In 2014, I spent 80 percent of my music budget locally seeing artists that were mostly unknown to me a year earlier. Along the way, I met some great people who like the rest of us are struggling to survive, but living good lives and creating art out of life.

Everyone on this playlist and many others are influenced by Woody, Bob Childers, Bob Wills and the glorious history of music and musicians from in and around Oklahoma — especially Payne County. I would put our musical legacy up against any other state in the union.

  1. My Last Name Is WilliamsMonica Taylor | Cotton Shirt
  2. World Gone CrazyJared Tyler | Here With You
  3. Bring Back The TrainsJimmy LaFave | Depending On The Distance
  4. Cherokee MaidenThe Cherokee Maidens | The Cherokee Maidens & Sycamore Swing
  5. My MadisonScott Copeland | 13 Songs I Wrote
  6. Love Had ComeDon Conoscenti | Turn Here
  7. CavalierJohn Calvin Abney | Empty Candles
  8. Treat Me That Way — Kyle Reid & The Low Swinging Chariots | Alright, Here We Go…
  9. Going HomeJohn Fullbright | Songs
  10. Death in ArkansasEliza Gilkyson | Roses at the End of Time
  11. Guitar ManDon Morris | Backroads
  12. Nickel’s Worth Of DifferenceTom Skinner | The First Five
  13. Rearview MirrorChuck Dunlap | Porch Songs
  14. SurviveMary Catherine Reynolds | Puppy
  15. Payne County LineCarter Sampson | Good For the Meantime
  16. The Good OnesWink Burcham | Irene Vennie
  17. It Ain’t No Secret — Rick Reiley | Mud & Bone
  18. YosemiteParker Millsap | Parker Millsap
  19. DecreeAni DiFranco | Reprieve
  20. Where the Arkansas River Leaves OklahomaRed Dirt Rangers | Lone Chimney

I saw everyone on this list perform live this year — some in smokey bars around Stillwater, a lot in a little Church down in Perkins, at a Country Club in Cushing, at the legendary Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa and at the Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City. I bought all of this music — most of it on CD because the artists make more when you buy CDs at their shows.

Just because they’re not on this list, doesn’t mean I didn’t get a chance to catch Terry Ware, Gene Williams, Travis Fite, the Tequila Songbirds, Miss Brown to You or many others who played featured and supporting roles.

A lot of this music got me through some tough times: I lost one of my best friends to brain cancer, my favorite cat died suddenly, and… Let’s just leave it at that.

It was an ear opening year.