THE KIDS RECORD
Hey Kids! Guess what? Big doin’s here in Tractor Land. The long-awaited, much-anticipated, Tractors kids CD is finally available!
This is something I have wanted to do ever since my own kids, Elvis and Angelene, were little 20+ years ago. As a matter of fact, the song I made up and sang to them when they were small is included on the new CD. It’s called “Spin Around When They Dance.” They ran/jumped/danced around the house in a very crazed fashion, acting out the lyrics and screaming until their faces turned red.
Also included are versions of “This Old Man,” “The Wheels On The Bus,” and “Old MacDonald Had A Farm.” Our favorite kids songs with the unmistakable, undeniable, non-duplicatable, quite-remarkable Tractors groove. And you ain’t heard nothin’ like Uncle Steve singin’ “E-I-E-I-O” and makin’ farm-animal noises! This is a limited pre-release version. Santa says this is the best thing since Yo-Yos and Hula Hoops.
Keep your chickens warm,
Uncle Steve & The Tractors
Well, it’s been over a year since last posting some news. Yikes! We’ll try to do better.
So, first things first... The new Tractors record is finally finished. We’re excited. Songwriting, playing, and singing by both Leon Russell and J.J. Cale. Official release will be February/March of 2006, but we may make some pre-release copies available through the website in October. We will let the fan club members know with a special email. If you haven’t joined the fan club, now would be a good time. Also, we are about to make the Tractors Kids Record available on a limited basis.
On a personal note, Charlene and I have moved to the farm where I grew up, by Pawnee, Oklahoma. We love it (though it takes an hour to drive to the studio).
Early morning notes:
Fats Kaplin and his wife Kristi Rose were in town for a week. Fats indeed played everything in sight—Pedal steel guitar, Fender non-pedal steel, mandolin, bottle-neck guitars, keyboard and button accordions, acoustic slide, and of course, fiddle. As always, he filled the studio with genius noises. We never fail to have a great time when Fats and Kristi Rose hit Tulsa. Lots of wonderful late-night dinners where the red wine gently flows.
And then... A record wind-storm hit Tulsa, and we were without power for 4 days. That put a big hole in the recording. Even though we had power for the regular stuff at the studio, the air-conditioners didn’t work, and the equipment was in danger of overheating, so we had to leave it off most of the time. Things are back on track now. I’ve started doing my “real” vocals. Singing my heart out so-to-speak. Casey will also be in this week to play bass and sing. Bud Deal and Mike Panno are flying in from California in 2 weeks to play some horns. Very exciting.
For those of you who get ESPN2, I’m singing the theme on a show about dog-training called K9 Nation. My good friend, Scott Mathews, wrote the song and played all of the instruments (what a handy guy). We’re going to put the show “open” up on the website this week. Watch for that. Also, I re-wrote a verse from a song called “Chicken Covers” which is on The Kids Record. A wonderful character named Woody is the dog trainer host of the show. I worked in a little of his philosophy, along with the names of the 5 dog “contestants.” I really just did it for fun (and for Woody) on one of those days when the air conditioner wasn’t working. You can listen to it on the "Work In Progress" page on the Tractors home page.
May 19, 2004
Latest Tractors album coming soon!
Things are going well with the recording of the new Tractors record. It will be the first mainstream studio Tractors album since the Fast Girl CD in 2001. Leon Russell wrote one song for the record called “Good Old Days,” and co-wrote another with me called “Up Jumped The Boogie.” He plays piano and sings on those two songs. J.J. Cale also contributed a new song for the record called “Rhythm Bone.” He sings and plays on that one. Fats Kaplin and his wife Kristi Rose arrive this evening from Nashville. Fats will be playing everything in sight—several kinds of steel guitars, fiddle, accordions, harmonicas, mandolin, slide guitar, banjo, and maybe the kitchen sink. The Tractors kids record, now titled “The Kids Record aka Chicken Covers,” is finished and waiting for a release date...hopefully in October. We haven’t been hearing from you enough lately. Send us an email and say howdy.
Best to all,
November 9, 2003
Considered one of the founders of “Red Dirt Music” Steve was inducted as a Hall of Fame member at the first annual Red Dirt Music Awards held at the historic Cains Ballroom in Tulsa, OK.
Spot Music Awards Review: Spotnix in the zone
By MATT GLEASON World Scene Writer
10/13/2003 Two of the best performances were by the Tractors' frontman Steve Ripley -- he was inducted into the Spot Music Hall of Fame along with the renowned bluesman Flash Terry -- and, of course, the big man himself, Big Ric.
With nothing but a guitar, Ripley sang "No Depression (In Heaven)," a powerful song with lyrics about the afterlife where "there'll be no hunger/No orphan children crying for bread/No weeping widows, toil or struggle/No shrouds, no coffins, and no death."
For his second song, Ripley was joined by a backing band that included church-worthy singers that helped him sing his tune "Crossing Over," a moving song about the Jordan River "that's gently flowing from the deepest part of God's mind/Where you can wash your sins away/In the tears of time."
Ripley's performance was achingly beautiful.
September 5, 2003
Hey Tractor Fans...
My solo album has been nominated for an award to be presented at The Spot Music Awards ceremony here in my home town of Tulsa on October 11th.
It came as quite a surprise to everyone (especially me!) when I consented to sing a song at the festivities. It will be my first performance outside of the recording studio in over three years. I think I’m going to sing the old Carter Family song “No Depression (In Heaven)” from the Ripley record. If you happen to be in the area, come watch me miss a guitar chord or two and forget some lyrics. Yikes!
Click on the link below which will take you to the voting page. Look for the category “Best National Album” and cast your vote.
The very best to everybody,
On July 6th Hanson invited a hundred lucky fans to take part in a live in the studio recording for their new acoustic album called Underneath Acoustic that they will be selling exclusively at their live shows and online.
June 3, 2003
With an Oink Oink Here & and an Oink Oink There
The Tractors are busy at The Church Studio in Tulsa putting the finishing touches on a new kids album called Chicken Covers.
"When ‘Baby Likes To Rock It’ was out, The Tractors were voted Favorite Band by kids across America in a newspaper poll," notes Tractors front man Steve Ripley. "Most of our recordings are kids records at heart."
The album features several original tunes along with favorites like "This Old Man" and "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." "Making barnyard noises is not that big of a stretch for me," says Ripley with a laugh.
The title cut, "Chicken Covers," was co-written by Ripley and Tulsa-based character actor and artist, Gailard Sartain, who is also doing the album artwork. Gailard was a regular on the long-running Hee Haw television show and had recurring roles in the "Ernest" movies. He also had substantial roles in more serious fare like Fried Green Tomatoes, Mississippi Burning, and The Replacements.
"Chicken Covers" tells the age-old tale of the man from the city who could sell the hillbillies on the farm anything and everything—from covers to keep their chickens warm, to silk milking gloves and a milk-cow stereo, to a dog diploma for their "smarty-pants doggie."
"Ready to Cry"
I'm writing this message to tell all of you that we‚ve just shipped a new single to radio. It's called "Ready To Cry." I guess it's just about everybody‚s favorite song from our album, Fast Girl. It‚s one of my personal favorites because my buddy and mentor Leon Russell helped me write the song and is featured on both the Steinway piano and Hammond organ. I spent quite a bit of time in the studio remixing and editing the record for the single release. Now to the heart of the matter. We continuously receive emails, phone calls, and letters asking why there's so little Tractors music on the radio. Unfortunately, these days it takes a staggering amount of money to get any significant amount of airplay of a new song. It's such a serious situation, Congress is actually investigating the legality of the radio-promotion system. There is one and only one real alternative: The old-fashioned, tried-and-true method of listener requests. There's an old saying in radio: "The phones rang off the wall". That's what happened when our first record came out. A few radio stations played "Baby Likes To Rock It" a few times (generally in the middle of the night). Listeners spontaneously starting calling the stations, and as they say, the rest is history. What I'd like you to do is call your local country stations and ask them to play "Ready To Cry." Don't give them a break. And most of all, don't fail me on this, if by some weird twist-of-fate cosmic shift in the universe, you actually hear a Tractors record on the radio, you must call. Let them know you're out there and that you care. Thanks for all your support. Let me know about any progress you make with radio in your area.