Life sends songwriter in new direction
When Dave Laurence stopped in Studio Blanket/Tent Fort for this week's edition of "Today's Best Soundemonium!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the scribe, he proved to be exactly who he portrays in his songwriting witty, sharp and tuned into the moment.
Though based in Oklahoma City, Laurence joked that he's "applying for dual citizenship with Lawton" because it's become a second home and a first love as a performer. Following the September release of his third studio album, "Right Here," he's been performing often. His new album contains nine songs, he said, that "aim for the funny bone, but hit the heart."
A native of Portland, Maine, Laurence began performing solo in New England during the late 1980s. It was his venue until his migration to Oklahoma in 1995. To follow were shows throughout Oklahoma and Texas in the late 1990s and early 2000s before "retiring" in 2003 "The muse disappeared. It was a very dark period of my life."
They say you should listen to your friends and family. At their urging, Laurence came out of retirement in 2012. Around then, he found his musical home locally. He released "Every Lonesome Road" that year, and in 2015 his second album, "Analog Soul." The single "It's Not About You" was released in 2016. The death of his father that same year spurred a new look at life and helped create the music for the new album. It took him in a new direction as a songwriter.
"It forced me to turn my focus from the window to the mirror," Laurence said. "I needed to take stock of my own situation, and several of the songs reflect that."
The single heard on Thursday's show, "Breathe Awhile" is evidence of a matured artist who's fire of youth still burns but is tempered by experience. Another song from his first album that will be showing up on a future show is "I Never Drink Before Ten." Check out the latest lyric video for another song from the new album: nDave Laurence "No Comment" https://youtu.be/JjiaKeUGvRQ.
Affairs of the heart aren't the inspiration they once were, Laurence said. His songwriting took a turn to the storytelling style of his younger days.
"I've had some unique experiences in my relationships," Laurence said. "They make for interesting stories, but they haven't sold a whole lot of records."
Laurence made a leap with recording process with "Right Here." His prior work was recorded in his 65-square-foot home studio on "budgets of near zero" and with him playing all instruments and filling the vocals. It's an approach he likes to call "maximizing minimalism." He said it came from tough lessons learned with his debut album.
"For the 'Every Lonesome Road' sessions, I had access to my friend and mentor Ray Rector's 24-track studio, and other musicians who wanted to play," Laurence said."I definitely underachieved on that project, but the learning experience was invaluable."
Creating his home studio followed Rector's passing in 2013. Laurence said he "invested in some home recording equipment, figured out some basics, and just kept plugging." He said that although the quality from a studio in Nashville or New York isn't within his capabilities from working from home, you may want to add "yet" to that sentence. With the great strides made in home recording technology, he said, the process is "the same as if learning a new instrument."
"You learn from your mistakes and strive to make each project better than the last one," Laurence said. "It works for me at this point in my career. I'm no longer out to set the world on fire. I just want to continue making music that others enjoy and can relate to."
You can relate to Laurence's music. In a live setting, he's a warm host as he introduces you into his musical universe. During the show his irreverence was on display. In conversation, he proposed the question: "What if Yoda had been my co-writer?" Good question. The result included lyrics like "Upstanding citizen I am, drink before ten I never do."
You can see for yourself from 4-9 p.m. Dec. 9 when he will present a Christmas show featuring other local artists at Outlaw Bar-B-Q, 23485 Oklahoma 49 en route to Medicine Park. Pester him for a Yoda-infused chorus or two and join with him maybe?
"Santa himself may make an appearance, and customers will be encouraged to join the musicians in singing Christmas carols," Laurence said.
Laurence said he would love to include as many local artists who want to participate. If you'd like to join the fun and spend time with a guy who's a pretty solid mentor, call Outlaw Bar-B-Q and talk with another supporter of new talent, Mike Cowing, 529-2227. Laurence said the idea is to make a five-hour show and to start it early so those who join in can leave for other gigs.
The singer/songwriter offered insight and support to burgeoning talent. He's been there.
"I see so many young musicians with the same fire and drive that I had 30 years ago, and some get discouraged because they don't have access to all the high-end toys," Laurence said. "To them I say, 'Let your passion be your guide. Do the best you can with what you have, and just get your music out there. If I can do this, anybody can!'"
Laurence is actively booking shows for spring and summer 2018, including plans for a short tour back to New England in September 2018. In its way, music is the best road back to his beginnings, he said.
"I haven't been home in 20 years," Laurence said. "It's time."
Always moving forward as a songwriter and musician, Laurence has already begun working on his next album, "Wanderlust," which will be produced by his old friend and former bandmate, Mark Minervino. The album is due in late 2018. The latest album "Right Here" is available from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and most major online retailers.
There are a lot of ways to keep up with Laurence and his music: his website, www.dave-laurence.com, and through social media: Facebook, facebook.com/davelaurencemusic; YouTube, www.youtube.com/DaveWritesSongs; Twitter, DaveWritesSongs; and Instagram, DaveWritesSongs.
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Lawton hip hop artist Takeez Meals found out the hard way that a dream gig opening can turn into a nightmare. Talented enough for the gig on his own merits, he was supposed to open for Jay Z, but he said some unscrupulous promoters turned a good deal bad.
Meals said he's not ready to sit down and talk about the experience he'll be on the column's radio show in early December to discuss that, as well as his blooming career. We'll delve into the experience in further detail with a future column as well. Until then, he asked that his statement posted to Facebook speak for itself:
"First and foremost I would like to start off by saying thank you to everyone in Lawton that has supported me. Unfortunately, I have been informed by RocNation's legal team that (the) other artist and myself have fallen victim to a scam that has led to litigation. RocNation legal counsel has stated that this promoter has been being sought after for sometime. As for all of the support that was shown in monetary form via Gofundme, those funds are being rounded up and in the process of being refunded and I ask for your patience. Although I did nothing wrong on my part and attempted to verify all legitimacy of this opportunity, I still fell victim. The love and support shown by the city of Lawton means the world to me, and tells me that you all have my back. I feel absolutely terrible and embarrassed that all of this has happened. My deepest apologies to you all; but please know your support and love has helped me a great deal and this ordeal will not stop me from moving forward in my career. Again thank you all."
I look forward to this young artists coming into the studio to share his story and, most importantly, his talent. He has a lot of that.
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Cade Roth & The Black Sheep made a splash during an evening set Saturday at the Inkin' Oklahoma Tattoo Convention. Following a suspension act and carnival sideshow, they had a tough act to follow. By set's end, they set the stage for the evening's Best in Show awards.
From original numbers like "Ghost" and "Small Town Blues" to their ferocious takes on classics ranging from Matchbox 20's "3 A.M.," The Black Crowes' "Hard To Handle," Young the Giant's "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" to a ferocious closing take on Sublime's "What I Got," these local legends in the making made a mark as indelible as any ink cast to skin last weekend. You can catch them at 10 p.m. Saturday night at Fubar Saloon, No. 4 W. Lee.
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Among the clowns and undead packing the Railhead Saloon Saturday night for this year's Halloween extravaganza, the return of a hometown boy marked a defining moment.
Oklahoma City's Aberrant Construct, featuring Lawton's Mychal Soto on guitar, performed a set filled with heavy firepower. It set a high bar for the premiere Deadcore cover band 151 and the heavy hitters in Desecration Conflict to clear in their following sets. In the end, none disappointed. Soto said it was a dream come true to return to his hometown and have a show like that.
"It was amazing and humbling and a reunion for me," Soto said. "It was great and can't wait to play again."
Aberrant Construct is priming for a big opening gig at Oklahoma City's Diamond Ballroom, 8001 S. Eastern. It'll be on the early end of the bill Dec. 12 with Whitechapel, Carnifex, Rings of Saturn, and Entheos. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $23. Contact band members by phone: 583-4023, 405-519-3957 or 405-658-7716; or email: aberrantconstructgmail.com.
Check out the sound of the band's live fury from a recent Oklahoma City show: nAberrant Construct "Monolith of Unearthly Devastation" https://youtu.be/vILLnLD3NZ4.
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Dave Laurence's visit to Studio Blanket/Tent Fort for this week's edition of "Today's Best Soundemonium!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist offered some great stories and music. Along with his musical performance on the show, another was recorded for the upcoming Thanksgiving "Mix Plate" stuffed with some of the coolest musical treats from the past few months. On top of that, Laurence offered some Christmas tracks for play during our special holiday shows.
Jokey McJokerson continued to stoke the Halloween spirit. Here's the doggedly ghoulish punchline:
"A hollow wienie."
Turn your radio dial to Magic 95.3 FM Radio around 4:30 p.m. each Thursday or stream the half-hour show online: http://s1.phx.icastcenter.com/start/kmgz953/, on the Apple or Android apps or on the TuneIn app, or: http://www.kmgz.com/.
Visit, "like" ("love") and follow our Facebook page //www.facebook.com/steveoandthescribe/.The two-part video slideshow with audio cial Nov. 23 Thanksgiving "Mix-Plate" show. We're looking to show-off some terrific performances from the studio for a (hopefully) extended show. Details to follow.
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