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‘Sunlander' ready to headline the lineup at Railhead Saloon tonight

Three-quarters of Sunlander stopped by the MAGIC 95.3-FM studio for this week's "Today's Best Soundemonium Musaic ... for now!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve O, and myself. It was a good one. 

Readying for a show tonight with Shields and Buxshot and another April 8 with We Are Band Nerds, both at the legendary Railhead Saloon, 909 S. Sheridan, Sunlander is ready to fly closer than Icarus. The band members  Ryan McGowan, guitar/vocals; Bentley Smith, guitar/vocals; and Dustin Ray, drums  last made a dent in the local music scene in Grel with Seth Copeland handling vocal duties. He's off to grad school and, with bassist David Maynor, the guys have evolved into their next stage.

Bentley and McGowan brought guitars and Maynor brought the video camera to the studio for an acoustic performance of "Creation." It was a great introduction to an ambitious musical project. But a true sense of their sound comes complete with an early listen to the track "Collide" from their upcoming album. Epic and explorative, it's a good indicator they're ambitious with their ideas and capable of pulling out the stops to make it happen.

First appearing on the local scene as battle of the bands champion Deadweight, they carried the classic rock torch into modernity. Transforming next into the mighty Grel, they wrapped their original offerings with psychedelic wonder and explored some original space. Sunlander is something altogether different. Influences include Baroness, Mastodon, The Devin Townsend Project and others, and early listening of work from the studio proves they're onto something special. McGowan offered "the cheesy sell." Nachos are cheesy  but transcendentally good as well.

"The music is a mix of progressive rock and metal with psychedelic undertones," McGowan said. "It's a more modern sound than Grel that features double guitar leads, odd time signatures that you can still move to, driving bass, vocals that go from soft to searing, and huge drums that demand to be heard."

The gents in Sunlander are pretty creative with their inspiration for song and storytelling. They've been working on a debut album and, although there's no release date set yet, McGowan said to expect samples  including a snippet heard on Thursday's radio show  coming soon. McGowan is the chief lyricist and joins Bentley in creating most of the song structures.

"We are recording an album using our experiences in Grel to deliver a story that combines Greek and Roman mythology with comic and space themes," McGowan said. The album concept is influenced by Arthur C. Clarke's "2001" and concerns the concept of culture attempting to define itself retroactively through science and myth.

If you want to support the band and can't wait to contribute by buying an album, you can get T-shirts now. Black shirts with the band logo are $15 and, once the album is released, album art shirts will be available for $20. You know it's official when the T-shirts are ready to go. But you have to go to a show to get yours. 

"Both should be fun shows," McGowan said. "If you don't come, you can't buy a shirt."

Keep up with the band at its Facebook page:

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Good things are going on this weekend as Parkstomp kicks off the outdoor music season in the hippie haven out by the Wichita Mountains. 

Along with the great music going on at the Main Stage and Park Tavern  including Just Strangers' kickoff at 7 from that stage  don't neglect to stop across from Bath Lake at the Gone Fishin' Beer, Bait & BBQ stage. About 6 p.m. today, Big Pete Piehnik will be inaugurating festivities on the shady side of the street and you can bet there will be cold beer and good food available to complement the classic tunes wherever you imbibe your listening pleasures. 

I'll be moseying that way over the weekend, so look to next week's column for photos and video.

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St. Paddy's parties are sprouting up throughout the land for today's celebration of all things Irish  or at least the parts involving alcohol. And nothing says celebration like live music.

Over at Rooster's Rock and Roll Club, 1310 NW 47th, DuPree will be taking the stage at 9 p.m. There's no cover and it's 21 and up to get in. Lawton mainstays DuPree is always a good live show featuring some great sounds of rock, jazz and the blues with a good bit of funk.

The Apache Casino Hotel, 2315 E. Gore, will have The Midas 13 Band from Oklahoma City to soundtrack the lights and excitement inside the den of high rollers. It takes the stage around 9 p.m. tonight.

If you're out Lake Lawtonka direction (and running a day late), you might want to head out to the Bullpen, 11822 NW McClung Road, around 9 p.m. Saturday. The reason is you'll be treated to an acoustic show with Cade Roth & The Black Sheep for the (late) St. Paddy's Day party. No bull and no cover out at the Bullpen. If you can't wait and are up for a road trip tonight, Roth & The Black Sheep are playing in Duncan at Drillers' St. Paddy's Day party starting at 9 p.m. at the club, 1051 N. U.S. 81.

Allen Biffle & Drew Sloan will perform an acoustic show for holiday at 9:30 p.m. tonight at Company Men Bar & Lounge, 21 N. 7th in Duncan.

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If poetry is the music that makes your creative heart sing, but you like it a little different, the Percolator Coffeehouse Lounge, 605 SW E, is the venue for you.

Not Yo Mama's Alternative Art Presents Poetry Slam! Featuring Cameron Brewer will feature the headline poet/activist along with a host of poets and performers from the community. The open mic format will allow spoken word artists to drop original poetry, uncensored and raw, passionate and real before a hungry audience. The slam will be from 7-9 p.m. March 28. Sign-up begins at 6:45 p.m.

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As a treat last weekend, I took the opportunity to re-watch one of the great movies  let alone music movies  and fall in love for the first time again. One of the first movies that impacted me and shaped my love for a wide range of music stems from discovering this movie as a 7-year-old. They had me at "hello" with an opening like this: "This film should be played loud!"

Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz" focuses on the final concert by The Band, one of the great musical units of all time. The film features what could arguably be the greatest American music concert of all time. Filmed on Thanksgiving 1976 at the legendary Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, The Band was joined by a veritable "who's who" of special guests, including Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Neil Diamond, Bobby Charles, The Staple Singers and Eric Clapton. Each performer seamlessly blended with this definitive backing band. Although it adeptly could meld into whatever style a song needed, it was a rock band and it was awesome.

The pinnacle of performance and essence: • The Band  "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down"

Remembering The Band provided the music to so many artists and styles is proved time and again through the performances. Fearless in exploring the realms of music, they stood on stage with Dylan when he went electric and took the modern era into his style palette. There are few rarer moments than the concert's final performance featuring a choir of the apex of 20th century rock royalty: • The Band  "I Shall Be Released"

Watching the movie with my friend for our hundredth time and my daughter for her first, it proved as emotionally moving to me as a lover of song and verse as it did as a kid for the first time. And it did for her, too. That's how you can tell it's a classic. If you were on the ball, you might have caught it Thursday night on PBS. If not, treat yourself and visit  or revisit  "The Last Waltz."

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The boys from Sunlander kicked things up a notch with this week's edition of "Today's Best Soundemonium ... for now!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and yours truly. Along with an acoustic version of their song "Creation," discussion turned to space and zombies, as well as wishes of "Happy 17th Birthday" to the columnist's daughter, Chloe Rains. 

Jokey McJokerson offered the setup for a joke. Here's the punch line. Enjoy:

"Seven is a known six offender."

Turn the radio to Magic 95.3 FM Radio a little earlier from now on to around 4:30 p.m. each Thursday or stream the show online:, on the Apple or Android apps or on the TuneIn app, or: The show is expanding to two segments to fill most of the half-hour.

Visit, "like" and follow our Facebook page. The inaugural episode podcast (with "enhanced features") has been posted and more are on the way:

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Take advantage of the column's easy access features every Friday at and click on any of the video links. Visit the column's YouTube channel and check out the exclusive videos from the column's video archive featuring some of the best past local (and visiting) talent that's graced Southwest Oklahoma's stages:

Soundemonium Musaic Lawton music archive homepage: Scott Rains

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