RoadNotes #2 The Blue Door
As many of you know, my musical life is centered in Berlin and happens mostly in Germany. It’s very hard for me to get gigs in the US. Even in areas that have played my music on folk and college radio stations, clubs want new acts that are young and edgy. So much for me, at least in the young category.
The exception to this is a club in Oklahoma City called the Blue Door, where I have played once a year or so for the past 15 years. This little gem, which holds around 100 people, is considered by most songwriters lucky enough to perform there among the best listening rooms in the country and certainly the best in Oklahoma. It’s in a small wooden structure that was built in the 1920s and was formerly a neighborhood grocery store and an auto harp factory. As you can see in the picture, the building leans and this is reputed to be the foundation of the room’s extraordinary acoustic properties.
My life-long friend Greg Johnson, who owns and manages the Blue Door, is completely dedicated to the art of songwriting and songwriter. He books both established and even famous songwriters (Jimmy Web, Arlo Guthrie, Ray Wylie Hubbard) as well as young tunesmiths looking for an audience. As long as Greg sees talent and honesty in a songwriter, they get a chance at the Blue Door, even if they will only draw a handful of people.
The room began its musical life as the Hotel Bohemia in 1989, when it was run by, and the home of, legendary OKC singer/songwriter Mary Catherine Reynolds. Greg took over in 1993 and since then an amazing array of talent has graced the Blue Door stage. I can’t list then all here, but check out the Blue Door website and I guarantee you’ll be impressed.
My good friend Rusty Muns is now making a documentary about Greg and the Blue Door, and if I don’t get left on the cutting room floor, I’ll get to be in the film with the likes of Jimmy Web, Kevin Welch, John Fullbright, Terry ‘Buffalo’ Ware, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Michael Fracasso. Click here to check out the documentary and herefor parts of my interview transcript.
I’ll always be indebted to Greg for our friendship and his support of my music. It’s an honor and a thrill to play the Blue Door.