A cymbal taps lightly as it blends smoothly into the background. A bass kick starts followed by a few light hits of a snare. That's how you let the beat build. The cymbal clashes as a piano comes in soo soulfully playing along with the drums. But this still doesn't feel like the main ingredient, not just yet. A funky electric guitar pierces through the beat. That's that main ingredient I was searching for. Now this feels right. This feels familiar. The crowd starts to cheer and clap. Then he starts to rap, "Check. I can see my old school, use to be a young Hawk. my girl was a Miller Driller, that's where it all started...' I start to sing along having heard this song before.
By this time were 2 mins and 40 seconds in and I'm jammin' word for word. "Let's put the love back in it, cause it ain't here any mo". Then the beat switches and an angelic voice starts singing, "You abandoned me, love don't live here anymore". This has to be Tea Rush, I know that angel's voice anywhere. But I've heard this song before back when my auntie use to throw parties, but I'm not quite sure of the artist. But it feels so right with the track. I even start to sing it. "Love don't live here any mo." It's this cool vibe of Tea Rush and Steph going back and forth. The crowd starts clapping. THE TRACK STOPS. WHO COULD BE CALLING NOW??? Don't know this number. IGNORE! Steph starts backup rapping, "Aye.. I said, This is God Givin', this is Lord willin', this is the difference from livin'.. I adjust my earbuds as the chorus comes back in and I start singing "and just Existin'.". Steph finishes out the verse as I think... "WHAT A FUCKING WAY TO START OFF AN ALBUM..".
On November 26th, 2016 at the Nightingale Theater in front of a sold out crowd Steph Simon and The Rowlands band showed Tulsa that the Vision is still very much alive. Performing a selection of tracks from his previously released "Visions From the Tisdale" album Steph recorded this live performance to create what is now "Live From the Tisdale", a 12 track live performance album. What really separates this project from the other is the incorporation of the live band "The Rowlands", who together with Steph created something special that you just had to be there. And that's what he shares with this album, the feeling of being there.
The feel of this album is amazing, The Rowlands band brings to life an album that is already so full of life, culture, and most importantly Tulsa. Tulsa is this album, and so are the amazing artists featured who give just as much to Tulsa as it has given to them. Most notably are some of my favorite tracks TulsaXWorld (that features Sincere Grant, Dial Tone and Young DV). and also my other favorite "So Much Flavor" (that features Sincere Grant, Dial Tone and Keeng Cut). All I can say is that Dial Tone's flow and delivery is so playa on this track. And it wouldn't be a flavor track without Keeng Cut a.k.a. Flavio Cútatore, who spits one of my favorite lines off the album, "Still the same playa that went to Clevaland, pullin' hoes at Carver." And the irony is, I went to Carver. lol.
As the next song starts to play I begin to wonder. Why do we love live music? To us it's not convenient. We intentionally go out of our way. Why? Because of the experience. That's why we stand in long lines, that's why we spend that last couple of dollars that was suppose to be for tomorrow's lunch, that's why we drive hours to a venue. It's the experience. And Steph Simon creates an experience with his roll call on the 3rd verse to the track "Chillin' On It". That shows his appreciation to his day 1's and all the people who come out to support.
What line do you feel goes over peoples head the most? What line did I say... We were talkin about 'We On' bro. When I said 'Out the ashes, from the soil, grew a black wall seed offspring, coming back like karma, stay connected like a harness, til we grow like farmers, but I want it all brand new socks and draws.
I remember interviewing Steph Simon and asking him, what line on the album he thought went over people's head the most? And I remember him replying with this crazy line that I had missed on the album completely. I remember thinking in my head and naming off all my favorite tracks but not remembering that line on any of them. This all along the while he was still talking. Then suddenly I snapped back into the conversation as he said "We On". We On was track I admittedly slept on. Not because it was bad I truly think the album version had all the makings of a soulful track, but there was just something missing that left me wanting a little more from it. But that's until I heard it LIVE. And that's when I learned that J-Museic (the vocalists on the track) could saanngg and I mean saaangg, this track was meant to be heard live.
For years Tulsa has had an identity crisis of not knowing it's self and not knowing how great it could be. Either you were from Atlanta, or you were from Texas, or you were from Cali. But never Tulsa. But Steph Simon is from Tulsa and he has long planted the seeds that have come into fruition with this album. It took a track like "The Gap" which includes a tribute to the Gap Band and there song "Outstanding", it took Tulsa artists placed throughout the album for Tulsa to be cool to rep. So it's safe to say that "Live From The Tisdale" is Unapologetically Tulsa. And as the street lights come on and the last track finishes, I would ask Steph only one question about this album and the success of it all, and without even asking I'm sure he would say..."I HAD A VISION".
Please go and checkout this amazing album "Live From The Tisdale" can be purchased:
Stream and Download Steph Simon's project "Live From The Tisdale" here: "Live From the Tisdale"