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Playing In the Dirt: Stillwater and the Emergence of Red Dirt Music

Moore, Aaron M.
The thesis provides a background on the evolution of Red Dirt music from 1974-2010. Incorporated in the study is a look at the location and people that have influenced the Red Dirt community and allowed it to flourish for four decades. Based on interviews with the artists themselves, the information provided in the study provides an inside account of what exactly Red Dirt music is. A shotgun based method of identification was used to select the subjects for the interviews. Though in existence as a "genre" since 1974, Red Dirt defies easy categorization. Though each artist brings their own personal definition, there is enough similarity to craft a suitable definition. Red Dirt music can be described as a community of musicians with ties to the folk traditions of Woody Guthrie, but expressed in any number of styles as previously explored by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. In addition to the influence of Woody Guthrie and Bob Wills, Red Dirt musicians are also bound to the Stillwater area, even though the "genre" has now grown to encompass many musicians outside Stillwater. Stillwater locations including Oklahoma State University, the Strip, The Farm, and The Yellow House play a prominent role in the evolution of the musical component of Red Dirt and are examined in the course of the paper.