Free Association Cover

This week’s Creator Conversation is with the Tulsa band, Free Association, as I chat with about their self-titled debut album as well as First Fridays, their favorite places to perform, and the grooviest blue thing in Oklahoma.

How do you describe yourself and your music?

“Thoughtful driving rock” – John Finnerty

“I have a lot of difficulty describing our music because I feel like the songs are all different in their own way. There’s definitely unifying themes or a collection of influences but I find it hard to put my finger on a description.” – Joshua Ricks

“It’s a song cycle that explores a group of chords. They don’t really sound the same but they walk through similar melodic and harmonic terrain. It’s interesting to get these emotional tenors out of a relatively unified group of building blocks.” – John Cruncleton III

What pushed you to share your music with the world?

“I just want to share my experiences with the hope that maybe it will help someone listening feel not so alone in what they’re feeling. Music has definitely done that for me. Even if a song doesn’t give you a new perspective or insight on your experience it can at least let you know someone else has felt the same thing you have.” – Joshua Ricks

Use only seven words to describe your self-titled album. Go!

“Relieving, alluring, open.” – John Finnerty

“Expressive” – Joshua Ricks

“Refreshing” – Steve Beard

“Expansive, vulnerable” – Delaney Zumwalt

What was the greatest challenge you had when making the album?

“The process was pretty free flowing, the most difficult parts were just getting the right people in the room at the same time together. Mike Gilliland did an incredible job fostering an environment where everyone felt free to express themselves.” – Joshua Ricks

What’s something positive you try to keep in mind or do when negativity surrounds you so that you can keep moving forward?

“It’s just starting to do it, if you have that first gig, that first rehearsal you just have to start and build momentum.” – Steve Beard

“Just getting moving is what helps me deal with negativity. If I focus on a more tangible issue or goal it helps me process the more ethereal or intangible ones.” – Joshua Ricks

Free Association Group Photo - Provided Image

What do you like to do on the First Friday?

The Living arts museum always has good exhibits, but Delaney usually has a gig somewhere so I’ll go hangout with her at the gig. First Friday brings people out downtown that don’t normally go so it’s a great time to just be out and about and experience local art.” – Joshua Ricks

What are some of your favorite places to perform or listen to live music in Oklahoma?

Guthrie Green, I appreciate their dedication to the bands. Soul City’s outside stage is also really fun. Their patio is one of my favorite places to sit and watch people play.” – Delaney Zumwalt

The Colony is great because of the stage sound.” – Steve Beard

“You almost can’t have a bad gig at The Colony.” – John Finnerty

The Colony is super cozy and we really just groove well there, we can always hear ourselves and it’s comfortable. You can also reliably make a couple bucks there.” – Joshua Ricks

What is the grooviest blue thing in Oklahoma?

“Steve Beard” – Delaney Zumwalt

What else would you like people to know about yourself and your music?

“It’s cool that our live performance doesn’t try to adhere to the artifact of the recording. The songs allow themselves evolve. “ – John Cruncleton III

“The songs are malleable, and that’s what makes it fun. The songs continue to be a window to a moment in time for all of us.” – Delaney Zumwalt

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Dennis Spielman

I'm Dennis Spielman, the Producer of Uncovering Oklahoma, which I started in 2009 as a way to show that Oklahoma isn't boring. As for about myself, I’m a creative person that writes imaginative stories. I also run The Show Starts Now Studios, which is my umbrella organization for all of my shows I create. Come join me on Patreon as I create content that adds adventure and wonder to peoples' lives. More about my stories and projects are at