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'Hick Hop' by Eddie Glenn

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - The eclectic folk singer, Eddie Glenn, is starting to be known as one of the most interesting songwriters in northeastern Oklahoma. He has just released his second album, "Hick Hop" (EG Music) which features some of the most respected musicians from the Tahlequah area, including Steve Kirkpatrick and Mick Thomas of Bliss McCain, and Melissa Morgan from the popular (yet recently disbanded) Siren. The musicians working around the Cherokee capitol have created a unique style that blends influences from rock, folk, blues, and western swing together in one streamlined groove, and Glenn's quirky songs are perfect medium for showcasing that sound.

The genius of "Hick Hop" is that it goes against the idea of being in any particular genre. The disc opens with a country song and goes through hip-hop beats, comedy songs, and touching folk pieces, to create a singular and unique vision. One of the strongest songs is the gentle "Quantum Waltz" which is a beautiful example of how Glenn adds layers of meaning; it was inspired by the profound disillusionment Einstein had in the wake the destruction of Hiroshima, but doubles as a song about a lost love. "Talkin' Arab Blues" (pronounced A-rab) starts out like a xenophobic flag waver, but slowly reveals that it's an anti-racism song that lampoons such extremist philosophy.

Glenn is reluctantly accepting the title of "folk musician," for lack of a better label. "It's almost embarrassing to call yourself a folk musician anymore," Glenn said. "One day I was making fun of folk music and Murv Jacobs (the Tahlequah artist who also provided the cover art for "Hick Hop") said 'You know, if Woody Guthrie were alive right now, he would be doing what you're doing, and he wouldn't mind calling himself a folk musician, so think about it. A folk musician is someone who makes music pertinent to their people, whether it's Indian causes or whatever.' So I thought about it and I finally got over it," Glenn laughed.

The folk musician notes that one of the major influences on the album was Steve Earle's "Sidetracks," a collection of songs that were cut from albums or appeared only on soundtracks. "We could listen to that album over and over because there were so many different styles on that CD," Glenn said, "from country to bluegrass, reggae, country rock, and even a Nirvana song. I thought if he could do it, I could too. The Beatles used to do it, the Rolling Stones would put country songs on a rock album, and I knew that's what I wanted to do. You never know which CD is going to be your last one, so why not put out a huge variety of stuff?"

While Earle may be the major influence in mixing styles, Glenn points to Brian Eno as a producer who influenced his productions. He is planning an ambient album (background soundscapes) in the style of the producer's famous series. "I don't have a favorite musician: I have favorite producers. Some day I would like to do something like Eno's 'Music for Airports' which came out the same day as Lou Reed's 'Metal Machine Music,'" Glenn said. "Those are opposite ends of the spectrum that I really like. We have talked about doing some Native ambient music with traditional drumming and electronics. The American Indians were the first ambient musicians."

"I really enjoy playing five-hole flute. I thought a lot about putting a flute on 'This Town' because the song is really about Tahlequah, and it has some references to the Little People and some of the other Cherokee mythology. I passed that up and used harmonica instead because it has gotten to the point where when you hear that sound it's automatically labeled and set aside as strictly Native. It's really sad, because there are so many great flute players out there, but it has been horribly overdone, so my flute album will not be coming out for some time," Glenn laughed.

Glenn's first album, "Un-PC," was a collection of purposefully offensive satirical songs along the line of "Talkin' Arab Blues." The album features songs from the point of view of a conspiracy theorist with a gun and a conservative advocating forced genocide on the elderly. Glenn recorded the album because he felt like everything has gotten too politically correct. Being a professional journalist, Glenn is one of a growing number of Native writers who are having concerns about the ramification the current protest against the use of Indian mascots by sports teams could have on basic freedom of speech issues, including his own style of satire. "My guitarist is Kiowa and very anti-mascot and he and I just agree to disagree with that," Glenn said. "I'm a big fan of Thomas Jefferson. The mascot issue is definitely something that needs to be addressed, and it's not that I agree with the pro-mascot side, but I also do not agree with censorship. Jefferson said that truth can stand alone, only falsehoods need support from the government. It's hard to be a musician and let that philosophy come out without offending people, so I decided to go ahead and offend people. The ones who get it are the ones I want listening to my music anyway. I'll go out on a limb and say we have some of the most intelligent fans out there; we don't have a lot of fans, but the ones we have are brilliant," Glenn laughed.

Eddie Glenn's CD is available from Eddie Glenn Records, P.O. Box 1999, Tahlequah, OK 74465, for more information, e-mail eddieglenn@mac.com.