Photo by Vicki Farmer
Growing up in Okemah–the same eastern Oklahoma town that Woody Guthrie was born in–John Fullbright emerged out of a musical household, picking up piano at age five and later turning to the guitar. But his real musical education came at the Blue Door, the legendary club in Oklahoma City that’s been home to songwriters like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jimmy LaFave, Arlo Guthrie, Eliza Gilkyson, and many more. Fullbright developed his style and sound through countless gigs there, and his debut was an acoustic set recorded live at the Blue Door in 2009.
But Oklahoma’s borders can’t contain Fullbright. In 2012, his first studio album, From The Ground Up, nabbed a Grammy nomination for “Best Americana Album.” His followup, this year’s Songs, is capturing similar critical acclaim. “I don’t start out with a concept or a sound,” Fullbright recently told KUTX’s Jay Trachtenberg. “I write songs that I think are strong enough to stand up in a studio.” This bare-bones approach is felt on “Going Home,” a pleading cut from Songs that Fullbright performed live with his full band in Studio 1A.