ACOUSTIC AUGUST SUNDAY CONCERT: KOSU Presents John Fullbright, Kaitlyn Butts, and Jared Deck

Acoustic August Sunday Concert

Presented by KOSU with John Fullbright, Kaitlin Butts & Jared Deck

Sunday, August 13th 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Join us for an afternoon of music on the dock with an incredible line-up of artists including Grammy nominated musician John Fullbright.  Mr. Nice Guys will be open and serving great food and drinks so come hungry!

About John Fullbright:

“What’s so bad about happy?” John Fullbright sings on the opening track of his new album, ‘Songs.’ It’s a play on the writer’s curse, the notion that new material can only come through heartbreak or depression, that great art is only born from suffering.

“A normal person, if they find themselves in a position of turmoil or grief, they’ll say, ‘I need to get out of this as fast as I can,’” says Fullbright. “A writer will say, ‘How long can I stay in this until I get something good?’ And that’s a bullshit way to look at life,” he laughs.

That plainspoken approach is part of what’s fueled the young Oklahoman’s remarkable rise. It was just two years ago that Fullbright released his debut studio album, ‘From The Ground Up’ to a swarm of critical acclaim. The LA Times called the record “preternaturally self-assured,” while NPR hailed him as one of the 10 Artists You Should Have Known in 2012, saying “it’s not every day a new artist…earns comparisons to great songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Randy Newman, but Fullbright’s music makes sense in such lofty company.” The Wall Street Journal crowned him as giving one of the year’s 10 best live performances, and the album also earned him the ASCAP Foundation’s Harold Adamson Lyric Award. If there was any doubt that his debut announced the arrival of a songwriting force to be reckoned with, it was put to rest when ‘From The Ground Up’ was nominated for Best Americana Album at the GRAMMY Awards, which placed Fullbright alongside some of the genre’s most iconic figures, including Bonnie Raitt.

“I never came into this with a whole lot of expectations,” says Fullbright. “I just wanted to write really good songs, and with that outlook, everything else is a perk. The fact that we went to LA and played “Gawd Above” in front of a star-studded audience [at the GRAMMY pre-tel concert], never in my life would I have imagined that.”

Onstage at the GRAMMY Awards.

But for Fullbright, it hasn’t been all the acclaim that means the most to him, but rather his entrance into a community of songwriters whose work he admires.

“When I started out, I was all by myself in a little town in Oklahoma where whatever you wanted, you just made it yourself,” he explains. “I didn’t grow up around musicians or like-minded songwriters, but I grew up around records. One of the most fulfilling things about the last two years is that now I’m surrounded by like-minded people in a community of peers. You don’t feel so alone anymore.”

If there’s a recurring motif that jumps out upon first listen to ‘Songs,’ it’s the act of writing, which is one Fullbright treats with the utmost respect. “When I discovered Townes Van Zandt, that’s when I went, ‘You know, this is something to be taken pretty damn seriously,’” says Fullbright. “‘This is nothing to do with business, it has to do with art and identity.’ You can write something that’s going to outlast you, and immortality through song is a big draw.”

But just as important to Fullbright as writing is careful editing. “I can write a first verse and a chorus fairly easily, and it’s important just to document it at the time and come back to it later,” he explains. “That’s the labor, when you really get your tools out and figure out how to craft something that’s worthwhile.”

Fullbright inhabits his songs’ narrators completely, his old-soul voice fleshing out complex characters and subtle narratives with a gifted sense of understatement.

“My songwriting is a lot more economical now,” he explains. “I like to say as much as I can in 2 minutes 50 seconds, and that’s kind of a point of pride for me.”

The arrangements on ‘Songs’ are stripped down to their cores and free of ornamentation. Fullbright’s guitar and piano anchor the record, while a minimalist rhythm section weaves in and out throughout the album. That’s not to say these are simple songs; Fullbright possesses a keen ear for memorable melody and a unique approach to harmony, moving through chord progressions far outside the expected confines of traditional folk or Americana. The performances are stark and direct, though, a deliberate approach meant to deliver the songs in their purest and most honest form.

Working in the studio with Wes Sharon on ‘Songs.’

“I’m a better performer and writer and musician now, and I wanted a record that would reflect that,” he says. “We tracked a lot of it live, just me and a bass player in a room with a few microphones. The basis is a live performance and everything else supports that. I think you just get as much energy and skill as you can into a take, and then start building from there. And what we found is that you don’t have to add too much to that.”

The songs also reflect how drastically Fullbright’s life has changed since the release of ‘From The Ground Up,’ which launched him into a rigorous schedule of international touring. “Going Home” finds him appreciating the simple pleasure of heading back to Oklahoma, which he likens to The Odyssey. “When you’re gone for so long, once you know you’re headed in the right direction to your own bed and your own home, that’s one of the greatest feelings you can have,” he says.

“I Didn’t Know” is a song he premiered live at concert hosted by Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, a story he tells still somewhat incredulously, while “When You’re Here” is a somber piano love song, and “The One That Lives Too Far’ is a raw account of the strain that distance can put on a romantic relationship. “All That You Know,” which features just voice and Wurlitzer, implores listeners to appreciate what’s right in front of them, and the finger-picked “Keeping Hope Alive” is a song of resilience through hard times.

To be sure, ‘Songs’ has its moments of darkness, tracks born from pain and heartbreak, but for a craftsman like Fullbright, there are few greater joys than carving emotion into music, taking a stab at that lofty goal of immortality through song. It makes him—and his fans—happy, and there’s nothing bad about that.


About Kaitlin Butts:

Her self-proclaimed “mess” of curly red hair, and an Oklahoma-sunshine-bright smile capture attention the moment she steps on the stage. A declaration that “we’re gonna get to know each other real quick” followed by an ornery grin hints that there are stories to be told. And tell them she does, with a sound that is both fresh and original, and rich in the traditions of country music.

She tells stories about love and fun, and the joy of finding contentment exactly where you are. But, as in life, there are other stories to be told as well. She sings these songs with 50 years of heartbreak in her voice, though she is not even half that age. Her delivery is refreshingly uncontrived which is a welcome relief for those who crave the honesty and sincerity that seems to be missing from some of today’s country music.  And her sometimes colorful banter keeps audiences smiling.

“Her demeanor and voice match the gentle rolling hills of Oklahoma she was raised in, though it can crack and scold just the same as the violent storms that roll across those same plains.”

Red Dirt Nation

Her debut album, Same Hell, Different Devil is the result of taking these stories down the Red-Dirt rabbit hole known as the Boohatch Studios, with legendary Red Dirt Oklahoma artist and producer, Mike McClure, and a strong showing of Oklahoma musicians who helped the 10 original songs written by Butts, along with a cover of “Gods Gonna Cut You Down” take final form.

“Same Hell, Different Devil serves as a showcase to this young ladies incredible songwriting skill and powerful vocal prowess. Exhibiting a maturity in her lyrics well beyond …her age, so many of the songs on this album will certainly leave listeners wondering which of the ghosts of songwriters past this girl has tapped into.”

Red Dirt, Blue Collar

Summer 2016 Kaitlin was awarded Best in Country for the Oklahoma Gazette AwardsTexas radio has taken notice of the music from this release, and in 2016 Kaitlin was awarded 2016 New Female Vocalist of the Year for the Texas Regional Radio Music Awards.

“The Oklahoma native has a music library of songs that are simple, exciting, and storyful.  She’s honest, and she’s really good.”

Buddy Logan-Radio Texas Live/KNUE

The success of Same Hell, Different Devil has given Kaitlin the opportunity to play some of her favorite stages, both supporting her favorite artists and headlining, as well as joining several festival lineups.  Gruene Hall with Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, Fort Worth’s Live Oak with Courtney Patton and Jason Eady,  Dosey Doe with Parker McCollum, OKC Myriad Gardens with John Fullbright, Cheatham Street Warehouse, Blue Light Live.  She has also supported Aaron Watson, Wade Bowen, Bart Crow, and Zane Williams. She has enjoyed playing Texas Red Dirt Radio Show (TXRDR) several times hosted by Justin Frazell.

A musical friendship with Lubbock artist Dalton Domino led to an opportunity to perform on Lubbock band, Flatland Cavalry’s debut album, Humble Folks, featured on their song “A Life Where We Work Out” which debuted at #2 on iTunes.

Fall 2016 has some great things in store, such as 95.9 The Ranch’s Ranch Bash, Josh Abbott Fest, Turnpike Troubadour/Jason Boland produced Medicine Stone Festival, Larry Joe Taylor’s Rhymes and Vines.  In December of 2016, she’ll be heading to Ireland for the Red Dirt Pub Crawl, featuring Shane Smith and the Saints, Flatland Cavalry’s Cleto Cordero, Rich O’Toole and many more.  2016 is going to come to an end with a bang as she, along with Flatland Cavalry, ring in the New Year on the historic Cain’s Ballroom stage with the Turnpike Troubadours.  Catch her out on the roads of Oklahoma, Texas, and beyond along with her beloved road dog (and star of her “Gal Like Me” live video) Hank, happily riding shotgun.


About Jared Deck:


Winner for "The American Dream" - 2016 Woody Guthrie Songwriting Contest 

Honorable Mention for "Wrong Side Of The Night" - 2016 Woody Guthrie Songwriting Contest

"Deck sings about the heartland with the power of someone who has seen both its peril and promise, and not just imagined an idealized, cinematic scape that exists in only Brooklyn studios or Hollywood treatments." - Rolling Stone

"A powerful, beautiful voice." - Alejandro Escovedo

"10 New Country Artists You Need to Know." - Rolling Stone Country, March 2016

" get the sense [Deck] could be, with a little luck and some more songwriting under his belt, in a league with last year’s breakout Americana artist Chris Stapleton." - American Songwriter

"Heartfelt, soulful." - PopMatters

The life of a man, a troubadour - with hurt, struggle and ultimately strength - is delivered on Deck’s debut, a stellar offering of heartland rock heavy on intimacy, truth and heart." - The Daily Country

"That was the best harmony singing I've ever heard, Jared. Come over and give me a smooch!" - Wanda Jackson

"One of the better releases from a roots artist this year." - American Songwriter

"Deck’s music is full of hope, though. And so is his career." - Elmore Magazine

"...turns his callouses into begrimed beauty." - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Honorable Mention for "Unusually Blessed" - 2015 Woody Guthrie Songwriting Contest

one fight at a time

Jared Deck takes life one fight at a time. "The battle has always been internal, overcoming my own failures and working to improve." Raised on the dusty plains of an Oklahoma family farm, Jared worked in the fields as well as the town grocery, owned by his parents. "In a community of 1,200 people, big dreams seem impossible. We're taught to manage expectations, put our nose down, and get to work." He did exactly that. 

When the family business saw hard times, Deck turned to the oilfield to pay for school. "I was a roughneck - a worm hand, really - throwing back tongs on the drilling rig floor. Sure, it was tough, but so were we. I saw the sun set and rise each day; that kept me going." The oilfield provided for a time, but every boom has its bust. 

After the oilfield, Jared worked at a local factory until the jobs were outsourced to other countries. He started a business, but was hit hard by the recession. He even ran for political office but lost by a couple percentage points. Through every challenge and change, music remained the one constant in Jared's life. 

Desperate to supplement his business through the recession, Jared answered the classified ad of a small church in need of a pianist. "I called the number, and the pastor asked if I'd ever played at a black church before. I told him, no, but I can play the blues. He said that would probably work." Over the next six years, Jared received an unparalleled musical education. "It felt like relearning the piano, so I applied that concept to my songwriting." 

Deck's writing has evolved and now presents the maturity of a man who has learned the hard way. "The pen is disruptive and inspiring," says Deck. "It rattles me, reflecting moments and things about myself I might rather forget. But it also inspires me to face myself and become the man I'd rather be writing about." That attitude is apparent in the writing of Jared's self-titled, solo debut. 

The album tells 11 heartfelt stories of life on the road. Starting with "17 Miles," a tale of broken dreams, Jared shares his story. "As a teenager, all I wanted was to leave Oklahoma and never look back. The day I worked up the nerve to go, I had a flat tire just 17 miles down the road. Never got any further than that." All of the songs reflect a sense of wry understanding of life and an indomitable spirit, from the fractured family in "Wrong Side Of The Night," to the working-man's fight in "The American Dream;" from the crisis of faith in "Grace," to the torn heart of an oilfield father in "Unusually Blessed," Deck's songs illustrate life in the rural heartland. And because this is the life he knows only too well, these songs ring true - the honest voice of midland America. 

For the new album, Deck called upon Grammy-nominated producer Wes Sharon at 115 Recording. Sharon has produced some of the most lauded Americana artists of late, including John Fullbright, Parker Millsap, The Grahams, and Turnpike Troubadours. In Sharon, Deck found a musical soulmate, "Wes understands songs and the people who write them. He helped me find a voice I didn't know I had." 

That voice isn't going unnoticed. During an impromptu afternoon show on a back alley patio in Amarillo, TX, Deck was surprised to realize his hero, Alejandro Escovedo, was in the crowd. "He'd been listening for some time, but I didn't see him," Deck recalled. "When he walked around the corner, it felt like a movie." Escovedo complimented him, "You have a powerful, beautiful voice." It was an unforgettable moment for the young songwriter. 

Every boom may have its bust, but every dusk has its dawn. This hope, that there is always a way out, a way through, is an integral part of Jared's songs of pain and promise. "When folks hear my music, I hope they see the sunrise, just as I did each morning from that oilfield tower."


Throughout his career in bands and as a solo artist, Jared has played hundreds of stages with hundreds of artists, including... 

Festivals: SXSW, Access Film Music at Sundance, NX35, Norman Music Fest, Tulsa Mayfest, and OKCfest. 
Notable venues: Cain's Ballroom, Tulsa. Knuckleheads, KC. Sun Studios, Memphis. Oriental Theatre, Denver. Blue Door, Oklahoma City. 
Feature artists: John Fullbright, Wanda Jackson, Peter Case, Hot Club of Cowtown, John Moreland, The Watson Twins, Heartless Bastards, Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes, Ellis Paul, Greg Ginn of Black Flag, Ben Miller Band, Ha Ha Tonka, Red Dirt Rangers, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, Mike Hosty, Graham Colton, Two Tons of Steel, Cotton Jones, Somebody's Darling, The Low Lows, Grandchildren, Two Cow Garage, Trampled Under Foot, Eve 6, Subseven, Wakeland, the Mimsies, Bo Phillips, No Justice, Dan Haerle, Jack Mouse, Janice Borla, Bob Bowman, Wade Benson Landry, Matt Giraud, Paris Delane, Saving Abel, and many more.