There are numerous interpretations as to just exactly what Red Dirt Music is, but far fewer arguments as to where it originated…Stillwater, Oklahoma is the birthplace of Red Dirt Music. Now some say it sounds like a mixture of Western Swing, Bluegrass, Rock, Folk, Country, Blues, & Honky Tonk; while other simply state that it is a combination of Rock and Country that seamlessly merges the two. Whatever it is, we like it and these fellas got it. Just listening to the Red Dirt Rangers you can almost picture the small town farm house in Stillwater, affectionately referred to as simply, “The Farm”,  where in 1979, the Red Dirt movement came into being.

John Cooper, mandolinist-vocalist of the Rangers, “The Farm was as much an attitude as a physical structure. It allowed a setting where freedom rang and all things were possible. Out of this setting came the music.”

Since the later part of the 80’s, Brad Piccolo, Ben Han, and John Cooper have been gracing us with the sweet sounds of Red Dirt as the Red Dirt Rangers. They developed their love for the genre as they made their appearance at “The Farm” know every weekend. “We would keep on coming in, every weekend, and whoever was playing music at the time, we’d just chime in,” lead guitarist-vocalist Ben Han recollects. “Living-room jams became jams for beers, and then it was, ‘Hey, we’ve got something going on.’ We just proceeded with what we already had, called a couple of friends, and the next thing you know, we’re pickin’ and grinning.”

The group describes themselves as, “Psychedelic Cowboys”, and lists some of their influences as, “Beatles, Bob Childers, Bob Dylan, Bill Monroe, Bob Marley, Burrito Brothers, and many others that start with ‘B’.”

Eleven years ago, during the summer of 2004, the band had an extremely close call when a helicopter carrying all three members went down. Piccolo has said he attributes this almost tragic accident help them decide to go back to their Stillwater roots and the town itself. He goes on to say, “A lot of times, you’re just kind of rambling along, and it takes an epiphany like that, a defining moment, to let you know what your purpose is. Now, I just want to make good music and send a good feeling out there to people.”

The Red Dirt Rangers performed just last month on May 14th at The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame for the Red Dirt and Wine event. Look for this show and many more on the Oklahoma Music Shop, sponsored by The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and airing every Saturday at 11:30am in Oklahoma City on KSBI and in Tulsa on The CW at 3:30pm.

“As Bob Childers once said, “Kick back and enjoy the ride”…and most of all, keep on spreadin’ the dirt!” -John Wooley

 

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