MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Fans of Boone Mendenhall's storytelling songs now can take some of them home after he performs.
Mendenhall just cut a CD and will celebrate the CD's release at 7 p.m. Thursday at Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame."
Mendenhall has been performing for about 10 years.
"I just figure it was time to put it out there," he said. "All these songs have done well live. I figured let's record them."
He said he gets a lot of requests for "Born to Run," which became the CD title track.
"It's a song I wrote, and I liked it when I wrote it," he said. "I played it out live a few times and I didn't get good response, so I quit playing it altogether. I took it back out one night and people started liking it."
He said many of the songs he writes come from true life experiences.
"Others are just fiction, mainly, I just make stuff up out of my head," he said.
Mendenhall's CD has all original songs.
"Six of the songs I wrote," he said. "The only song I didn't write is a song called 'Redemption', which was written by my friend, Billy Arnett. We did the song as a duet."
Arnett, who will perform with Mendenhall on Thursday, sings harmony on all the tracks.
Mendenhall said people can expect to have a good time at the release party.
"Hear good quality music, traditional country music," he said. "I've always really been drawn to guys like Merle Haggard, George Jones, Waylon Jennings. And I've been a huge fan of the Red Dirt movement, Jason Boland, Cody Canada, Stoney LaRue. That's just who I've gravitated towards, and I hope my music is a reflection of that."
Mendenhall said he grew up singing in church, but wasn't much into performing.
"I hated performing back then because you were forced to do it," he said.
Things changed after he grew up.
"When I got into my early 20s, I started playing guitar and I just fell in love with trying to write songs," he said. "I really fell in love with music in that time."
He's performed all over Oklahoma and recently started in Texas and Kansas. However, his job as co-owner of M&M Flooring Installation and Sales keeps him busy.
"I usually do an out-of-state gig once a month. Other than that, I try to stay fairly local," he said.
After a decade of performing, Mendenhall decided the best way to get his music out is an album. He plans to sell the CDs where he performs.
"I'm a music fan," he said. "I like the whole experience of getting the actual CD, holding it and opening it up. Reading who played on this track, who played on that track. I think that's a lost thing of the past. That's something I always like doing."
He recorded the CD at Drapp Studios in Tulsa.
"It was one of the best experiences I've ever had," he said. "I was really nervous going into it, didn't know what to expect. But the studio was so relaxing. The atmosphere was great. I think it was just the people I worked with. It made it all worthwhile."
He said he does plan to get his music out digitally through such formats as Amazon and iTunes.
Mendenhall said turning music into a career has crossed his mind.
"Mainly my goal right now is to put the best music I can put out," he said. "That's the main goal is to write good songs, and hopefully people enjoy them."