photo by Ryan Wisniewski (courtesy of Loves It)
Be still my heart, for that’s just good music you hear coming from the park!
Last Saturday, I was stressing because I had to work another 12 hour day, filming Fling At The Springs. It’s a one day music festival at Enid, Oklahoma’s Government Springs Park. I had never been to the festival and honestly had little energy for expectations.
There were LOTS of amazing performances, but I missed a few. I’M NOT A MACHINE!
As I stated, the first few acts were missed, as I was running around like a nursemaid on delivery day trying to check on a variety of things. What I can tell you is that the crowd was receptive and the few numbers I caught were great. The show began with Those Guyz, followed by Americana Deluxe. Scott Carson was next, with guests musicians, Rick Reilly and Nick Gedra.
I was directing for the fourth band, The Imposters. I finally got to sit down and see my performance. Lead vocalist, Tom Gruber, is a showman. He reminded me of the best moments of The Beach Boys, in his confidence and fun attitude. I think I smiled through the entire set. They functioned like a machine (which I repeat, I am not).
Then came Jacob Tovar and friends…well, minus “and friends.” Something happened and his group effort turned into a single man affair. You won’t hear me complaining, though. I’m not ashamed to say it. I love this man’s vocals. They put me back to years of early country, with plenty of power! His clear and solid sound hooked me and his guitar skills showed experience. In between songs, he gave me everything I wanted in that genre; good anecdotes, sincerity, and humor. I don’t know what his missing “friends” were going to contribute, but I was more than satisfied with him up there going commando…no…wait…What’s that phrase?…Going solo! That’s what I meant. Easily one of my favorites of the night, especially because he performed a meaningful song for me and one of my favorites, Roly Poly (a song that I listened to after my overweight dog died.)
Next up? Loves It from Austin, Texas. A remarkable and dynamic duo with an era-bending look that, along with their tunes, mesmerized me. Vaughn Walters, looking every bit the 60’s hippie, and Jenny Parrot, emulating sort of a classy modern pin-up girl, took the stage with a polished set. Their sound lightly reminded me of The Lumineers, but with better vocals. They managed to create an intimacy, much like Jacob Tovar, but then turned around and made you feel like they were playing for thousands. Instant fan, right here! The “love song” they performed was a particular shining novelty. Loves It? Why, yes…yes, I do.
If you’re from Enid, the next group as individuals are no strangers to the local music scene. Dave Roberts, Billy Thompson, and Steven Harwood make up the jazz group Harwood, Roberts, and Thompson…Hmmm…Clever. Seriously, Harwood and Thompson are showcase musicians. I’ve performed with Harwood before and the man cocoons himself in his own playing. Thompson is a ferocious and experienced drummer, which shows. And though I don’t know Roberts, he seemed as “at home” as Roo was in Kanga (Yeah, I made a “Pooh” reference. What of it?) His vocals tied everything together. They did a set of familiar favorites, which turned my boss into a giddy groupie. Smart, they chose songs that allowed each of them to show what they’ve got. No disappointment here!
(Harwood, Roberts, and Thompson perform at 2013 Fling At the Springs 2013)
photo courtesy of Jim Nay
Finally, Suede Panther, brought up the rear. A Stillwater-based band, Suede Panther had that sound that made me fall for college bands. It had been a long day and frankly, I was ready to back up my legs and float home. If I had to stay behind that camera, I’m thankful the end was as good as the rest of it. Lead singer, Christopher Hoffmeier, has that front man sex appeal. It was a “Let’s enjoy this and to hell with everything else” invocation that I appreciated. I like a little pretty with my dirty in rock, and that was his vocals. Creative songs (I’m a big lyric man…give me creative lyrics and I’m yours), a passionate drummer, Eric Hoffman (as they should be in a band like this), and a solid bass and vocals man, Martin Henry…
They put the cork back on the empty bottle, so to speak. There was nothing left. I kick myself for not attending Fling at the Springs before, but I can assure you that if next year’s line-up is as good…I’ll be there with my lighter, money for CD’s, and enough volunteers to wear I can sit on my rump and enjoy (that’s my second “butt” reference).
You can catch performances from this year’s Fling at the Springs on Pegasys Channel 11 and/or 12 soon!