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Drummer Jared Johnson Pays -- and Plays -- Tribute to Steinbeck in "The Grapes of Wrath Project"

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Aired on Thursday, September 7th.

On this episode of ST, we welcome Jared Johnson to the show. He's an active drummer on the Tulsa-area music scene as well as a drumset instructor at Northeastern State University. Jared gigs widely on the local scene, playing in all sorts of bands and musical settings, and mainly works as a jazz drummer. He has a wonderful new modern-jazz album out, a self-produced collection of original compositions entitled "The Grapes of Wrath Project." With tracks called (to name but a few) "Ma" and "Rose of Sharon" and "All Men Got One Big Soul" and "I'll Be There," this album features music directly and knowingly inspired by Steinbeck's masterpiece. As Johnson himself notes at the CD Baby website: "'The Grapes of Wrath Project' was conceived from my love of improvisational music and my deep admiration for John Steinbeck’s classic American novel. As someone who was raised in rural Northeastern Oklahoma, this story has always resonated with me. What I have attempted with these compositions is to express musically my reflections on the story and the deep spiritual and emotional lines it has carved into my life." (You can learn more about this album, including how to buy a copy of it, at this link.)

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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