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August 7, 2012

Two Oklahoma songwriters set to play in Stillwater Tuesday night

STILLWATER, Okla. — A pair of songwriters currently in their third tour together this year are set to play a show in Stillwater Tuesday night.

Carter Sampson and Joe Mack will perform at The College Bar at 10 p.m. Tuesday. The two met 10 years ago while playing open mic nights in Oklahoma City.

"I grew up in Oklahoma City and Joe grew up in Lawton," Sampson said. "He now lives in Tahlequah and I live in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I've lived there almost three years now."

Both artists had similar influences to start writing and playing.

"Separately, I think it was probably family influence on both sides," Sampson said. "Joe's mom is the director of a ladies choir in Lawton and my dad played guitar, so we just kind of grew up with it, I think. Joe studied music at OSU, too."

For Sampson, her foray into music began slowly at age 14 when her father gave her a guitar. She put the instrument down, but picked it up a year later. After learning a few chords, she began to write her own music. Writing about herself was hard, she said. Sampson would often make up stories or write about others. She is now to the point where she feels she can write about her own life, she said.

"I'm in to so many kinds of music and when I was a lot younger, I really wanted to have an all-girl, really loud rock and roll band," Sampson said.

After a "typical high school band" that had too many guitarists, she started playing on her own.

"Right after high school, I really started playing around at little coffee shops and have been doing it ever since," she said.

Her taste in music changed over the next few years, too.

"When I was 16 or 17, I got a hold of Patty Griffin and Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt and some of that old stuff and just really fell in love with it and decided it suited me better than being a rocker," Sampson said.

She's continued her journey into music for the past 12 years.

On the other side, Mack said he began playing guitar at age 18.

"I think Joe was far more into the school side of it where it's more structured," Sampson said. "He always sang in the choir and did things like that. That was never for me. We differ in that way, for sure."

Despite meeting 10 years ago, Sampson said there was a time period in the middle where they didn't have the opportunity to play together.

"Recently, in the last two to four years, we've been doing a lot more and we're having fun," Sampson said.

Sampson also plays with a group called The County Seat, whereas Mack has his own band named Meandering Orange. But both Mack and Sampson enjoy getting together to perform and being travel buddies, she said.

"We just have such a good time when we're playing together," Sampson said. "We call it goofing off because we play songs differently than we normally would and we can both just follow along with another and its fun to have another person there to accentuate your songs."

Both songwriters hope to record together in the near future.

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