"Oklahoma Balladeer" performs in Lawton

"Oklahoma Balladeer" performs in Lawton

Lawton, OK_(KSWO) The Oklahoma Balladeer, Les Gilliam, entertained a crowd Thursday night in Lawton at the annual meeting of the Southwest Oklahoma Historical Society.

Gilliam is a member of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, selected in 2010, and part of his concert was a tribute to other members of the Hall, by singing some of their classic tunes, like Woody Guthrie's "This Land is your Land", and Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee".

Gilliam said it's important to him to keep those songs alive, since that type of music isn't found on radio anymore.

"I'm not selling music, I'm selling nostalgia.  That's what I do. I try to bring back memories to people from years ago and hope for the younger ones that weren't alive when some of the songs came out will enjoy the stories that I tell about the singer, the song and where it came from, something like that,"  Gilliam said.

Gilliam's connection to western swing music dates back to his childhood, growing up in the town of Gene Autry, Oklahoma, named for the famous singing cowboy.  His singing career has taken him as far as Austria, for the International Country Music Festival, as well as the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.