There is much excitement brewing here at Wacky Productions. Thanks to my friends at the Kickapoo Casino in McLoud, Oklahoma, I will be part of the Native Warriors Society Benefit Concert on Saturday, May 21st at the historic Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Cain’s Ballroom has been a gathering place for Native folks since they opened. My Aunt Sue Alford has stories of going there for swing concerts — and my Uncle Gene Alford had many a good time there. Even my Mom, Ruth has stories of seeing Bob Wills perform live there.
My first visit to Cain’s was with my sister Gay to see our Hillbilly Heroes, BR5-49. It was one rockin’ country show — and it was so cool to enjoy the wooden, “sprung” floor. Those springs made for some wild dancing, I tell you what!
Gay and I made a long drive to Tulsa twice to see BR5-49. The group was just THAT good. If you’ve never had a chance to hear their music, look them up on ITunes or wherever fine music is sold. They had a tremendous, positive energy and Gay and I smiled so much our faces hurt afterwards! BR5-49 also invited some of the best rockabilly/alt-country groups in the area to perform on the same bill with them. We’ll never forget Brian Lee Parsons doing a country version of Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Lips Like Sugar.”
Knowing that Cain’s had such a historic vibe and importance to my family, I let my cousin Janene Alford know that it was a goal to someday perform on the stage at Cain’s.
Flash forward years later — and Janene and a group of dedicated volunteers have formed the Native Warriors Society. They gather donations, purchase supplies and ship monthly care packages to Native soldiers stationed overseas. As you know, we still have many of our people stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Janene has told me it really means a lot to the Native troops that they know WE remember them. Every month, NAWS ships items we take for granted (magazines, gum, toothpaste, etc.) in individual boxes to these tireless soldiers. They are still taking names and address of Native soldiers overseas — so if you know of a Native service person who should be on the list, contact NAWS directly.
NAWS has had several successful benefits in the past, including a pool and golf tournaments — but booking Cain’s Ballroom and hosting a music festival has been on their list for a long time. Thanks to the efforts of many people and the financial support of folks like the Osage Nation’s Million Dollar Elm Casino — the “Red, White and G.I. Blues” Music Festival is on.
I’m going onstage probably around 5-6pm. The music will start around 2:00pm and go to midnight. The line-up looks great — and I’m sure there will be lots of Native friends and family there. Take a look at the flyer and pass the word! Hope to see a bunch of you there!