May 2, 2014


Tyrannosaurus Chicken ready to graze bluegrass festival

— Watch out Chickasha. Out of Arkansas comes a multi-instrumented, incredibly coordinated, genre-breaking, blues-making, musically arranged, slightly deranged… Tyrannosaurus Chicken.

Tyrannosaurus Chicken is Smilin' Bob Lewis and Rachel Ammons. The musical duo's style can be described as "psychedelta," which is a combination of psychedelic and the Delta Blues.

Ammons said the band is "kind of two one-man bands." Both play a variety of instruments–guitar, fiddle, harmonica, keyboards, mandolin, banjo, cello, bass, drums–and sometimes more than one at a time.

The pair will be playing their unique take on southern flavored tunes at the Washita River Bottom Bluegrass Jubilee which takes place May 9-11 at the Reding Farm in Chickasha. Currently they are scheduled to play 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 10.

Ammons said Tyrannosaurus Chicken were playing at a show in Medicine Park when Danja MacNeil, Washita River Bottom Bluegrass Jubilee coordinator, saw them and asked them to join the bluegrass festival lineup.

The band currently has three albums out: "Attack of the Chicken," "Hillbilly Gothic" and "It Ain't Rocket Surgery."

Rather than have a setlist, Tyrannosaurus Chicken relies on their musical connection to know which songs to play.

"By the first few notes the other knows what song it is," Ammons said.

She met her bandmate, Smiling Bob Lewis, through Ammons' father. Lewis is actually Ammons' godfather.

"My dad said, 'You've got to play with this guy,'" Ammons recalls. So she did. "And I thought, 'that's the coolest thing I ever heard.'"

Ammons had just earned her Bachelors in Psychology and was about to head to graduate school when she changed her mind about the life plan she had meticulously laid out, she said.

"It was a pretty intense time for me," Ammons said. "It was really hard."

The multi-instrumentalist musician hasn't looked back. It's been going on six years since Ammons decided to pursue her music career.

"It's brought me so many good things. I've met my best friends through music."

Tyrannosaurus Chicken has already toured much of the southern U.S. The pair have scratched dirt in Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi and their home state, Arkansas. But the east and west coast might want to look out, Tyrannosaurus Chicken has their sights set on New York and California.

In addition to Tyrannosaurus Chicken, the lineup for the Washita River Bottom Bluegrass Jubilee includes: The Flying Horse Band, Mountain Smoke, Red Dirt Rangers, Southbound Mule, The Byron Berline Band and Klondike 5 String Band.

The jubilee will begin on the evening of May 9 and jam out until Sunday afternoon on May 11. Presented by Red Silo Productions, the event will take place at the Reding Farm in Chickasha, famous for having the largest corn maize in Oklahoma.

Tickets are $17 per day or $44 for a weekend pass. Campsite rental Friday or Saturday night is $22 and includes firewood for the evening. Campsites are limited and available for reservation only. First come, first serve.

Tickets can be purchased and campsites can be reserved online at Tickets can also be purchased at the gate during the jubilee.

The event is free for children 10 and under. Tokens for the children's rides will be available at an additional cost. Rides include the cow train, corn cannon, hayride and more.

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