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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Casii Stephan Records “A Song For You” at The Church Studio

Casii Stephan, a soul pop/rock artist originally from Minnesota and now based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is known for her emotive vocals and intricate melodies. Casii’s music, often compared to artists like Florence Welch and Fiona Apple, is characterized by its theme of hope. Her success includes multiple awards and recognition in the music industry, and…

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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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Mike Prado, Audio Engineer, Joins The Church Studio Team

Q&A with Mike Prado 1. What was your first impression of The Church Studio? I was blown away by the revitalization of The Church Studio.  During my career; I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work in a lot of commercial studios, cutting-edge educational studios and unique home studios. I even tracked at The Church with…

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The Magical Sounds of The Church Studio’s Legendary Neve 8068

Neve is one of the most well-known names in sound engineering and music production. Neve consoles, famed for their craftsmanship and unequaled sound quality, have been at the heart of many classic albums. Its warm analog sound and ingenious design have made it a highly sought-after piece of gear among recording engineers and artists all…

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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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Leon Russell: The Early Childhood Years

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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Volunteer Spotlight: Sharon Johnson Caskey

Sharon Johnson Caskey Magnolia Meadows

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…

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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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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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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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2021: Things are Rockin’ at the Church Studio

The Church Bulletin We’re getting so close, the wait is nearly over!  Drywall is up, the greenspace to the west has a landscape plan, 22 miles of wiring is in place – every board is screwed into position – no nails for The Church Studio!  The oversized elevator will hold your grand piano, and several of your…

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EPISODE 9 – CORY WILLIAMS

To call this guest multi-talented would be an understatement. Cory Williams is a modern-day Renaissance man. You know him as a YouTube trailblazing pioneer; but he’s also a prolific music artist, video game developer, and professional wrestler!

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EPISODE 4 – PHIL CLARKIN

We had so much fun with the talented and inspiring photographer, Phil Clarkin. Phil has a diverse photography and video background and is known for his work with national and international musical acts. His passion leads to the capture of moments in time that will last forever. We are all grateful for that passion!

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VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT – BILL AVERY

Bill Avery, Leon Lifer and a Church Studio volunteer, is a dedicated, knowledgeable, and fun-loving ambassador for the Church and for Leon’s legacy. Although he lives in New Jersey, we have been fortunate to have Bill travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and assist with concerts and book signings. Tell us about yourself. My name is Bill…

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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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A CHURCH, A CHAIR, A BOY AND A PRAYER

There comes a time in life when one is moved to reflect upon major events in his or her life as old friends, relatives, family members “cash in their chips” and depart the game of life. As the days, months and years come and go, the hectic responsibilities of life take the greater majority of…

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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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THE CHURCH STUDIO NAMED TO NATIONAL REGISTER

  Less than a year after the devastating passing of Leon Russell, The Church Studio has earned a respected, unique and highly desired designation to the National Register of Historic Places. The designation became effective Sept. 8, 2017 as reported by the National Park Service. Although it wasn’t certain, It was expected after its National…

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