Music lovers will soon be able to travel to the places that inspired Oklahoma’s music legends with the launch of a new music trail, Rhythm & Routes. It will highlight places of significance with respect to Oklahoma’s musical heritage as well as the lives, careers and achievements of musicians born or raised in Oklahoma, as well as those who spent a significant part of their musical career here.
The endeavor was spawned in 2010 by Senate Resolution 129, initiating a partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation, the Oklahoma Historical Society, OKPOP, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and BancFirst. The collective has identified honorees who will be featured on an interactive website intended to give viewers an inside look at their lives, careers and contributions to Oklahoma music, thereby generating tourism and economic development opportunities in the communities where notable sites are located.
“Rhythm and Routes will celebrate Oklahoma’s many talented musical performers and composers and drive tourism to Oklahoma places that are part of their life stories. From the hospital where they were born to the schools they attended, summer vacation spots, favorite restaurants and performance venues. Our goal is to show fans the personal side of Oklahoma entertainers and encourage them to visit diverse locations around the state they might not have visited,” says Deby Snodgrass, Cabinet Secretary and Executive Director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.
The first phase of the project will showcase 43 honorees to be included on the Rhythm & Routes website, a section of TravelOK.com. The official travel and tourism website for Oklahoma Tourism, TravelOK.com is viewed by roughly 22,000 people each day, giving the project the opportunity to reach a national and international audience.
The key to the project’s success will be acquiring the best possible content for the site. “That’s where the general public comes in,” says Oklahoma Film & Music Office Deputy Director of Music and acting Music Trail Coordinator, Lindsey Flowers. “We are reaching out to Oklahomans in all parts of the state who may have in their possession relics or personal accounts of the Rhythm & Routes honorees in an effort to share details about each honoree that may have otherwise gone undiscovered.”
The project will incorporate various types of content for each honoree. Preferred content includes video footage (concert footage, interviews, music clips,) audio recordings (music samples, audio interviews, radio recordings,) photos (family photos, yearbook photos, school photos, concert photos,) music posters, ticket stubs, concert programs, set lists, personal letters, and other personal details such as favorite restaurants or other venues, trivia, likes and dislikes, and personal accounts or other stories related to that individual.
Recently, a content submission webpage was set up in support of the project. Individuals who have materials or stories to share may submit them at http://www.travelok.com/rhythm-routes-submission-portal. Those wishing to contribute are encouraged to submit their materials using the submission link no later than May 31, 2014. The projected launch of the Rhythm & Routes website is August 15, 2014.
Phase One of the project will include the first 43 designees (in alphabetical order) The All American Rejects, BJ Thomas, Blake Shelton, Bob Wills, Cain’s Ballroom, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Christian, Chet Baker, Conway Twitty, DC Minner, Deep Deuce, Elvin Bishop, Garth Brooks, Gene Autry, Hanson, Hoyt Axton, Mae Boren Axton, Jesse Ed Davis, Jimmy Webb, JJ Cale, Kelli O’Hara, Kings of Leon, Kristin Chenoweth, Leon Russell, Leona Mitchell, the Muskogee Civic Center, Patti Page, Reba McEntire, Roger Miller, Ronnie Dunn, Roy Clark, Ryan Tedder, Sandi Patty, The Church Studio, The Farm in Stillwater, The Flaming Lips, The Gap Band, Toby Keith, Vince Gill, Wallace Willis, Wanda Jackson, Woody Guthrie and The Zoo Amphitheatre.
“With such a rich musical history, it was utterly impossible to include all of the notable musicians and places of interest in phase one,” says Director of the Oklahoma Film & Music Office, Jill Simpson, “Content will be added in phases and will eventually encompass all of Oklahoma’s musical legends and the locations in Oklahoma which inspired them.”
Rhythm & Routes will be the first project of its kind in Oklahoma and will give long overdue recognition to the communities in our state that have inspired our rich musical heritage. OTRD looks forward to the launch of the Rhythm & Routes website on August 15, 2014.