They say that “age ain’t nothin’ but a number,” and never has the adage been truer than it is for Okemah native John Fullbright. At only 23 years old, his reputation as a songwriter belies his age, and he has easily become one of the most talked about musicians in Oklahoma.
Although he’s often compared to legend and fellow Okemah native Woody Guthrie, Fullbright is very much in a class of his own, staying true to the age-old tradition of storytelling in songcraft while exuding an ever-present sense of youthful possibility.
“I grew up in a small town and didn’t really have many friends. I spent a lot of time alone. When you do that, you get to thinking a lot and figuring out the world on your own terms. There’s a lot to be said about isolation (and desolation),” he says.
“I’d say I really started writing the introspective stuff right about that young age when you first start noticing girls and the world starts seeming really unfair – when you start to write because you have to, and it’s the only thing you’ve got. It becomes the only thing you’ve got to fight back with.”
While pursuing a college degree, Fullbright got his foot in the music scene playing keyboards for the Mike McClure Band before branching off on his own as a solo artist.
Armed with the impressive artillery of original songs, he hooked up with manager and Blue Door owner Greg Johnson in Oklahoma City, where he says the ball really started rolling.
His “calling card,” the Live at the Blue Door CD, remains a local favorite among music enthusiasts since it was recorded three years ago, and he’s currently working on his first “industry standard” record that will include both older and newer songs.
As for landing a big break, he says that he’s enjoying how he hasn’t experienced just one, because the breaks continue to happen.
“I keep having those. Opening for guys like Kevin Welch and Jimmy Webb – people that I consider to be the greatest of the great – and just getting to feel like I’m part of the same club and the same family as guys who do and say such big things… I don’t know what a big break feels like to anyone else, but that’s what a big break feels like to me.”