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Paul Benjaman’s Sunday Nite Thing
July 14 | 5:30 pm CDT
An event every week that begins at 5:30 pm on Sunday, repeating indefinitely
Opened in 1958, originally as The Colony Inn, this legendary Tulsa hotspot has been sold and reopened several times. In the 70’s Leon Russell owned this joint and folks still come by telling stories of Eric Clapton and George Harrison getting out of limos to play in the corner of this little bar. As recently as four years ago, live music at the Colony was forbidden by the landlord. When after months of phone calls to the Landlord, Elliot Nelson acquired the place. Elliot’s fathered remembered the long time “IV Play” as “the place that had Gogo dancers. I think it was called the Colony”. So it began. Brian Fontaine was put at the helm and slowly re-introduced live performances. The classically fashionable brick-and-wood bar evolved into an unlikely seven-nights-a-week music venue.. Tulsa had finally developed a place locals could come to support original music every night and enjoy as musicians brought their ideas together to develop their craft.
“We loved all the musicians that played here,” Fontaine explained. “They were our friends and we wanted them to be in here every night, because it changed the whole scene of this place.”
Now, The Colony has become a central figure in the modern-day Tulsa music scene, and has helped local artists shape the new Tulsa Sound. The historical significance of Leon Russell and JJ Cale’s presence here has become a foundation for the next generation; several bands have settled into those legendary grooves as they’ve played weekly gigs for the last several years, including Vandevander, Wink Burcham and Pilgrim. Vandevander’s raw energy was captured live on the 2009 release of “The Great State of The Colony”. The feature length concert/documentary included interviews stating the relationship built between the bar and the band. Wink Burcham and Pilgrim will both be releasing live albums later this year that were recorded at The Colony this past spring.
In June, The Colony released a compilation CD entitled, “The New Tulsa Sound” featuring 18 tracks. This compilation is a single snapshot of 18 artists that have emerged in a modern Tulsa. More to come…