Jerry Douglas at Bluegrass in Bricktown – and a look back in Oklahoma

Jerry Douglas in Oklahoma City – photo © Pamm Tucker

In downtown Oklahoma City, a mere three blocks south of the iconic Bricktown district, lies a 70 acre park, Scissortail Park, named for the Oklahoma State Bird, which offers experiences for all ages. The Upper Park opened in September of 2019, while the lower park was opened to the public in September of last year. An open air stage was the focal point for the evening when Jerry Douglas performed last Friday.

Kicking off the night with the sound of bluegrass, Midnight Hollow, a new, almost acoustic outfit with an authentic sound was the opening act. Midnight Hollow offers a true acoustic experience, using electric bass, with top flight harmonies that are almost familial, however, these four band members are not true family, just great friends.

These talented young musicians can clearly play, but when you hear their harmonies you will definitely be a fan and follower.  Being based out of Oklahoma and relatively new as a band, this quartet of multi-talents has already achieved a strong regional following and some major concert dates and appearances.

Midnight Hollow consists of Joey Shann (banjo, reso guitar, and vocals), Joe Kahlden (guitar and vocals), Chance Coppedge (bass and vocals), and Sam Conrey (mandolin and vocals). Midnight Hollow typically performs without a fiddle, but this weekend they brought a very talented and experienced fiddler from Tulsa along to the show. Daniel Collier bowed like he played regularly with the band. 

Before the show, Kahlden shared, “We are super excited to open for one of our heroes, Jerry Douglas.” 

Douglas, of course, is a household name in bluegrass music. A fifteen-time Grammy winner, and three-time CMA winner, Jerry and his band kicked off their 2023 tour in Oklahoma, where as we all know the wind comes sweeping down the plains. 

Looking over Douglas’ discography, one quickly recognizes the artists with whom he has taken the stage. Just to name a few:  Alison Krauss & Union Station, Tommy Emmanuel,  Earl Scruggs, and the list goes on with over 1500 artists that he has performed or recorded with.

But after perusing Douglas’ Oklahoma connections, a hidden gem was discovered. In 1976, Billy Perry gathered six jam buddies and recorded Billy Perry’s Bluegrass Jam. This vinyl LP was produced under the King Bluegrass Records label, and was pressed by Artists Recording Co. Instrumentalists on this rare find were Billy Perry on banjo, Mike Perry on bass, Jerry “Flux” Douglas on dobro, Vince Gill on guitar, Bobby Clark on mandolin, and Ricky Skaggs on fiddle. The genre of the album album was described as “Folk, World & Country in the style of Bluegrass.”

On the back of the album were photos of each artist. Wow, these guys have matured and are unrecognizable from what we see today.

Also in 1977, the same group of jammers (minus Gill) met in Kentucky and released yet another LP under the same label, Billy Perry’s Bluegrass – More Bluegrass Jam. It was a surprise when I sent an email to Brian Penix, with Vector Management about Jerry Douglas, “I don’t know about these albums. Can you send me photos, front and back?”

Of course, I sent my pics of the album immediately.

The show at Scissortail Park was an enormous success. The buzz was centered around the fact that this was the first known internationally recognized artist to perform at Scissortail Park in the bluegrass genre. But Douglas is more than just an outstanding musical talent, he is an entertainer, and kept his audience waiting on his next word and melody. 

Douglas’s interaction with the audience was appealing and welcoming. The vocals were sublime, and exhilarating. The music and dancing lights with the Skydance bridge on the Oklahoma horizon, the evening was simply spectacular.

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About the Author

Pamm Tucker

Growing up in Oklahoma, music runs throughout Pamm Tucker's veins. Her earliest memory of music is standing beside her Grandma's upright, singing. "Trust in The Lord". Little did the 5 year old realize that this was the foundation of things to come. Being very active in 4-H, Pamm was elected as reporter at the age of 9 and held this position for many years. Taking extensive journalism marketing and free-lance writing classes while attending college helped to spark her interest in being a journalist. Her skills helped her acquire the position of journalist for the Northern Oklahoma college school newspaper. An Oklahoma native and no stranger to music, she has performed with the likes of Lulu Roman, Jean Shepherd, Willie Nelson, Tanya Tucker (no relation) Gene Watson and Charlie McClain just to name a few. Even today you can find her tapping her foot to every genre of music.