The Arhoolie Foundation has teamed up with Little Village Foundation to produce “Working From Home,” a video series of mini house concerts recorded live by traditional musicians trying to make it through the current public health crisis doing what they do best. Please join us in supporting these working musicians by donating directly to them through the links provided. We will match the first $500 in donations to each.
This week’s episode features Casey Van Beek and the Tulsa Groove, carrying on the legendary Tulsa sound of forerunners like Leon Russell, JJ Cale, and Elvin Bishop. Their new record, Heaven Forever, is out now on Little Village.
Donate directly to Casey Van Beek and the Tulsa Grrove:
(Together, AF & LVF will match the first $500 donated)
Casey Van Beek was born in Holland but raised in Los Angeles from the age of five, and fit right in to the burgeoning local ‘60s rock scene. By his teens he was playing bass and singing in The Vibrants, who opened for The Dave Clark Five and for the The Rolling Stones’ first L.A. area show, and also toured with Peter and Gordon. He moved on to backing the wonderful Linda Ronstadt, along with two guys named Don Henley and Glenn Frey. When the duo left to start the Eagles, Casey headed to Tulsa with Don Preston to record on Don’s new album on Leon Russell’s Shelter Records label.
It took a while to find his way into the scene, but fairly soon he was in a band with Walt Richmond and Jim Byfield. And is once more. Eventually, Casey joined Tulsa’s multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated band The Tractors, which included Casey, Walt Richmond, and future Tulsa Groove member Ron Getman. Three members of the Groove (Richmond, Byfield, and Steve Hickerson), would back Bonnie Raitt during her tenure in Tulsa, playing shows in the area to (successfully!) protest the construction of the Black Fox Nuclear Power Plant. Walt would go on to play on Tulsan JJ Cale’s Grammy-winning Gold album collaboration with Eric Clapton, The Road to Escondido, so impressing Eric that he’s played on all but one of his albums since then.
In recent years, Casey and Walt Richmond began to get tight, first recording classic Christmas songs, then writing original Christmas songs, then gathering at Walt’s home studio to record more of their own originals and favorite covers, selecting the best players around to add their touches on a few songs at a time. This wasn’t to satisfy anyone’s record contract or dreams of stardom, but out of camaraderie and an enjoyment of each other’s musical company; music for music’s sake. There’s a purity to that. Their latest record, Heaven Forever, produced by Walt Richmond for Little Village Foundation, showcases what they are capable of when they focus their in-demand skills on their own music. Carrying on the legendary Tulsa sound of forerunners like Leon Russell, JJ Cale and Elvin Bishop, the band is adding their own new flavors while keeping that historic tradition alive for current and future generations.