Steve Ripley – The Tractors Are a Powerful Engine Part 4

Steve Ripley: The Tractors Are a Powerful Engine Ripley always kept a large Rolodex full of numerous friends and contacts. According to Charlene, “Steve was great at remembering people and keeping them around and often involved. This was before social media and cell phones. He stayed in touch with everyone. And if he wanted to…

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Tommy Lokey: Consummate Jazzman at The Church Studio

Although few in the current Tulsa music community would know his name, in his day, Tommy Lokey was a local legend. Today, you can find a few 1970’s Shelter Records publicity photos of a seven-man funk band that included him. Tommy is the sole white guy, with a wild mane of dark hair and a…

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Charlie Wilson to Receive a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Charlie Wilson to Receive a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Tulsa, Oklahoma native funk and R&B artist Charlie Wilson, a powerhouse vocalist and pianist with the Gap Band and later a solo career, and an original Shelter Records artist, will be recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January…

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Tom Petty’s Journey at The Church Studio

The most important years during the Leon-era history of Tulsa’s Church Studio were 1972–1976. During that time, a wide variety of artists recorded there, some important in music history, others less so. Tom Petty has a story at The Church Studio before he and The Heartbreakers found worldwide success. Both Denny Cordell and Leon Russell…

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A Journey Through Time: The Enchanting History of Reverb

A Journey Through Time: The Enchanting History of Reverb  by Nancy Ruth  Reverb is one of the most intriguing and vital effects in the world of music production. This amazing auditory phenomenon may take listeners to otherworldly regions while adding depth, texture, and a feeling of space to musical compositions. This blog takes us on…

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The Top 10 Shelter Records Artists You Need to Know

Shelter Records holds a significant place in music history, having launched the careers of numerous talented artists and contributing to the development of iconic sounds. Founded in 1969 by Leon Russell and Denny Cordell, Shelter Records quickly became known for its diverse roster of musicians and its commitment to nurturing artistic creativity. In this blog…

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The Tulsa Sound: The Definitive Definition by Ann Bell

The Tulsa Sound: The Definitive Definition by Ann Bell I was privileged to be born in 1950, in the Great State of Oklahoma, and the Great City of Tulsa. Growing up I learned very quickly just how blessed I was to be an Okie and for many reasons. The people are such loving, laid-back, God-fearing…

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JJ Cale Finds Shelter

After shopping around for more than six months, Audie Ashworth and JJ Cale decided to sign with Leon Russell and Denny Cordell’s Shelter label, probably on June 5, 1971. This was the same day that Cale re-recorded a new version of “After Midnight” (at Cordell’s request, some say Ashworth’s), and also added “Don’t Go To…

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Steve Ripley’s Red Dirt Roots Part 1

Steve Ripley: 1950-2019 Oklahoma Music Legend, Owner of The Church Studio, member of The Tractors It’s comforting to know that after you’re gone, a part of you will remain. Steve Ripley left behind an artistic legacy that will have an impact long after his passing. Many people were impacted by his compassion and ingenuity. Red…

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GUEST BLOG: Rusty Russell’s Recording Studio Experience

The genesis of our project at The Church Studio was a bit different than most; four high school friends from Wichita (classes of ’73, ’74), and ’75) had spent years in the big music-center cities of Nashville & L.A. Between us, we’d toured with many “name” artists, recorded a great deal (as players and/or engineers),…

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New to The Church Studio Team: Entrepreneur Ronnie Carlson

My name is Ronald (Ronnie) Carlson and I’m the new operations team member at The Church Studio. I am so excited to meet everyone. Most recently I was the President and Owner of Jenks Beauty College from 2017-2022. When I  took over the college, there were less than 10 students. When I retired, there were…

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Play it Back: A Private Tour of the Church Studio

The stone building at 3rd and Trenton first caught my attention in December of 2019. I had just moved into an apartment on the east side of downtown Tulsa, and I began to regularly pass by what is now (or rather, again) the Church Studio. During that time amid restoration, each subtle change prompted me…

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