Oklahoma, Red Dirt singer-songwriter Jake Flint, 37, dies just hours after his wedding
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From left: Jake Flint, Eliza Bee, Kierston White and Stoney LaRue perform at the 2019 Bob Childers' Gypsy Cafe Songwriters Festival, a fundraiser in Stillwater for the non-profit Red Dirt Relief Fund
Oklahoma singer-songwriter Jake Flint and his bride Brenda didn't seem to let the wet weather dampen their spirits as they tied the knot at a remote homestead between Claremore and Owasso on Saturday.
“It was raining, but he rented a 40 x 60 circus tent. ... They put some rugs over the mud and then got two three and a half inch pieces of plywood and set it on the floor - and that was my stage. Jake says, 'Are you okay with that?' And I say, 'Jake, that's perfect.' With a piece of plywood or a flatbed trailer, I shine," said Norman-based one-man band Mike Hosty, who played at the wedding.
"I still have the mud in my old van... but it was just a fun wedding. And it's just a tragedy what happened."
On Sunday morning, Hosty learned that Flint had died in his sleep just hours after he tied the knot with his bride.
"He was a singer-songwriter through and through and just a big personality, a big heart, and (he) would bend over backwards to do anything for you. When a musician asks you to play at their wedding, it's one of those most important days... and it's always an honor," Hosty said.
"I really fondly remember that happy moment when I saw them married...but I really feel for Brenda."
The shock and sadness were evident in the Oklahoma music community Monday as news of Flint's sudden death at the age of 37 broke. His longtime publicist Clif Doyal confirmed to The Oklahoman that the Red Dirt singer-songwriter had died in his sleep following his wedding on Saturday.
The cause of death has not yet been determined.
"He wasn't just a customer, he was a dear friend and just a super nice guy. As you can see from the outpourings on social media, he was loved by everyone. I think a lot of that was just because he was a people person and he had an amazing sense of humor. He made everyone laugh and he made everyone feel welcome," said Doyal.
"He was an ambassador for the music of Oklahoma Red Dirt."
The up-and-coming red dirt musician has released four albums
Flint lives in Tulsa and was raised in Holdenville to a wild oilman and a hard-working mother of two.
He started making music after his father, an avid music lover, was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). Unable to play sports with his son, Flint's father hired a few friends to teach the future Red Dirt offspring to play guitar and take them to local bluegrass festivals.
Along with his fondness for bluegrass, Flint's musical influences have ranged from 1990s rockers like Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Texan singer-songwriters like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt to jam bands like Phish and String Cheese Incident to red dirt stars like Tom Skinner and The Great Share.
Flint ventured into The Boohatch, the former Ada home studio of The Great Divide frontman, producer and Oklahoma Music Hall of Famer Mike McClure, to record his debut album, 2016's I'm Not Okay.
"He really loved doing that - and it showed. ... He brought that kind of Irish band - I mean, (they were) bluegrass, but they had some old Irish instruments - and they did some really cool stuff with Jake. His original songs started to catch my ear and he decided to make his album in my place. He also did an album for some other songwriters," McClure told The Oklahoman.
"That was pretty indicative of Jake's spirit: man, if you needed anything, he was there. ... He was just a good guy and not only worked on his own music but tried to pave the way for other artists who hadn't really recorded yet."
Flint recorded and released three more albums — 2018's Live and Not OK at Cain's Ballroom, 2020's Jake Flint, and 2021's Live and Socially Distanced at Mercury Lounge — and performed on the 2018 Texas Future Faces Show Regional Radio Music Awards.
He had three singles on the Texas Regional Radio Report with "Cowtown" in 2017, "Long Road Back Home" in 2018 and "What's Your Name" in 2020 and was named Breakout Artist of the Year at the 2019 We Are Tulsa Music Awards.
He has performed with his band and as a solo acoustic act at venues throughout Oklahoma, Texas and the surrounding states and has been a part of the program at Sooner State festivals such as the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, Bob Childers' Gypsy Cafe and Tom Skinner's Skyline Fest. The latter two events are fundraisers for the non-profit Red Dirt Relief Fund, which counted Flint as a loyal supporter.
“By the time the pandemic started, he had started to get involved with video production and very quickly adapted to streaming. And he's been doing a ton of streaming projects for all kinds of artists and organizations during the pandemic, including us. When we did our virtual At Skinnerfest 2020, he filmed and produced the whole thing,” recalled Katie Dale, Executive Director of the Red Dirt Relief Fund.
At this year's Gypsy Cafe Songwriters Festival, she said Flint managed the streaming for the same stage he played on.
“He was a real go-getter. He always had a side project going and his background was working in the oil fields. So he was just a really hard worker," Dale said. “He was also larger than life. He easily lit up a room and made tons of friends very easily. … He went to great lengths for people, just small kindnesses. I think that's why this is such a devastating blow. "
Dale said she has been in touch with Flint's family to offer their condolences and financial support if needed. No benefit or tribute concert is planned at this time, but she reckoned there would be no trouble filling in the cast if one is planned.
Oklahoma Red Dirt singer-songwriter Jake Flint has died aged 37.
Oklahoma musicians pay homage to Red Dirt singer-songwriter
Scores of Oklahoma musicians have taken to Facebook over the past two days to pay tribute to Flint.
Blake Lankford, who is part of the songwriting group VIIDR - Seventh Day Rebellion, of which Flint was a member, wrote: "If there's a heaven and they let me in, I know it's because you fought for me , Jake." Buffalo Rogers wrote that "the world has a dimmer glow without you," while Travis Kidd considered Flint "a true legend that will never be forgotten."
"I've never met a new artist who was so popular and had so many fans. It takes years to build that - and that's what Jake had. Oh my god, he was adored and loved by everyone. Jake had no enemy in the world. He was willing to do anything for anyone... and he had very good business acumen. There's only one Jake Flint," said Brenda Cline, Flint's business advisor, former manager and partner in a proposed business venture.
"It's a loss... for many - and we still reel in the shock and disbelief of it. We've lost all friends, we've lost all family members, it's life. But I don't think I've ever experienced such shocking circumstances of losing someone and how cruel it is for Brenda, his wife. Becoming a bride and widow in just a few hours is unfathomable. I just can't imagine what she's going through.
Flint's wife, Brenda Wilson Flint, posted a video clip from their wedding on Facebook with the heartbreaking message, "I don't understand."
Hosty said he has his own video clip from the wedding, capturing Flint as he hopes to remember him: happily serenading his new bride.
"When I was done we all just went into the barn and someone had an acoustic guitar and people passed it around. People just sang around the campfire... and Jake sang to Brenda. And as he sang, I'm like, 'I better record that,'" Hosty said.
"He was a great lyricist, he had a distinctive voice... and I think he would just want his music to be heard and his legacy to be remembered that way. And I think it will.”
Services are pending.
This article originally appeared in Oklahoman: Oklahoma singer-songwriter Jake Flint dies just hours after marriage
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