Makayla Bearpaw

Working at a record shop would be a dream job for a certain sect of people in life. You’d have to have a wide breadth of musical knowledge and appreciation. You’d have to constantly keep up with trends and new music and artists, and yet also know the sources of such trends and the influences of said artists. You’d have to have a mental file cabinet deep enough to know if this particular pressing of Led Zepplin II was the Robert Ludwig “Hot Mix” or not, and whether that rare Otis Redding “Hard to Handle” single that you buried in the 7”s for some lucky vinyl junkie to discover is still there or not. You have to be ever-so-slightly intimidating enough to sit behind the counter with confidence, and yet approachable enough that I won’t feel too embarrassed about asking whether you have my guilty pleasure in stock. Simply put, you have to be, well, cool. That’s the main credential.

Makayla Bearpaw, store staff of Josey Records, is one such individual. Strutting through the store, recommending a record to a particular customer, and then the next, I had to be next in line to chat her up and asked her all about the record store and music scene in Tulsa and beyond. Makayla shared a ton of info and exchanged lots of musical knowledge, including the fact that she had played drums the night before, New Years Eve in her band, “Hector and the Hexed” (instant street cred).

I picked up a Leon McAuliffe record from her recommendations, an artist connected to both the famous Cain’s Ballroom as well as Tulsa Legend Leon Russel (actually, from whom he got the name “Leon” for a fake ID to play piano underaged in bars – his real name is Claude Russell Bridges!), but I very reluctantly had to pass, due to a thin wallet, on The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion by the Black Crowes which was also in Makayla’s recommendations.

When Makayla mentioned her last name was “Bearpaw” my eyes kinda lit up and she kindly shared that she was Cherokee and chatted me up about Pow Wows and language and some other local culture. She even taught me how to say “Hello, How are you. My name is Brian” (and a few other phrases in Cherokee) – “Siyo tohitsu Brian daquadov” (pronounced “See-yo toe-hi-jew Bri-an dah-qwah-dough-uh”)

“Siyo” – Hello
“Tohitsu” – How are you
“Daquadoa” – is my name
“Nihina” – How about you.
“Osda” – Good

Well, “WaDo” (Thank You), Makayla for sharing so much with me. I hope that you keep on rawking out on drums with Hector and the Hexes, keep giving great recommendations at Josey Records, and enjoy that killer REM record, “Dead Letter Office”! See you next time and thank you for concluding my little “Tulsa Record Style” episode.

R.E.M. – Dead Letter Office
Label: I.R.S. Records – SP-70054
Format: Vinyl, LP, Compilation, Electrosound pressing
Country: US
Released: 1987
Genre: Rock
Style: Alternative Rock, Post-Punk, Indie Rock, Folk Rock

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