The Tulsa Sound: The Definitive Definition by Ann Bell

By Ann Bell | April 28, 2023

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 patriots, and I learned from my family to take great pride in that fact. As I became a teenager, another truthful fact emerged in my awareness of being an Okie. That fact was the powerfully impacting presence of our music history. The music history of…

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JJ Cale Finds Shelter

By Paul Sparks | March 28, 2023

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 Strangers” to round out his debut album to 12 tracks. Two days later, he joined the musician’s union. Over the next four years, Cale not only recorded for Shelter, but he also worked for them, most likely pro bono.   We all know that Johnny…

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Leon Russell: The Early Childhood Years

By Nancy Ruth | January 6, 2023

Most of us know about Claude Russell Bridges playing the piano by ear at 4 years old and hitting the honky tonks around Tulsa at 14 – but not a lot is recorded about his formative childhood years. Who was young Claude Russell Bridges?

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Sharon Johnson Caskey Magnolia Meadows

Volunteer Spotlight: Sharon Johnson Caskey

By The Church Studio | December 22, 2022

Volunteers rock at The Church Studio! We love and appreciate the valuable role they play in our operations. Sharon Johnson Caskey is one of our talented volunteers. She not has a knack for arranging flowers and choosing trees for Magnolia Meadows, but she’s wonderful in our retail store, serving clients and giving tours. Learn more about Sharon below and you’ll see why she is so amazing to have on the team. SHARON JOHNSON CASKEY Oklahoma has everything I love! I was born and raised in Durant, OK. Growing up, we visited my Aunt Joycie in Tulsa and I dreamed of…

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Steve Ripley’s Red Dirt Roots Part 1

By Deborah McLaren | December 6, 2022

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 Dirt and the Tulsa Sound, two new Oklahoma music genres, were aided in creation by Ripley. He owned The Church Studio in Tulsa for almost two decades where he produced many artists as well as his own band The Tractors. They recorded the song Baby…

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GUEST BLOG: Rusty Russell’s Recording Studio Experience

By The Church Studio | October 25, 2022

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), and after those years away, three of the guys are back in Kansas, happily living “normal” lives. A bit late to the party, I finally came home – or close to it – with a move to Tulsa from Nashville in early 2020. I toured…

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New to The Church Studio Team: Entrepreneur Ronnie Carlson

By The Church Studio | August 20, 2022

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 over 130 students. Prior to that, I worked for 12 years at Oklahoma’s largest non-profit career college group in numerous aspects of administration, student life, and college culture. My background includes experience in various aspects of career, vocational, and technical education, including admissions, career services,…

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Volunteer Spotlight: Willis Allen

By The Church Studio | July 13, 2022

  We love our volunteers and appreciate the valuable role they play in the operations of The Church Studio.  We could not be more excited to introduce you to one of our very first volunteers, Willis Allen.  If you have attended one of our Studio Tours, you have probably met or visited Willis.  Willis shines as a Docent when he leads a private or group tour.  Learn more about Willis below and you’ll understand why we are lucky to have him on our volunteer team.  I was born and raised in Tulsa and have lived here most of my life,…

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Play it Back: A Private Tour of the Church Studio

By Amy Angell Brewer | July 8, 2022

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 to speculate what it would become. A boutique hotel? A community center? A unique structure with evident history in an up-and-coming part of the city-I just hoped it wouldn’t be another national chain or storage facility.  After a few months, I finally pulled over to…

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The Showman’s Hats

By Deborah McLaren | June 10, 2022

Leon Russell’s distinctive style, both vocally and instrumentally, made him one of the great singer-songwriters of all time. A unique pianist, composer, singer, song craftsman, and showman. He collected a lot of items and the most well-known were his canes and of course his hats. Those items certainly became a big part of his great showmanship in life and on stage.   In his biography, Leon Russell in His Own Words, shares a story of being shamed at the age of four. An aunt embarrassed him in front of other relatives, and he never forgot it. It was the onset of…

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