Red Dirt Rangers

Red Dirt Rangers
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Sitting right in the middle of the country, with music from the rest of the USA swirling through it from all sides, Oklahoma has understandably been the source of several influential pop-music movements. Invariably, those styles can be traced not just to a city, but to a specific place within that city, as well as to an act that sums up what it’s all about.

You can begin in the 1920s with the Oklahoma City Blue Devils, who’d become a huge force in the creation of Kansas City jazz, coming out of the downtown OKC area known as Deep Deuce. Not long afterwards, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys popularized the music now known as western swing from the Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa; several decades later that same town’s Leon Russell turned a church into a studio, introducing the Tulsa Sound to the whole doggone rock ‘n’ roll world.

Like the others, Red Dirt music grew up in a specific place in a specific town. The town is Stillwater, home of Oklahoma State University. The place was a two-story, five-bedroom, funky old place called the Farm-for two decades the epicenter of what would come to be called the Red Dirt scene.

The act that represents Red Dirt? You couldn’t do any better than the Red Dirt Rangers, who’ve been carrying the banner for Red Dirt music since the late 1980s. And years before the band existed, Ben Han, John Cooper, and Brad Piccolo became an integral part of the Farm’s musical brotherhood, trading songs and licks with the likes of Jimmy LaFave, Tom Skinner, and Bob Childers-and, later, with such white-hot acts as Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland and the Stragglers and Stoney LaRue.

“We would keep on coming in, every weekend, and whoever was playing music at the time, we’d just chime in,” recalls Ranger lead guitarist-vocalist Ben Han, whose journey to the Farm began in far-away Borneo. “Living-room jams became jams for beers, and then it was, ‘Hey, we’ve got something going on.’ We just proceeded with what we already had, called a couple of friends, and the next thing you know, we’re pickin’ and grinning.”

That casual approach to becoming a band is the very antithesis of the ambition-driven grab for the stars that makes shows like American Idol possible. But the Rangers’ laid-back road-less-traveled style splendidly evokes the musicians who honed their chops in the living room, front porch, garage (aka “The Gypsy Café”) and campfire-dotted acreage of the Farm, where the sheer joy of creating music with friends transcended everything else. As Rangers mandolinist-vocalist John Cooper has noted, “The Farm was as much an attitude as a physical structure. It allowed a setting where freedom rang and all things were possible. Out of this setting came the music.”

In the summer of 2004, the three Rangers all went down in a near-fatal helicopter crash. Guitarist-vocalist Piccolo believes that whole experience helped return them to their Stillwater roots. [Urban Tulsa Weekly: The Show Goes On]

“A lot of times, you’re just kind of rambling along, and it takes an epiphany like that, a defining moment, to let you know what your purpose is,” he explains. “Now, I just want to make good music and send a good feeling out there to people.”

This year is gearing up to be a huge milestone for the Rangers. The band will be celebrating 25 years together and will embark on the aptly named “Oklahoma World Tour”, visiting every corner of the State and beyond. In addition, a new CD titled “Lone Chimney” is about to be released. Produced by Steve Ripley and featuring many world-class musicians, this long awaited album promises to their best yet.

As Bob Childers once said, “Kick back and enjoy the ride”…and most of all, keep on spreadin’ the dirt!

Date Venue City State Note
No Tour Dates Available
03/10/2010 - Red Dirt Rangers lead the pack in Backwoods Bash festival lineup  - Read More
08/28/2009 - Red Dirt Rangers mark anniversary - Read More
08/27/2009 - Family Reunion Red Dirt Style  - Read More
08/26/2009 - Red Dirt Rangers host benefit concert at Cain's - Read More
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Average Rating : 4.7              Total Reviews: 12

Red Dirt Rangers  01/17/2009            
Dale Farley
I am father of Robin Cross,Grady Cross Fatherinlaw anyway on our way to steamboat and back we listened to blueshoe for slaid and charlie and we came to love the entire CD. slaid knows the words to all songs. strongly suggest pushing this back out to the world and let them listen again, most of all the children! we love you guys and look forward to seeing RDR again soon! BLUESHOE come back please.everybody buy this for your children and your selfs, i cant get tumbleweed out of my head. Thank you rangers Dale and rhonda Farley. Yukon OK
Red Dirt Rangers  08/05/2005            
Hill Country Texas
Just saw Coop and Ben at the Wormy Dog on 8/3 playing an acoustic set with Max Stalling. What a night, great music and a bunch of great ole’ boys to boot. Coop and Ben and the rest of the Red Dirt Rangers are clearly influenced by the “Texas Sound” and have taken it to another level.
Red Dirt Rangers  01/23/2005            
Red Dirt Rangers  10/17/2004            
saw a couple of you sit in with stoney last night and play 'Idabel Blues'. Good stuff.
Red Dirt Rangers  06/28/2004            
Starin' Down the Sun is the best album yet by the Red Dirt Rangers. Each disc is outstanding in its own right, even Blue Shoe. I own them all and even better, enjoy almost every single track. Some artists have a release with one good song, a couple mediocre, and some poor; EVERYTHING the Rangers do is great!
Red Dirt Rangers  06/08/2004            
Mid- Tex dirt scott
Red boy, when they move back. Remember "home town in my rear view, this truck aint got enough gas, to get us out of here! CCR. JB: "the rays of light thru a Shiner bock... throw down the throttle" you know the lyrics. Signed Happy they escaped
Red Dirt Rangers  06/20/2003            
I write this because I just wasted $30 based on the reviews I read for this band. To me, very boring music. Kind of like The Fabulous Thunderbirds on quaaludes. Bad pop music, but slower. My opinion is meaningless without context; so, recent CDs I have enjoyed are The Gourds, Nathan Hamilton, Radney Foster at The Continental Club, and enjoyed a CCRag show not long ago.
Red Dirt Rangers  12/09/2002            
Jimmy Carter
If you're from out of state (Oklahoma) and want to know where the majority of most "at heart" music comes from then just listen to the Red Dirt Rangers. It'll take you back to those days of real security, freedom, chicken fried steak, apple pie, and family...the good old days... Oh! how I miss'm !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Red Dirt Rangers  04/15/2002            
David K.
Not only is this some of the finest music out there (kind of a mix of Guthrie, Dylan, the Dead, and a whole mess of outlaw country), but these guys are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. They gave up two high-profile gigs just to play our wedding reception.
Red Dirt Rangers  06/18/2001            
Let's see: Red Dirt Rangers, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland and The Stragglers, The Great Divide.... We here in Stillwater, OK, are glad everyone in Texas is taking a liking to our music, but when will you stop calling it "Texas Music" and start calling it Oklahoma music, since it is?
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