Oklahoma music

Christian Kelly Large

Oklahoma’s 2018 tornado season has been fairly quiet when compared to years past, especially in 2013, when multiple large twisters permanently altered lives and landscapes during the month of May in the central part of our state

One of those storms, the gigantic El Reno tornado on May 31, 2013, was the widest ever recorded—2.6 miles—and its unpredictability stunned even the experts, claiming the lives of four seasoned storm chasers, as well as 17 others.

Every month, NPR Music asks public radio personalities around this country to name a new favorite song and, this month, KOSU featured Oklahoma City musician Blaze McKenzie.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

The two most-nominated shows at this year's Tony Awards might sound familiar, even to those who don't keep an eye on Broadway: Mean Girls, based on the 2004 movie, and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical, based on the long-running animated TV show, each earned a dozen nominations.

MORGAN NOELLE SMITH / NPR

When you hear John Moreland's sweet voice, it's hard to believe he spent years singing in punk, metal-core and hardcore bands. You can still hear that passion in his music, only now it's punctuated by his acoustic guitar.

The most heart-wrenching country songs employ metaphor like a splash of cold water. They wake you up with a shock; blinking, you see the world just a little bit differently.

The Peabody Essex Museum has a new exhibit of T.C. Cannon’s paintings. As part of the exhibit, they commissioned musician Samantha Crain to write and perform a song inspired by Cannon’s mural, “Epochs in Plains History: Mother Earth, Father Sun, the Children Themselves.” The painting is dramatic and also physically large at 22-feet in length.

Tellingly, it only took Crain an hour to compose her song, "The One Who Stands In The Sun," which she performed live in the PRI studios.

Pooneh Ghana/Courtesy of the artist

In the middle of every March, the SXSW Music Festival fills Austin, Texas, with thousands of musicians from around the world. It's a marathon so daunting — it's a marathon and a sprint, really — that even longtime SXSW veterans need a hand winnowing the festival's countless discoveries down to digestible doses.

That's where The Austin 100 comes in. Handpicked from thousands of bands playing at this year's festival, these 100 songs highlight the best SXSW 2018 has to offer — songs from around the world, across a broad spectrum of genres, sounds and styles.

ALICE FINNERA / COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Skating Polly's music has skittered back and forth along the genre spectrum between alt-rock and what it calls "ugly pop." The band's lead single for The Make It All Show, "Queen for a Day," skews towards rock as it drips with punk sensibilities: from Kelli Mayo's snarling vocal performance to the simple and stripped down verses leading into the thrashing of guitars on the chorus.

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