Multiple Oklahoma artists played the ISIS Music Hall stage in Asheville Friday night – 10/25/2019
Oklahoma is home to red dirt music and while the tag falls in line with other genres, in terms of attempting to label musicians and their particular sound, it’s also a representation of independent artists making music the way they want to make it. Instead of performing songs simply for a paycheck and the sole enjoyment of others, these individuals and bands entertain by telling stories their own way with each set seemingly benefiting both the performer and audience – a catharsis in a setting rarely replicated by those considered to be “main stream” performers.
Last Friday night at ISIS Music Hall in Asheville, ‘The Tulsa Revue’ featuring John Fullbright, Jacob Tovar, Paul Benjaman and Jesse Aycock was a perfect example of the musical hotbed that is the “Sooner State”. Four extremely talented musicians who each have their own solo projects, deciding to join forces and take their combined skills on the road with the end result creating a perfect musical conglomerate.
Opening with a brief introduction by Fullbright, who jokingly discussed how all the group members were friends wanting to, “put their friendship to the test”. The solution was to pack all of their gear and necessities into the smallest van available for a tour. With eight stops across five states in less than a month, to whoever decided these guys should play together outside of Oklahoma – we salute you.
Tovar, who was featured for his set at Medicine Stone earlier this year, opened the show with his unique honky-tonk sound. Utilizing clever lyrics with sensational style, it was immediately apparent everyone in attendance was in for a treat with Benjaman on lead guitar, Fullbright playing keys, Aycock’s lap steel and a quality rhythm section (bass, drum kit) to back them up.
Benjaman was up next with Tovar exiting, taking his turn to shine in the spotlight. Sharing a few songs of his own, the combination seemingly flourished as the night unfolded. In sharp contrast to Tovar, his tone was more low key and groovy, displaying the versatility of each performer.
Fullbright concluded the show with a few solo songs and group performances. Able to command the focus of an audience with his songs, there were multiple moments during his set where the crowd was seemingly hanging on every word or simply amazed at his musical talent.
Closing out with Tovar and everyone else rejoining Fullbright on stage, the group concluded the evening with a hearty rendition of ‘Saved‘, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and performed by a variety of artists including Elvis Presley and The Band.
It’s a safe bet that while not everyone in attendance may have known each of the group’s members before the night began – Fullbright, Tovar, Benjaman and Aycock each earned some new fans by turning Asheville – known for its own vibrant music scene – into Tulsa for one extremely special night.