Home-Grown Talent: Oklahoma Band Pushes to Develop State's Entertainment Industry

Article excerpt

Oklahoma is sitting on a huge natural resource that has yet to be developed into a mature, highly profitable industry, say the members of the band Horseshoe Road. Now, as the state of Oklahoma is basking in the spotlight of its centennial year, is the perfect time for the state's entertainment industry to come into its own.

Horseshoe Road is doing its part to raise the profile of Oklahoma's music industry with an international tour - which kicks off tonight in Bricktown - and a documentary, both official Oklahoma centennial events. And they're using the opportunity to encourage other Oklahoma business people to get serious about entertainment.

"Toby, Vince, Reba, Garth - the amount of money just those four people have generated for Tennessee is just amazing," said guitar player and singer Dustin Jones. "Oklahoma has such vast natural resources in the music industry. What we're doing by refusing to leave and go to Nashville - and we've had a lot of people tell us that's what we need to do - is trying to encourage and educate business people in this state that music is an industry. It's a huge industry."

Oklahoma can claim an impressive list of music industry superstars, but all made it big in the industry by working with companies based in other states. That needs to change, said Kyle Dillingham, fiddle player and singer for Horseshoe Road. The Oklahoma Film and Music Commission performed a huge service to the budding industry by organizing a wide array of entertainment industry professionals - many of whom had never before met, said Dillingham.

"It was one of those meetings that's frustrating and encouraging at the same time, because we saw there's a lot to be done in organizing the industry," said Dillingham. The hardest part is simply changing the mind-set of Oklahomans from thinking of music in- state "as a hobby, but if you want to do music professionally you've got to go somewhere else," to building and using the industry infrastructure here at home.

"There's hundreds of different jobs that you can work in the entertainment industry," said Dillingham. …