It’s fitting to kick off the 2022 series of columns with the story of the Phoenix.

Ancient Greeks and Egyptians described the mythical bird as a magnificent creature symbolizing renewal and rebirth. Each one lived 500 years and only one lived at a time. Shortly before that final deadline, the Phoenix built a nest and set itself on fire, only to rise from the ashes in a new life, according to birdnote.org.

It’s a pretty fitting analogy for the band Fildio. As the encroaching pandemic began to make its mark in late-2020, the late-Cashroh reached its point where it was make or break. When singer/guitarist Kerry Hartman and his then-bandmates: Ben Ellis, bass/vocals; Clay Commings, lead guitar/vocals; and drummer Nathan Red Elk; parted ways at the proverbial fork-in-the-road, the core of the band knew they were still onto something. They wanted to carry on with a new name and a more focused direction.

Ellis said they determined they were going to embrace being a rock band. It’s fulfilling a need.

“There is a lot of great talent in the area but a serious shortage of people that want to write original straight up rock and roll,” he said. “We do and hopefully it finds its audience. If not, at least we are having a blast.”

Thus, in January 2021, the three assembled with lead vocalist and guitarist Tracy Lagerquist to form Fildio. They were playing gigs the next month. Ellis said the band only had two unbooked weekends in the year.

That’s how a fan base gets steadily built for this Southwest Oklahoma rock band. They’ve gained fans throughout the state as well as into Texas, Missouri and Arkansas.

Lagerquist said 2021 was “fast-evolving.” He’s still taking it all in.

“Being part of our band, Fildio, has been absolutely unbelievable,” he said. “In under 10 months, the band has performed over 50 live gigs and hit the studio recording our debut album along with a music video.”

All roads led to Branson, Mo., for the recording of their debut album, “F-1,” due for a February release. Recorded in October 2021 at Roller Pro Studios, in Branson, Southwest Oklahoma native and music legend Jimmy Jack Whitaker helped the band and producer come together to take the music to a new level, Ellis said.

Commings said the recording process was an eye-opening experience. Many lessons were learned, not just about recording but also about how to be a band.

“I believe we walked away from the experience as a more mature and better Fildio,” he said.

With a line-up of song styles ranging from “soft ballad” to “hard, butt-kicking rock,” Commings is proud to proclaim, “We got that.” He calls it a perfect snapshot of the band.

“Since us as a band and our influences and musical styles between the four of us vary so much, I like to think that the album reflects that.,” he said.

Red Elk was quick to note that studio owner/producer Greg Roller is the band’s “Yoda.” He called recording an awesome experience.

Always upbeat and, like many percussionists, off-beat, Red Elk called himself the luckiest drummer for getting to jam with his bandmates.

“Our goal is to jam, have good fun … touch your soul, make badass music and to show people that rock and roll is not dead in Southwest Oklahoma,” he said.

For Fildio, it’s a mutual respect society. Lagerquist said they are playing for the right reasons. It generates growth.

“The band grows every time we play and we play for the love of rock and roll,” he said.

The first single from “F-1” dropped on all online platforms on New Year’s Eve. It’s inspired by one of Southwest Oklahoma’s most important music mentors, Larry Chrisner and his love for his late-wife Denise. Titled “Larry’s Moon,” it carries the soul the keeper of the Drum House is known for: https://youtu.be/jrdijUMLV4E.

Visit the online edition of the column and click on this or any other link to go directly to the music.

I’ve listened to a pre-release of the collection and, without saying too much, it lives up to the ideals hoped by the band. It shows off where they are and offers plenty of room to envision where they’re growing.

You can visit the band’s official website: www.fildio.com or its Facebook page to keep up with what’s going on, upcoming shows and to purchase the album or single.

Ellis said this is the band he’s been looking to be a part of since first picking up an instrument. It’s a four-part, rock and roll family. No part is greater than the whole.

“We’re just a few guys that wanna play real rock and roll and have fun,” he said. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish with soulmates that have talent and the same goals without egos to interfere.”

From his home-base at Scratch Studios, Ray Bordelon has spent the past pandemic year working.

I mean, yeah, it’s his third album within four years so he’s always working on his music. But with his latest release, “It’s Starting To Rain,” he’s come a long way from 2018’s “The Bottom of the Pot.”

Bordelon said there’s something for all listeners, including two Cajun tunes to represent his Louisiana roots.

“Each song has its own identity, moment and meaning,” he said. “Lot of hours writing, recording, and producing the unique sound to each song.”

Bordelon said his collaborator on the two prior projects, Chris Bayne, deserves a lot of the credit for his instrumental and creative input. It’s a perfect partnership, he said.

“We both seem to have the same feel for songs I write,” he said. “But for sure, he adds icing on the cake. Most important, we enjoy the creative side, always amazed of the outcome, like, ‘Wow, where did that come from.’”

Bordelon calls his Louisiana-tinged country rock blend “jambalaya music.” It fits.

Lyrics are its backbone. Bordelon cited Ben Folds’ quote: “I let the music decide what the words are gonna be.”

“I have spent a lot of time and effort on the lyrics because I’m not that good at it,” he said. “For me, I enjoy creating a song of life experiences that can be expressed in 3 or 4 minutes.”

Bordelon said the stories behind the songs are “more moving than the music.” Ideally, he said there would be a video to accompany each of the 11 songs.

It’s a high-point, Bordelon said. That said, he’s already aiming upwards further with a single he’s working on called “Something’s Gotta Change.”

“I have to say it is my best work yet, and yet I say, because I’ve already finished a new tune for the next album,” he said. “And it sounds great.”

You can check out Bordelon’s collection of what he calls “good music dat’s good for you” on any online platform or visit: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/ray-bordelon/1345753959.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year’s Eve/New Year that included live music.

Gotta tip the hat to the Railhead Saloon for throwing out a banger to close out one year and kick-off another. From Drop Dead Dammit and their doom groove set to precision aggression with percussive soul from Desecration Conflict, 2021 went out better than how it lasted.

Check out Drop Dead Dammit’s killer original, ”Velvet Darkness”: https://youtu.be/8Op2o4bRiG4.

This year started right when a collection of Lawton’s heavy vocalists joined forces with Titan Metal for an epic moment with ”In the Blood.” It was a proper, one-of-a-kind kick-off to this new year.

Soundemonium Musaic Lawton music archive homepage: Scott Rains — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPw__GedGPOUD-wROFcuZ8w.

Along with being the columnist of Soundemonium Musaic, Scott Rains is also a police, fire, Native Affairs and roller derby reporter for The Lawton Constitution.

You can email him at: scott.rains@swoknews.com.