Director Q&A

Hear from “Still the King” director Kevin Meyer

How did the project get started?
“STILL THE KING” is the first of six feature documentaries that will be made over the next three years, in the OKPOP+Film Series. With the wealth of Bob Wills’ resources at our fingertips it made sense to make a movie. The next project will focus on the life and career of Leon Russell.

Can you talk about those resources?
Thanks to the Estate of Bob Wills, we have access to literally hundreds of photos, recordings and film clips; many haven’t been seen by the public in 60 years. Some of them have never been seen or heard. We’re really excited about this! We will also be doing interviews with the many contemporary artists who were influenced by Bob Wills’ music, including Vince Gill, Carrie Underwood, Merle Haggard and Toby Keith.

How is the music of Bob Wills relevant today?
I’m glad you asked that. All music today and in the future was influenced by the musicians of the past. Because Bob Wills’ music crossed over so many genres, he influenced artists in Rock, Country, Jazz and Big Band. He developed a sound all his own that came to be known as Western Swing. The artists of today that carry that influence will influence the artists of tomorrow. And because this film will ultimately be housed in a museum setting it will be available for countless generations to view. It’s the music circle of life and we need to carry that forward.

What makes Bob Wills interesting to you?
Bob Wills was a survivor and he overcame amazing odds to become one of the greatest fiddle players in the world. This was a guy who grew up dirt poor in West Texas doing whatever he could to make money. Bob picked cotton and learned the soulful beauty of Gospel and the Blues from the African Americans he worked with. Bob carried those experiences with him his whole life. He really didn’t read music and instead played his fiddle by ear, with heart and soul until he knew the music was right. Bob and his band survived hard times, but their music flourished during the Great Depression and World War II and gave hope to millions of people who found refuge in their music.

A project of the Oklahoma Historical Society
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