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About The OK Corral

Lorton, VA

“I think we’d regret it if we didn’t give this a legitimate shot.”

This was the mantra recent high school graduates Brett Nickley and Michael Matthews followed when forming The OK Corral in 2007. Originally an acoustic duo, singer/songwriter Nickley and lead guitarist Matthews would spend summer months playing shows anywhere they could and recording new ideas on an old four-track. Demos from these basement sessions still survive deep in the music libraries of some of their friends and original fans.

The desire to form a full band was always in the back of both their minds though, and in 2008 The OK Corral played its first club show to a sold out crowd at Vienna, Virginia’s Jammin Java. Michael Burbrink would take over drum duties, while Brett’s younger brother Scott sang back-up and played keys. The band finalized their lineup in 2009 bringing along Mike Baird on bass.

The OK Corral’s first attempt at a full band recording came in the form of the self-produced Sleeping Patterns EP which spanned genres from folk rock and indie pop to experimental. Although many of the individual songs were popular with fans and bandmates alike, it lacked the continuity that the band was looking for, and did not provide a tangible “sound.” However, two songs would be salvaged from the EP; the powerful opening track “Bet the Farm,” and the band’s catchiest cut, “A Liar and a Thief (Sad Girl).” These songs were used as cornerstones to write what would be Something American.

Something American was recorded in the summer of 2010 with locally renowned producer Sean Small. With over twenty new song ideas since the Sleeping Patterns EP, the band narrowed the track listing down to a concise ten. The title track, “Something American,” was one of the first songs written for the album. Brett Nickley describes the album title in these words:

“I wanted Something American to sound unmistakably like an American rock record. It’s not about any sort of great nationalism we feel… just consider it an homage to the American bands we love.”

Musically, Something American draws heavily from Springsteen-inspired outfits The Hold Steady and The Gaslight Anthem (“Something American,” “The Finer Things”), as well as modern radio mainstays Weezer (“1994,” “Gasoline”) and The Killers (“Countdown”). It is very much a guitar-driven album, heavy on riffs and solos, but also offers mature vocal and piano arrangements. Songs transition logically and smoothly from one to the next, which makes Something American feel like an album rather than a collection of songs.

Lyrically, Something American is a coming-of-age album with recurring themes including youth, Christianity, and Americana. The overall feeling of nostalgia is underlined with classic songwriting and anthemic choruses. Storytelling is also a large component in Nickley’s lyrics. Vignettes span from the purely fictional (“Bet the Farm”) to the autobiographical (“Good Years”), and everything in between.

With the release of their debut LP, The OK Corral looks to expand their fan base and presence in the national music scene. The band has already had the chance to play at both tiny clubs and large venues as well as with signed and unsigned artists. In the upcoming months, they look to support Something American with as many shows as possible.

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More About The Artist

Portrait of The OK Corral
The OK Corral