Tomorrow, Oklahoma Today’s Country Music issue will land on newsstands across the state, the first comprehensive exploration of the genre in Oklahoma Today’s fifty-five-year history and the first time the magazine has printed six collectible covers.
“With our state’s incredible history and talent in every conceivable facet of country music, even we are a little surprised it took us fifty-five years to produce this issue,” says Steffie Corcoran, editor in chief of Oklahoma Today. “It includes a state-of-the-genre feature written by Holly Bailey, senior political reporter for Yahoo! News; a discography by Ryan LaCroix; and a history piece on Roger Miller by Randy Krehbiel. Thanks to a suggestion from our publisher, Joan Henderson, we made the decision to publish six covers.”
“The more we thought about it, the more we realized how impossible it was to convey Oklahoma’s country music legacy on just one cover,” says Henderson. “That’s why we decided to print six featuring the state’s current superstars: Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Toby Keith, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, and Blake Shelton.”
Subscribers will receive one of the six, while Blake Shelton will be on the cover of all newsstand copies. The issue features an intimate profile of the Tishomingo resident and reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year. In “Team Blake,” by Dyrinda Tyson, Shelton discusses married life, finding his voice through NBC’s blockbuster reality show The Voice, and getting back to his Oklahoma roots. “Help Wanted” sheds light on the work that superstar Oklahoma artists like Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith, and Reba McEntire are doing for communities in and near their home state.
When it came to compiling a list of the top Oklahoma country albums, the magazine turned to contributing editor Ryan LaCroix.
“The discography was a full-body dive into Oklahoma country music,” says LaCroix, founder and editor of OklahomaRock.com.
LaCroix, who has been Oklahoma Today’s music writer since his discography in the 2009 Rock and Roll issue, had a difficult time narrowing down his list in “Pure Country.”
“With our state’s rich country music history, the discography easily could have expanded to a hundred or more,” he says.
The discography inspired LaCroix to conduct an Oklahoma country song countdown on OklahomaRock.com. The top ten songs were revealed on August 30 and 31; Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” was deemed Oklahoma’s number-one country music song.
“There are some real gems in the list, and I think it’s a good extension of the discography,” says LaCroix.
In advance of the Country issue’s publication, Oklahoma Today posted teasers on each of the six covers on Twitter and Facebook. The issue is available upon request.
Photocredits for cover images: Blake Shelton and Toby Keith, Andrew Southam; Reba McEntire, Russ Harrington; Vince Gill, Jim McGuire; Carrie Underwood, Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images; Garth Brooks, Bev Parker