There’s a new band in town, and the red dirt rockin’ Smokin’ Oaks are hungry to prove themselves as a contender on the Okie music scene.
The four-man band consists of lead singer Colton Blake, electric guitarist Slade Cross, bass guitarist Conner Pattison, and drummer Noah Morris.
Their manager is Slade’s dad – the former Cross Canadian Ragweed bass guitarist and Grady’s Pub co-owner, Grady Cross.
While three-out-of-four band members are fresh out of high school, they are no newbies to the music scene.
Having played around the Oklahoma City area for the last year, the Smokin’ Oaks have spent the last year performing several gigs at Grady’s Pub in Yukon, were headliners at the Canadian County Free Fair, played acoustically at Ellis Island Coffee House in Edmond, and volunteered to play a benefit concert at the Ritz Theater in Shawnee – among other shows.
With an incendiary sound, the sound of the Smokin’ Oaks is a “red dirt Okie rock style – more rock than red dirt,” lead singer Colton Blake said.
“There’s obviously a lot of Ragweed in there. I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers and listened to a lot of Matchbox 20 growing-up,” Blake said. “As a band, I would say the sound that influences us a lot is Read Southall and Austin Meade. Needless to say, we are all over the place and we love it. A lot of rock, country, punk, and alternative in our sound.”
To understand their sound is to know the band members.
Band member Slade Cross knew from a young age that he loved music and wanted to follow in his dad, Grady’s, footsteps in one way or another.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been watching my dad play or watching bands come into the pub. I’ve just grown-up around it. A few years ago, I helped my dad set-up the stage for Rock the Route entertainer Kevin Fowler, and just kind of caught the bug for performing that day.”
During the pandemic, Slade spent a lot of time working on his music at home. His friend and eventual brother in the band, Noah Morris, came over to jam and hang-out. This led to a love of playing music together, Morris said.
“I started playing drums when I was 12 years old. When COVID hit, there was nothing to do. I sat in my room, picked-up a guitar, and developed a love for playing music. After Slade and I started jamming, we found out that we both wanted to do something with music in the future and play our sound for people to enjoy.”
TIME TO RECRUIT
With the idea of a band in mind, Slade recruited his elementary and high school friend, Conner Pattison, to serve as bass guitarist. While Pattison has been practicing his craft on the side for a while now, he was excited to form the band with his friends, he said.
“Slade and Noah had been playing together and needed someone on bass. They asked me to join, and the rest is kind of history. During our senior year at Yukon High School, we thought it would be fun to team-up and see what we could do musically.”
When the trio found-out that Slade’s cousin, Colton Blake, was moving to town, they asked him to fill the lead singer vacancy.
Blake grew-up listening to red dirt Texas music. He’s been playing the guitar and performing at talent shows since he was 10 years old. At the tender age of 17, he hit the red dirt scene and has been playing solo and acoustic sets, as well as working on his stage presence.
The Smokin’ Oaks band name is a mixture of the names of the streets and housing additions the boys have lived on at one point in their lives.
“Obviously, quite a few of us have lived in Smoking Oaks (housing addition) east of Yukon either currently or at one point or another,” Pattison laughed.
With band members and a fresh name in place, the crew has been regularly practicing their craft and writing music together, Blake added.
“We do play a lot of cover songs, but we also have some original music that we are adding to our set list. A couple of songs I wrote personally before I joined the band include ‘Tequila for Whiskey’ and ‘Call Me Demented’. Together, we have written ‘Please Accept Me’ and ‘Without a Doubt’.”
The Smokin’ Oaks are currently working on studio time and posting their music on all the online platforms. Their future plans include playing music to a broader audience, Blake said.
“We plan on going to Stillwater, all over Oklahoma, and heading to Texas. We are ready to hit some surrounding states and show everyone what we’ve got.”