Oklahoma Outfit has a history — a really short history.
Their performance at this year’s Rock Showcase put them on the radar of many Belmont students, but there’s another story behind their performance. Technically, the group’s first gig was the audition to be in the showcase.
Besides the tryout, which allowed them to play alongside bigger Belmont names, they’ve played two house shows and the Showcase itself. So far, that’s it for the four-piece rock ‘n’ roll band that includes Hank Born on guitar and lead vocals, Calvin Knowles on the bass, Peter Jenkins on a second guitar, and Josh Kleppin on the drums.
“The timeline for us has been accelerated. Some bands sit in a garage for four months before they have their first show – we had to throw songs in we had never really practiced.” – Josh Kleppin
Oklahoma Outfit is catching up with its growing reputation with a slot at Exit/In for the Belmont Bands Benefit Child Soldiers showcase on Dec. 6. Plans are under way for their first EP to be released this winter.
“The energy of playing a live show, the energy of a crowd – that can bring melodies to me, and adaptations to songs.” – Peter Jenkins
Even though Oklahoma Outfit is a new band, its members have a history. Most of them performed together in some way long before the fruition of the band itself. In their hometown of Tulsa, Okla., Born and Jenkins played a sixth-grade talent show together, and Born also played alongside Knowles in a high school jazz band.
“We’re trying to progressively add to our vocabulary.” – Hank Born
It’s important to the members that their sound is consistently developing through the shows they play, their practices, and through their influences. Oklahoma Outfit’s sound encompasses a variety of tastes and influence in its early stages, and it can’t yet be pinned to a single genre. The band’s warm, basement-style tracks are catchy, to say the least, and have caught the attention of many Belmont students.
“So far, we have attempted to write some songs with contrasting styles, but common musicianship will keep them cohesive.” – Calvin Knowles
As musicians with a fairly common taste in music and individual formal training, the musicianship is already there – band members say they’ve never really had an inefficient practice. Born and Knowles are the songwriters of the group, and their talent for it is obvious when Born’s soulful voice growls them into the microphone.
“I think I speak for all of us when I say I’ve just kind of been in and out of different kinds of music in terms of what I listen to. We wanted to create something, but didn’t want anything too binding. – Hank Born