By Andrew W. Griffin
Posted: August 16, 2009
TECUMSEH, Okla. – “We’re here on the country side of Tecumseh,” said singer Brandon Clark of the Brandon Clark Band. “I haven’t been to Tecumseh since high school.”
And then the Tulsa-based Brandon Clark Band launched into their next song. And while it was mid-August in Oklahoma, the afternoon sun was shining and the temperature was tolerable as a light breeze blew through the surrounding countryside.
As the band cranked out their rockin’ “Oklahoma beer joint music” the small crowd smiled and bobbed their heads. And when we say “small,” the turnout was a lot smaller, considering the show was being held on a Saturday afternoon. Not only did the line-up feature the Brandon Clark Band but also the up-and-coming Turnpike Troubadours and headliners No Justice.
Meanwhile, Lance Faulkner looks nervous. As the owner and operator of Little River Music Valley, located in the bucolic outskirts of Tecumseh, he tells Red Dirt Report that just two weeks earlier, 500 people showed up for a show he held featuring Red Dirt originals Jason Boland and The Stragglers. But on a beautiful day, No Justice and the two opening acts are attracting far fewer numbers. Why?
Faulkner suspects that a concerted effort on the part of a local oil company to keep people from going to Little River Music Valley for no apparent reason is why more people aren’t streaming through the gate.
This online newspaper was first told of the situation via Brandy Reed, a Nashville promoter who represents No Justice. Reed has been very helpful in keeping RDR informed about news related to No Justice, a band that is among the most popular on the Texas/Red Dirt music scene.
Reed said she and the band were baffled by the campaign.
No Justice lead singer Steve Rice said in an email to Red Dirt Report that he was not sure why the disinformation campaign was being undertaken by local folks.
Faulkner said the same thing. And for the employees at Kwick Stop who were made aware of the truth, they were allegedly warned by their bosses at Modern Oil Company that they would be fired.
As previously reported here at Red Dirt Report and at The Norman Transcript, Faulkner explained that flyers were appearing in Kwick Stop convenience stores in Tecumseh which read “The concert at Little River on August 15th – Cancelled – We will reschedule later.” This was patently false, Faulkner said, and customers patronizing Kwick Stops were seeing these flyers and believing it to be true.
The people behind the disinformation effort “want to hurt the place so they won’t come back,” said a girl who saw the Kwick Stop flyer and almost did not come to the show to see No Justice, the band she was wanting to see.
The girl and her three friends were surprised that a local business would try to hurt Little River Music Valley’s business.
Others who were out there to enjoy music, time with friends and maybe a little beer and BBQ brisket, said they couldn’t believe it either.
“It’s not right,” said Butch Neil, of Shawnee. Neil was working the beer stand at Little River Music Valley and is friends with Faulkner.
Taking your Red Dirt Reporter on a tour of the adjacent Music 4 Life recording studios, Neil said his friend is only trying to offer a place in the country for people to hear good music.
“When Lance first told me about (the flyer campaign) I was like, ‘What?’” he said, noting that the flyers first appeared a few weeks ago.
Red Dirt Report placed a call late last week to Chance Sparkman, whose family owns Modern Oil Co., the business that owns the local Kwick Stop / Sinclair gas stations.
“It’s kind of childish,” Neil said of the situation, adding that local businesses should help, not hinder efforts to attract popular bands to the area.
When Faulkner was asked if he knew Sparkman or if there was any bad blood between them, Faulkner shakes his head. He doesn’t know Sparkman and simply referred to him as “a jerk.”
Chad Masters, drummer for Turnpike Troubadours (this was actually Masters’ last day as TT’s drummer. He was to be replaced by Mama Sweet drummer Giovanni Carnuccio, interestingly enough), said he heard about the situation through the band grapevine.
And regarding Mama Sweet, they and Seventies-styled retro band Superfreak were scheduled to play that night in Tecumseh and JT’s Cowtown USA. Could it simply be mere jealousy over the success of Little River Music Valley? Red Dirt Report attempted to contact JT Walker, owner of the club, and did not have any success.
If there are any new developments related to this story, Red Dirt Report will be sure to report on it.
Copyright 2009 West Marie Media