into how important and influential tradition can be," Brown said. "This has made me appreciate not only the historical aspects of Oklahoma but also its enormous potential. As the saying goes, 'It is hard to see the forest for the trees.'"
A music composer, producer and educator, Brown said he also performs extensively throughout the European Union, Africa and the Middle East. He founded his own record label in 2015 and collaborates with international publishers.
Comanche County is where he grew up. He caught his first catfish at Lake Ellsworth. He attended Central Junior High and Lawton High and said he has great memories of life at Fort Sill, where his father was a master sergeant. He followed the military path, enlisting in the Army's 101st Airborne Division. College in Maryland followed and, with that, his first round of gigs up and down the East Coast.
Following a return to Lawton where he worked for the Census Bureau "It was a good way to meet nice people" Brown said he went to London for three years and worked as a session and live musician. That included recording with Elvis Costello, among others.
Further studies in jazz and audio engineering led to settling in Germany. From that, he said, he provided technical work to recordings from Michael Jackson, Dire Straits and Tina Turner.
The draw of home keeps pulling at Brown. He created a documentary film, "Lord of the Plains," and said he donated its proceeds to the Comanche Nation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Now he has a notion for something cool to come in June 2018. Its details and location are undecided for now, he said.
"At present, I am in the pre-planning stage of a fundraiser in the form of a open air concert to benefit and contribute to Diabetes Awareness," Brown said. "Several local organizations have already dedicated their support."
Brown said he always has an ear out for new talent and has a focus on local musicians becoming a part of the event.
"I would also like to extend an opportunity for local talent to lend their support by joining the bandstand," Brown said. "They can contact me via email: 1randallbrowngmail.com."
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You don't get much cooler around here than Big Mike Griffin. That's why it's a treat to hear he's back in town for the weekend. The legendary guitarist said he is ready for the Third Annual Broken Spoke Reunion Show. The still-renowned band will be performing from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday, at the American Legion, South 11th Street and F Avenue.
"We just want everybody to come down," Griffin said. "We're going to play some old country music we played in the '70s and '80s and we're going to have a real good time."
Tickets are $12 at the door, but you can get early sale tickets for $10 from the American Legion post and Chrome Link, 2010 NW Floyd.
The talented Mr. Griffin said he's coming off a pretty good 2017. It's included lots of shows with Ted Nugent, as well as a feature spot at "one of the biggest bike rallies in the northeast."
"I couldn't be better," Griffin said. "This last year's been wonderful."
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In keeping with the "shop local" push for this weekend's post-Thanksgiving shopping surge, an annual event that puts the focus on local artists, crafters and other assorted independent entrepreneurs will return Friday night.
The Acoustic Yardsale Black Friday at the Railhead will kick off at 8 p.m. at the 21-and-over club. Alternative artists and creatively crafty artisans will have some one-of-a-kind wares available for sale. That's not to mention some great music wrangled by The Acoustic Yardsale's Rafy and Mo. There's going to be a wide range of acoustic musical styles throughout the evening with a little bit of something for everybody.
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With a little bit of room to write this week, I wanted to share a really cool band I stumbled onto a couple of months back. Chicago's Russian Circles opened for Mastodon during a September concert in Oklahoma City and through sheer musical ambience (and volume, lots of volume), this trio blew my mind. It put power into the term "power trio." An instrumental band, its epic journeys into the stratosphere of supersonics became mesmerizing, feeding the eardrums as well as the third eye. Live, their enigmatic silhouettes provided bones to their music's marrow.
I still don't know how I didn't discover this band sooner. Formed in 2004, it put out a masterpiece in 2016 with its sixth studio album, "Guidance." Sans vocals, Russian Circles' music explores realms somewhere between Tool, Mastodon and Neurosis. I'm a sucker for doom/stoner/prog music that takes you into the uncharted. They offer some of the best.
Check out video of the live experience: nRussian Circles "Live at DunkFest 2016" https://youtu.be/qICEymUL0Vo.
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The Thanksgiving Day special one-hour edition "Mix Plate" of "Today's Best Soundemonium!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist featured some favorite performances from the archives of Studio Blanket/Tent Fort. With a full belly, the mind was equally filled from great offerings by Casey Abbe Band, "Don't Tread on Me"; Just Strangers, "Edward Cain"; Chance Ballard, "Don't Say Goodbye"; Ken Morrow, "Midnight Rider"; Cross County Revenue, "Gin, Smoke & Lies"; Robbie McMillan & Melvin Newton, "Firework"; Acoustic Lounge, "Little Lion Man"; Sunlander, "The Path"; Dave Laurence, "I Never Drink Before Ten"; Si'Yir Royale (a Fyu-Chur production), "Mad (You Mad or Nah)"; and Dirty Red & The Soul Shakers w/ SteveO, "I Shall Be Released."
I'm constantly reminded how thankful I am for the great musicians who've taken the time to talk, be it for the column or for the show, and who shared their stories and music with Southwest Oklahoma. I'm grateful to have help the opportunity to spread the faith, and I'm grateful to you for reading and listening.
Jokey McJokerson provided a real turkey for this week's joke setup. Here's the punchline:
"Because he already has drumsticks."
Turn your radio dial to Magic 95.3 FM Radio around 4:25 p.m. each Thursday or stream the half-hour show online: http://s1.phx.icastcenter.com/start/kmgz953/, on the Apple or Android apps or on the TuneIn app, or: http://www.kmgz.com/. Again, tune in Thanksgiving day at 4 p.m. to catch a special edition featuring some amazing performances by local acts.
Visit, "like" ("love") and follow our Facebook page ://www.facebook.com/steveoandthescribe/.The two-part video slideshow with audio from the first all-performance episode, along with the very first episode, are found in the "Video" folder.
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Bookmark the site and visit weekly for online features every Friday at swoknews.com to enjoy a full feature experience with a quick click on any of the video links to get a full experience at your fingertips. Bookmark the column's YouTube channel and visit the library of exclusive videos from the column's archive featuring some of the best past local (and visiting) talent that's graced Southwest Oklahoma's stages. More added often:
Soundemonium Musaic Lawton music archive homepage: Scott Rains https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPw__GedGPOUD-wROFcuZ8w.