Cameron University’s Country-Jazz Fusion returns for 36th annual concert

The Cameron University Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts will present the 36th annual Country/Jazz Fusion Concert on Thursday, November 3 with special guest Joe Settlemires. One of Oklahoma’s most prolific and renowned musicians, Settlemires will perform with the Cameron University Jazz Ensemble and the Cameron University/ Lawton Community Jazz Ensemble. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. in the Cameron University Theatre. Admission is free. The concert is made possible by CU Lectures and Concerts Series.

Settlemires began playing guitar professionally at the age of 14. Just five years later, he landed one of country music’s most prestigious gigs - playing with the legendary Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. Regular guitarist Tag Lambert, who fell ill with pneumonia and couldn't go out on the road, suggested to Wills that he should roll into Guthrie to pick up the young guitarist. Wills acted on the tip, and Settlemires became the youngest member of the Texas Playboys.

In the years that followed, he played with a Who's Who of country music legends including Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Red Foley, Tex Ritter, Hank Thompson, Harold Bradley and more. Settlemires didn’t limit himself to country music. He also backed pop and jazz performers including Bob Hope, Della Reese, Howard Roberts and Pat Martino as well as performing with the Oklahoma City Symphony. 

Though he is well known for his technical prowess on the guitar, Settlemires is a complete musician, having written arrangements for thousands of songs and passing his musical legacy along to hundreds of aspiring guitar players through private instruction. His students have gone on to play with musicians and groups like Merle Haggard, George Strait, Neil Diamond, Restless Heart, the Judds, Charlie Hall, Hayes Carll and others.

Settlemires founded the Show Band at the University of Sciences and Arts of Oklahoma in 2001, directing the ensemble for 15 years. He is still one of the most popular performers at the annual Bob Wills Reunion in Turkey, Texas. His recordings include jazz albums “Canadian Sunset and Other Jazz Standards” and “Sugarfoot Rag,” and two Western Swing albums, “Remember Me” and “Northfield Swing.”

For his unmistakable contribution to American music, Settlemires has been recognized by four halls of fame. In 2006, the Oklahoma State Legislature recognized his 50 years of contribution and dedication to both the Oklahoma music industry and music education in the private and public sector.


October 26, 2016