Roughly 3,300 people live in Okemah, Oklahoma, a name that means “things up high” in Kickapoo and is a town with vintage redbrick storefronts, a dive bar called the Rocky Road Tavern, and a strange track record of birthing great American songwriters: Woody Guthrie, Grammy-nominee John Fullbright and Evan Felker rounds out the list.
“I was born in Okemah but was raised in Wright City, a town in southeastern Oklahoma,” Felker says. “Now I live in Okemah again. People where I grew up are tough. It’s nice to be able to represent them in art.” Felker is the frontman, co-founder, and primary songwriter for The Turnpike Troubadours, a virtuosic band of country-rock road dogs who, on any given night of the week, will play for a much bigger crowd than the populations of Okemah and Wright City combined.
Singer/guitarist Felker is joined by fiddler Kyle Nix, steel and electric guitarist Ryan Engleman, bassist RC Edwards, drummer Gabe Pearson, and steel and accordion player Hank Early. With their highly anticipated fourth album A Long Way from Your Heart, the sextet is poised for even bigger breakthroughs.