Queen of Oklahoma
Queen of Oklahoma’s Pastures of Plenty Debut
This writer first [Sidenote: Our tenth Woodyfest 2018 story features the “Queen of Oklahoma,” singer-songwriter Carter Sampson.] saw Carter Sampson , when she played a short set at the Community Improvement Association (CIA) Stage at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. A few die-hards sat in the folding steel chairs at the outdoor venue, braving the 91° F (32.8° C) temperature and 51 percent humidity as long as the beer vendor kept the suds coming. This reporter was between assignments and decided to stick around.
Wearing her trademark red boots, Sampson told the audience that she’s loved country music since she was a child. She was disappointed when, as a teenager, she realized her parents hadn’t named her “Carter” after the Carter Family. [Sidenote: She is, however, distantly related to country music and rockabilly legend Roy Orbison; he was her great-grandfather’s cousin.] This setback did not keep her from picking up a guitar at age fifteen. Writing songs soon followed.
Without ever having seen her, this writer would be a fan. Apparently not the only one — Sampson averages 220 shows a year. Considering she runs her career as a one-woman shop, handling everything including the booking, it’s astounding she’s had time to found and direct her non-profit. The annual Oklahoma City Rock ’n’ Roll Camp for Girls teaches aspiring girls, young women, and young non-binary students the ins-and-outs of the music business, culminating in a band showcase before a packed auditorium. The camp is in its third year.
A short list of Sampson’s achievements and awards includes a spot as a Mountain Stage NewSong Contest finalist, first-place in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest (general category) for her song “Wild Bird,” Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriters Showcase finalist, and fourth-place in the Telluride Troubadour Contest at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. In she performed her song “Tomorrow’s Light” at the Lincoln Center.
This was Sampson’s first year to play the big stage at the pasture. She’d added a pair of gold boots to her wardrobe, as well as a new album to her repertoire. The set wasn’t her first Big Stage appearance, and it won’t be her last.