Tommy Lokey: Consummate Jazzman at The Church Studio

Although few in the current Tulsa music community would know his name, but 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…

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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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The Fairchild 660 Audio Compressor at The Church Studio

The Church Studio, with its rich history and legendary recordings, has long attracted musicians seeking high-quality sound. To elevate this sacred space even further, we’ve included a vintage piece of analog audio gear, the Fairchild 660 Audio Compressor, known as the “holy grail” of outboard gear. Originally, a church built in 1915, The Church Studio…

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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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Leon, J.J., and the Super Dupers

Having grown tired of the fourteen-hour days in the recording studio playing on other people’s records, Leon Russell decided in 1965 to work for legendary producer Snuff Garrett, who was starting his own independent production company and record label, Viva Records. Snuff hustled the business and Russell handled the production chores, which included arranging, producing…

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Leon Russell: ‘Going Back To Tulsa One More Time’

Every once in a while, you get hit with something big that you never saw coming. Such is the case with my discovery of Leon Russell. As I’ve come to find out, Leon’s music has always been part of my life. I just didn’t know it. And I’m not alone. Each year, I’m fortunate to have the…

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THE BILL DAVIS INTERVIEW

By Steve Todoroff It’s a late September night at the Sunset Grill, a combination cafe/night club in Tulsa where eager fans begin to cram themselves around tables near the vicinity of the dance floor. As they mingle about, a party-like atmosphere maintains them until that moment the band squeezes onto the tiny stage and starts…

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Eric Clapton Gets Arrested!

The year was 1975. Eric Clapton had just flown into Tulsa, Oklahoma to perform.  News of Eric’s arrival was quickly known for he had gotten arrested! The Church Studio talked with John Southern, a photojournalist and local musician, that captured the infamous photo of Eric Clapton in Jail.  From a first-hand perspective, check out what…

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LEON RUSSELL PERFORMS AT DUKE UNIVERSITY in 1971

Leon Russell 1971

We absolutely love our Church Studio family and the fantastic stories they share with us. In this photo series, we are featuring a series of photographs taken by photographer, Ric Carter. Our good friend, American Roots musician, and Leon Lifer; Bill Lyerly, introduced us to Ric. Thank you, Bill! Why are these pictures special? Well,…

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