Acoustic Ross
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Acoustic Ross

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1994 | SELF

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1994
Solo Comedy Singer/Songwriter




"Spot Music Awards nomination"

Acoustic Ross can be funny peculiar, but most of his songs are funny ha-ha. Several of them are LOL and ROTFL. He's a smart aleck with a guitar, but he's a smart smart aleck, writing songs with a lone acoustic guitar that continues the tradition of Tom Lehrer, Wally Pleasant and everyone else who's ever been shoved into Dr. Demento's particular pigeonhole. His friendly demeanor belies his acid wit, and his take on modern life is good medicine.

-- Spot Awards 2002 nominee bio - Tulsa World

"Anti-Folk Alternative: Tulsa gets a primer on movement that promises 'service with a smirk'"

by Thomas Conner, World Entertainment Writer

Ross is a good ol' boy who could easily be mistaken for, well, a good ol' boy. Armed with an acoustic guitar, he strides onto the stage in a worn pair of jeans, and no doubt most of the audience braces for some standard singer-songwriter fare and another séance conjuring the ghost of Woody Guthrie.

But if you look more closely, Ross's guitar bears a scrawled slogan that, instead of Guthrie's "This Machine Kills Fascists," says, "This Machine Kills Fashion."

Five minutes later, that same audience is busting a gut laughing.

Ross wields the acoustic guitar for the ridiculous more than the sublime, writing his "comedy rock with a dark side" in the style of his heroes: Dr. Demento staples like Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg, plus the fierce, blistering acoustic attack of Ed Hamell (Hamell on Trial). If he sings a protest song, it's more of a comedy routine, or as he says, "a one-man assault on all things idiotic" and "service with a smirk."

He's one side of a musical sub-genre known on the East Coast as anti-folk - acoustic singer-songwriters who act more like rockers, with fewer sensitive ballads and no political protest. Adam Brodsky, the king of Philadelphia anti-folk, calls it "Woody Guthrie meets punk rock."

Brodsky and Ross, along with local songwriter David R, will conduct a survey course in this new musical category at the Anti-Folk FootStomp.

"It just means we're in contrast to the mellow Jewel stuff," Ross said in an interview this week.

Ross has been performing in Tulsa for five years, after moving here from Missouri and Ohio. In Ohio, he led a band called the Vaguerants that "sounded a lot like the Violent Femmes": the band didn't follow him to Missouri, so he was forced to go solo. - Tulsa World

"AntiFolk to the Rescue: Acoustic Ross – The 918 UFN EP"

Acoustic Ross – The 918 UFN EP (Independent)

OK, I’ll admit it – I’m a closet fan of Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant, occasionally wishing it was less than 25 minutes long and got played on the radio more often than just holidays, when the DJ needs a smoke and bathroom break. If this applies to you as well, Acoustic Ross just may answer your call – look at him as a more current Arlo, if you will.

“Swept Down The Plain” caught my fancy immediately for I could thoroughly relate to the story of a northern guy transplanted in Oklahoma. “Where I grew up we never had tornadoes, but there was a basement in every house in town; now I live in Oklahoma, where it’s the other way around...” Filled with humorous observations of the differences in location and mindset, it sets the tone for the rest of the disc.

Other songs tackle such topics as Elvis Presley, “duck” tape, and spending the night with an ex – all with tongue firmly planted in cheek, and filled with inside jokes and pop culture references. The last of the new songs is a tribute to fellow anti-folkster Adam Brodsky.

With just 6 new cuts, Ross lets his geek flag fly by filling the space in DVD fashion with a “bonus features” section that includes the “Director’s commentary” for three songs, explaining the jokes and references in each as they play in the background.

Granted, the “bonus features” can grow old quickly, but he even acknowledges that they’re really only good for one listen in his commentary/ramblings. The main course of the disc actually holds up to repeated listens better than I expected, however, as the songs seem to become yours as you catch on the all of the little inside jokes and references.

Acoustic Ross’ 918 UFN EP may just what the doctor ordered as a remedy if the summer heat has got you drained and suffering from a serious case of the “blahs”. This disc’s relaxed shuffle and sense of humor should have your head bobbing, your toe tapping, and a grin on your face in no time.

Recommended for: Fans of neo-folk pop, novelty-pop, and Arlo Guthrie.

- Gary Hizer, Urban Tulsa Weekly, August 5, 2004
- Urban Tulsa Weekly

"Anti-Folk Frolic: Acoustic Ross' new CD takes a comic look at everything from Elvis to duct tape"

by Matt Gleason, World Scene Writer

Acoustic Ross digs DVD commentaries, which usually feature directors and actors rambling on about how great they are. Well, the local anti-folkie, who makes humorous reference-based acoustic folk songs, selected three tracks on his latest release, “The 918 UFN EP,” to be his own version of a rambling, special-feature commentary.

They give insight into the 33-year-old's songwriting process and explain jokes from the ode to Elvis, “Talkin' Don't Pick on the Big Guy Blues,” the ditty about the wonder of Duct Tape, “Just the Thing,” and his medley of tunes by the anti-folk hipster Adam Brodsky, “Brodsky Megamix.”

Ross did it “because then you'll see just how clever I really am -- or something,” he said, tongue firmly in cheek, on the 54-second intro to the commentaries.

Each song was written for just one use, Ross said on the “Talkin' Don't Pick...” commentary.

“That's the kind of mileage I like to get out of my stuff,” he said, “because, frankly, once you hear it two or three times it's kind of stupid and you know where the jokes are.”

“Talkin' Don't Pick...” was written for an Elvis tribute show. Instead of playing an Elvis cover, Ross opted to write an original.

“I really wanted to write a funny song about Elvis without actually taking any direct shots at Elvis himself,” Ross said. “You know, going to those same old jokes about the Fat Elvis... peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches, shooting TVs and all that junk. Everybody's done that, and, frankly, it's not funny to me.”

The lyrics include a supernatural appearance by Woody Guthrie, who tells Ross to “save all the jokes about the drugs, the weight and the craziness for Brian Wilson's birthday.”

“Just the Thing,” commonly referred to as “the Duct Tape Song,” is a reworked version of the original tune Ross submitted to a Duct Tape songwriting contest.

In the updated version of the tune, Ross describes “the gray stuff” thus: “It smells like athletes feet... It binds us all together and keeps us safe from terrorists.”

The rules specified the entry should include “Duct Tape” in the lyrics, but Ross challenged himself not to use “Duct” or “Tape.”

His entry lost.

“Brodsky Megamix” was written for Brodsky's CD release party in Philadelphia, at which Ross was invited to play. Ross chose Brodsky's “UPS” to perform but, as was the case with the Elvis tribute, Ross didn't want to do just a straight cover.

“What's the point of driving all the way to Philadelphia just to do that?” Ross said in a recent interview.

So Ross went through Brodsky's catalog and found lyrics from about 12 of Brodsky's songs, which he inserted into “UPS.”

Ross thought about doing a commentary for the EP's lead track, “Swept Down the Plain,” but with all its regional inside jokes about storm shelters, Sooners, cockfighting, 3.2 beer and more, Ross figured it wasn't worth doing.

“Anyone who gets the regional jokes will get them,” he said in the interview. “Anybody who doesn't is never going to get them, even if I explain them.”

© 2004 Tulsa World.
- Tulsa World


News From Around the Bend (2002)

The 918 UFN EP (2004)

The Anarchist Fakebook (2008)

"Fakebook" has been in regular rotation on; all three albums have been in rotation on RSU Radio's "Local Flavors" ( Acoustic Ross has also been played on the legendary Dr. Demento syndicated radio show.

Compilation appearances:
"Blizzard Blue #1" (2003)
"Conceptual Continuity" (Zappa Tribute) (2010)
" Sampler #1" (2011)



Either Tulsa's funniest musician or its most musical comedian, Acoustic Ross has written & performed original AntiFolk & comedy music for nearly 30 years. He has released 5 albums, served for over a decade as house musician/jester in The Crispy Family Carnival, and played nearly 400 shows in venues of all sizes, ranging from Tulsa's legendary Cain's Ballroom to a school bus and everything in between.

Band Members