There’s a certain voice to OKC. It wavers in a rekindled vibrancy, as an old man that’s come back to his church choir. Wherever you go here, there’s someone around the corner singing gospel about the best and the worst parts of life and experience.
Back in 1919 over on Second Street, the Aldridge Theater opened and hosted the best jazz musicians in the nation. Now, the building is gone and that music spills onto the streets. Every last Saturday of the month, the historic Deep Deuce District lives again in the Deep Deuce Sessions, a music walk where artists invade local venues and fill the air with gospel, jazz and acoustic sounds.
The Jones Assembly is OKC’s newest spot for music and food, opened in 2017. Pulling big name artists and offering classy food and drink options, this young establishment does its home district of Film Row proud. Down on 23rd Street, the historic Tower Theatre stands proud again with its neon marquee. Sporting a history back to 1937 as an original movie house, this renovated venue hosts up-and-coming regional artists from hip-hop to Americana.
Swing over to the Plaza District where it bleeds with color and creativity. If the Plaza Walls are this district’s bare heart, then Saints Bar and Lounge is its illustrious voice in Saints Sessions. Every Thursday evening, talented, local acoustic and jazz musicians play at this intimate setting where the people are friendly, the drinks are strong and the music is stellar.
At Bleu Garten in Midtown OKC, culture stays local with table games, great drinks, seasoned food trucks and live, local music every Thursday night. With its outdoor setting, Bleu arguably has one of the best atmospheres in town. On the lively Bricktown canal, Michael Murphy’s Dueling Piano Bar is a true star of the city, with pizza by the slice and drinks galore. Open Thursday through Saturday, blisteringly skilled musical performers get their kicks taking requests and razzing audience members.
Just outside the Paseo District lies The Blue Door, a venue that offers a different experience than all the bars and restaurants. The Blue Door doesn’t offer drinks or food (although drinks are BYOB): it offers a quiet, close-knit listening room for the veteran and novice musician alike. Named simply after the color of its doors, this venue makes folk, rock and blues its cornerstone.
This old man doesn’t speak the words the same way as once, nor does he bellow as loud as he could in younger years, but he still finds a hunger for harmony. Etching an echo in kindred hearts, the man and his chorus, the city and its people, keep making this music, onward and ever upward.