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’American Idol' contestant stops by

A few days before the beginning of her televised quest to become the next "American Idol," Apache's Rissa Watson stopped by Studio Blanket/Tent Fort for this week's "Today's Best Soundemonium!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist. The new season of the iconic show begins Sunday night and her first appearance airs Monday night. The 17-year-old singer/songwriter isn't allowed to say much about the show except about judge Lionel Richie: "He is just as beautiful in person."

Watson displayed her beauty of a voice by performing an outstanding original song written just a few weeks ago, "I Will Be Your Armor." She also added a couple of cool bonus tracks that will show up on a future Mix Tape edition.

Watson said the Tulsa audition, held on "a very cold and windy day" in September, was something else. When she finished her second round of singing, the gates opened and she was "numbstruck." "It didn't feel real, honestly," she said. "I didn't know I'd passed through (to the show) until the crowd started screaming." 

It's funny that Watson doesn't watch much TV, what with her readying to become a small-screen star. She has too many other irons in the fire  "I feel like I always need to be productive and moving forward."

Singing for her whole life, Watson began playing piano at 7. It was her guitar at 14 where everything developed. "Rob Swanda taught me the basics," she said, "and I sort of took off from there and developed my own style."

Style  Watson has that in spades. She cites her influences as Etta James and Sam Cook. "I like to think I'm an old soul," she said. She wrote her first song at 14 but said she didn't really get rolling until about a year ago. Of that first song, she still feels its power  "I love that song just as much as the day I wrote it." She said she has about 15 strong ones to choose from as she readies to one day record her debut album.

First comes the "American Idol" experience. The thrill of watching her journey should be something to behold. One of the few details she can tell is that a lot of friendships were forged. "It was a great experience with so much positivity," she said. "Honestly, some of my biggest competition became my closest friends."

Before you see her on TV Sunday night, give her another listen during the 6:30 p.m. installment of #Sundaymonium which will replay Thursday's show. Also, give Saturday's Constitution a look for a more in-depth profile by area reporter Josh Rouse. The young singer/songwriter could well be the next "American Idol" and just think, you heard/read her here first.

If you want to see her perform locally, you'll get your chance next Thursday. Last week, I was fortunate to get a preview of Watson's talent during Big Pete Piehnik's Open Mic Night sponsored by Magic 95.3 FM/Today's Best Soundemonium! at Mi Familia Mexican Restaurant, 111 W. Lee. It's a revamping of the popular musician's song swap and showcase held before at another venue, and Piehnik is doing a great job of coordinating the event to allow new and established performers to perform and learn with and from each other. Of course, with Piehnik the beloved bluesman is going to knock out the old favorites he makes his own before giving up the stage. "The only way to get rid of me up here is for more musicians," Piehnik said. 

They were ready. Watson dazzled with her original numbers that mixed perfectly with a soulful cover of "Can't Help Falling In Love With You." She has a natural ease as a performer and the chops as a guitarist that are hard to teach, and her voice is stellar.

Steven Wren performed a couple of originals as well as a robust wrangling of country staple "Wagon Wheel." Jack Smiley and Bob Avila took a star turn of taking on classic songs ranging from "Black Magic Woman" and "Ventura Highway" to "Rocket Man" and Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell." My partner in radio, Carr joined the pair for some dazzling harmonica breaks on Neil Young's "Heart of Gold." He also joined Piehnik for another highlight with harmonized vocals, harmonica and guitar of The Band's "Up On Cripple Creek."

The bi-weekly showcase is the first and third Thursday of the month. The next shot for burgeoning and established talent begins at 6 p.m. Thursday. 

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It'll be a few days after 4/20, but you can probably get high on music when Afroman's 40 Oz Tour featuring Rhymesick Entertainment comes to Lawton. In the words of Tommy Chong: "Oh wow, man!" 

The man behind the 2002 hit "Because I Got High" will be joined by Rhymesick Entertainment's Statik G, JRod the Problem, Smoke Signalz, Zipps McGee, Lawton's own Tony Reaper and more for the 21-and-older show. It begins at 7 p.m. April 24 at VFW Post 5263, 103 NE 20th. General admission tickets are $25. VIP packages have already sold out. At the door, tickets are $5 more. 

Nominated for a 2002 Grammy Award for the hit single, Afroman first built his career through distributing his music through concerts and through the file-sharing service Napster. In 2014, he remixed his stoner blend of blues and hip hop to highlight the usefulness of marijuana as part of the nationwide fight to legalize its sale. Check out the remixed version: nAfroman  "Because I Got High" (Positive Remix)

Navarro said the show came about following a conversation with VFW Quartermaster Jim Meeks. He had been working with Rhymesick Promotions, a booking agency based in Denver, for a couple months. The upcoming vote for the medical marijuana bill and its use to alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments for vets makes it a perfect pairing. 

"I had explained this to Jim and he had told me how he's been trying to help the VFW break into new ground to attract younger veterans for membership to the VFW as well as show support for SQ 788, the medical marijuana bill scheduled for a vote June 26," Navarro said. 

The show is sponsored by the VFW Post 5263, Rhymesick Promotions, JJs Pro Audio, Skunkez Head Shop and you can get your tickets through any of those companies or online:

Interested local acts should email their electronic press kits, Navarro said, and any local businesses interested in sponsoring should email

Promoting shows has been a boon for Navarro. Before Afroman's visit, Project Pat of Three 6 Mafia will be performing March 30 at The Zoo, 2006 W. Lee. Tickets available online, at the Zoo or at Skunkez Head Shop.

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A cool Nate Allen, of Destroy Nate Allen, will bring his new project, Good Saint Nathanael & Guests, for a Tuesday show at The Native Hippy, 2704 W. Gore. The free all-ages show begins at 7 p.m. Donations are suggested. The stop is part of the journey for its debut at SXSW in Austin, Texas. 

"Good Saint Nathanael shows are sonically quiet, emotionally very vulnerable, and in most ways, the opposite of our exuberant Destroy Nate Allen sets while still connecting very deeply with audiences," Allen said. 

Check out a song: nGood Saint Nathanael  "Concrete"

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Watson's visit to Studio Blanket/Tent Fort this week for "Today's Best Soundemonium!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist, was something special as we engaged in "Idol" chatter. I can't say it enough: This kid is going places!

Jokey McJokerson provided a meteorological set up for this week's joke. Here's the punchline:


Turn your radio dial to Magic 95.3 FM Radio around 9:25 a.m. each Thursday (if not much earlier) or stream the half-hour show online: or; or on the Apple or Android apps or on the TuneIn app, or: 

#Sundaymonium  Remember that every Sunday night you can listen to a rebroadcast of the prior week's show followed by this week's show: 6 p.m., Lily Sanchez; 6:30 p.m., Rissa Watson. 

Visit, "like" ("love") and follow our Facebook page: two-part video slideshow with audio from the first all-performance episode, along with the very first episode, are found in the "Video" folder.

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