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Big Pete will entertain at Blues Ball

With tonight's kick off to the Medicine Park Blues Ball it doesn't hurt to have the real deal around to give it the right push.

Big Pete Piehnik stopped in Studio Blanket/Tent Fort as this year's local ambassador of blues to help celebrate this weekend's end of summer event and the soul of its music with the DJ Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist for the latest edition of Today's Best Soundemonium! It's always a treat to spend time with the big man.

If you tuned in, you got a little preview of what's in store when Piehnik brings Big Pete's Blues Revue to the main stage for the 2 p.m. set Saturday. Stripped down to guitar, harmonica and two voices, Piehnik and Carr spared nothing with "Hold On, I'm Comin'." With Piehnik in studio, anything may follow. Performances of the rare James Cotton classic "Fanny Mae," and Louis Armstrongs' "St. James Infirmiry" were bluer than denim. A favorite was his performance of "Tomorrow's Tomorrow Again," written by local singer/songwriter Hobie Lassiter. Piehnik has plans on putting that song out on an album he's working on. It's a perfect fit for his world-worn voice  both are weathered yet optimistic at the same time.

When a pair of musical masters get together and decide they're going to do a song they hadn't done together before ... or at least much before, it can be magic. It lit up the inside of Studio Blanket/Tent Fort. This video contains raw audio so it's not as clean as the finished product, but magic is the moment: nBig Pete Piehnik & Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O  (picking up) "Lay Down Sally"

Piehnik said the blues are just a part of him. Maybe it's the celebration in the face of misery found in its music. He said he was attracted to its musical simplicity and the ability to fill in between the chords to insert personality. He joked about the reason the blues is his perfect fit  "Maybe because I'm just a happy guy ... no!" If he's not happy, he is a joy to be around. That probably stems from his first instrument picked up as a child.

"I learned to play 'Am I Blue' (Billie Holliday's classic) on the ukulele at the age of 5  all seven chords to it," Piehnik said. "I was 15 before I ever touched a six-string."

Self-taught on the guitar, Piehnik's percussive style of play and ear for song structure has helped him grow into an encyclopedia of songs ready for performance at the drop of a hat  a good place where you can leave a tip. As a solo performer, you'll see him every Saturday (except this one) on the deck of the Riverside Cafe in Medicine Park  "That's my home," he said. He also performs weekly down in Altus at Val's and a real good bet is you'll find him playing out at Robinson's Landing Marina & BBQ on the north side of Lake Lawtonka. If he's not jammin' there, you might catch him picking out back of his nearby actual home.

But it's his musical home the first and third Thursday's of each month at Mi Familia Mexican Restaurant where, from 6 to 9 p.m., he's the ringleader for one of the coolest gatherings of local talent (this side of the column's radio show). He's effusive with praise for the many musicians who've shared their voices and songs.

"That open mic is something," he said. "I think there's a lot of real good local talent."

Piehnik said from those open mics, he's found a chemistry with keyboardist Pete Macias that may make sweet music. They're planning on adding a couple of horns and performing Sept. 15 at Medicine Park Tavern. Hopes are that more will follow.

But Saturday is going to be something special when Big Pete's Blues Revue takes the stage. Hearkening back to the days with the SOBs, Piehnik is enlisting a brass section  Fort Sill's 77th Army Band's Jeremiah Phillips, trumpet, and Joe Mobley, trombone; as well as a core part of Smilin' Bob English Band  Bob Avila, guitar; Joey Click, bass; and Bobby Avila, drums. Although their first full-practice came Tuesday night, with the material and players' skills, it's all going to work out fine.

"I've got a good band together, really good band," Piehnik said. "We've got brass and Bob Avila on guitar  of course we're going to start with some R&B. Bobby Avila's like a clock on the drums. It's great to have a whole stage full of musicians who's better than you."

Performing for "my third or fourth time" at the annual Blues Ball, Piehnik said this one's going to be pretty special. Even with the late drop out due to illness by Miss Blues (Doroty Ellis), he said local folks like Dirty Red & The Soul Shakers and Blueprint are going to do things right.

"We've got a lot of good local acts and some really good bands coming in," Piehnik said.

Schedule: nFriday  7 p.m., Roland Bowling; 8:30 p.m., The Cakeaters; 10:30 p.m., CHANT.

nSaturday  2 p.m., Big Pete's Blues Revue; 4 p.m., Cecil Grey Native Blues; 6 p.m., Dirty Red & The Soul Shakers; 8 p.m., Sweet Brenda & Sour Mash; 10 p.m., Hadden Sayers.

nSunday  2 p.m., Blueprint; 4 p.m., Matthew Scott Band; 6 p.m., Tyler Lee Band; 8 p.m., Big G; and 10 p.m., Li'l Ed & The Blues Imperials.

Piehnik said one thing's for sure with the Blues Ball, the sound will be impeccable.

"Jim McLinden has really got the sound system going good," Piehnik said. 

So, get out to Medicine Park this weekend and make your Labor Day weekend one worthwhile with some great music in an ideal location. The columnist will be out there and report back next week with some cool photos and video. 

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If the blues are a little too blue, you might want your music more from the chrome-plated metal mode. If that's the case, head out to the Railhead Saloon, 909 S. Sheridan, for a special Friday night show featuring Seviin and headliners Rear Naked Choke. Music kicks off after 10 p.m. and there's no cover for the 21-and-old venue. 

Rear Naked Choke were formed in 2009 in Abilene, Texas. In the ensuing nine years, the band has been developing its groove heavy sound modeled from the sonic vocabulary of Metallica, Clutch, Pantera and Down. From paying their dues on the local scene, they've toured and shared with national and regional acts like Nothing More, Saliva, Tantric, Texas Hippie Coalition and more. Now they're touring behind their self-titled debut album, produced by Drowning Pool's C.J. Pierce. 

The show is a sort of homecoming for singer Mick Taylor. Born in Bowie, Texas, he cut his teeth in Lawton's scene before returning to Texas. Several band experiences have led him to his new band home and a return to his old home for this weekend's show. 

Check out a live song from 2016: nRear Naked Choke  "Wardrum"

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In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Lamb of God has released an album of punk covers under their original name, Burn the Priest. "Legion: XX" features covers of songs from Cro-Mags, Bad Brains, Big Black, Melvins, Quicksand and more. This take on a Gibby Haynes/Ministry collaboration from the early 1990s is heavenly: nBurn the Priest  "Jesus Built My Hotrod"

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Big Pete's visit to Studio Blanket/Tent Fort for "Today's Best Soundemonium!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist, was the epitome of a musical good time. A "Tusker" from way back, you should ask him about his penchant for vintage elephant trick videos. I did not realize how much he loves elephants riding tiny bicycles.

Time's pretty much up but if you get something to us today, you still have a shot! If you've been a part of the radio show or who will be in the future, send us your best funny covers, originals and mash-ups for the LLOLAF End-Of-SummerSpecial Mix Tape. The show (or possibly first half) will air at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. You can record it yourself or, you need to come to the studio, either contact Steve Carr or the columnist via our Facebook page:; or email our email:

This is a number that would qualify: nWeen  "Ocean Man"

Jokey closed out the month of George Lucas with this week's joke "from a galaxy far, far away." Here's the punchline:

"At the second hand store."

Turn your radio dial to Magic 95.3 FM Radio around 6:25 p.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: 

And, hey, if you have a song you want us to check out, email us:

#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., Joshua Rodriguez and Pete Macias; 6:30 p.m., Big Pete Piehnik. 

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