Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

We are a group of guys who enjoy, and are inspired by, the musical conversation we've been cultivating for almost 15 years. For us it's all about the magic created between musician and the audience, that and good times/cold beer.


Whirligig started simply enough, Sunday open jam sessions open to any and all who wanted to be part of the collective musical experience. Their weren’t any rules really and no organized agenda what so ever. Many members of local bands joined in from time to time, Medicine Show, the Red Dirt Rangers, Glass House, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, etc.

What began just for fun eventually evolved in to a group of it’s own. Six band members; Kelly Oliver (Guitar), Dylan Layton (Guitar), Matt Casteel (Bass), Paul Moore (Drums), Michael Back (Percussion) and Dave Merritt (Drums) made up the original line-up of Whirligig.

The first performance was in August of 1994 in Tonkawa, OK at a rally of some sort. Funny, after ten years no one really remembers what the point of the event was except our first opportunity to play live. We began playing bar gigs in November of that year – starting with Willie’s in Stillwater, OK.

We played most every venue in Tulsa and Stillwater, made a few stops in MO, NM and AR. Over the years we were fortunate enough to share the stage with numerous talented musicians and bands including: Jim Karstein, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Medicine Show, Corey Mauser, Scott Music, Randy Crouch, Sun Cured Red, Jenny Labow and many more.

Over the next few years the band went through several changes. Rocky Frisco (Keys) joined the band as a hired gun. Dave Merritt left the band in along with Rocky, Dylan Layton followed the next year. Steve Littleton (Keys/Hammond) joined after Medicine Show disbanded. Paul Moore left next and was replaced by veteran Drummer (and all around musical guru) Damon Daniel. Michael Back moved to Canada to become a master drummer/drum maker. The band continued on until December of 2001 when it became clear we were out of gas and needed a break.

Things were quiet until fate intervened. Our friends the Red Dirt Rangers were in a helicopter crash but were extremely lucky to survive. They didn’t have any medical insurance and they needed the help of their musical brothers. Word filtered down to us that there would be a benefit and would we like to participate. We couldn’t say no, we’ve known those guys for years. Plus, the thought of playing together again was met with interest from the entire band.

Things hadn’t changed that much, it didn’t take long at all to settle in to a natural groove and resume the unspoken chemistry we had always shared.

Since then we’ve gotten back to regular gigs and honestly have more fun than ever just playing together.

Back from the dead, risen from the ashes and ready to have a good time.


Three CDs:

WHiRLiGiG - 1998
Lefty Poe Takes the Wheel - 2001
Waves Don't Lie - 2009

Set List

Playing together for 15 years has allowed us to always expand our catalog and try new things.

At last count the master song list was 200+ and ever growing. There is no typical set list, we try to do a bit of everything and rarely repeat songs from gig to gig. A healthy mix of originals and covers.

Influences/Covers: Grateful Dead, PHiSH, Widespread Panic, JJ Cale, Neil Young, The Band, Bob Dylan, Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, bluegrass traditionals, tv themes, etc.