Nov. 03--Ben Rector's first real show was at Cain's Ballroom for a battle of the bands there several years ago.
For a bunch of high school kids, it was a dream come true.
"We all thought we had died and gone to heaven," Rector said in a recent telephone interview. "We're playing on Cain's Ballroom stage. This is ridiculous."
Sunday, he's coming full circle. Currently on tour to promote his fifth album, "The Walking In Between," Rector, who grew up in Tulsa but now lives in Nashville, is set to play Cain's Ballroom for the second time this year.
Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show is set to start with opener Tyrone Wells at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 in advance and $24 at the door.
Rector began to take his music more seriously when he left Tulsa for the University of Arkansas. While in Fayetteville, Rector recorded his first music, which received critical acclaim. He released two more albums while in college and gained notoriety in the area.
Slowly but surely, that notoriety continued to spread. Each of the last two albums have reached the top 10 on iTunes album charts. Some of his music has appeared on television.
But for Rector, the commercial success has always been more difficult to grasp.
"For better or worse for business stuff, I've always been a bit of a pessimist," Rector said. "I definitely believe in what I'm doing and think it's worthwhile, but I never felt like it's my place to know what was happening or it's presumptuous to think it'll go well."
He said that as he was walking back to a venue in Chicago to perform for an enthusiastic crowd and selling out shows elsewhere. He said it after he started his own record label with which to release the latest album.
It may have been a bit overwhelming for Rector, but that feeling served as inspiration for "The Walking In Between," he said.
"I was kind of in a weird place," Rector said. "I didn't have terribly high expectations for what a career in music would look like. So I was writing the record because I am doing things I never thought I would. Touring was picking up, and there were a lot more people interested in what I was doing; shows were going well."
What he saw with that success, at least in the wider pop world, was something that didn't quite fit with him, Rector said. The world of excess and wealth in pop music was not a world which he wanted to contribute to, he said.
"It was interesting because I thought if I could get to that place, I would feel some sense of satisfaction," Rector said. "I realized while I am doing this stuff I always wanted to do, the stuff that still made me happy and filled me up was ordinary stuff -- my wife or hanging out with friends."
The first track off the album is titled "Ordinary Love," with strong beats and Rector's soulful voice telling listeners, "I don't want to be no star, have fame on the boulevard." Those are things he's fine with.
Simplicity may be what he lives in his life, but his pop/rock vocal and piano style bursts from the speakers with something more than the ordinary.
If finding simplicity is his goal, he said Tulsa helps him reach it.
"I always enjoy it," Rector said. "Getting to come back home, sleep in my parents' house, seeing some old friends; I'm looking forward to it."
Especially playing in Cain's Ballroom, a venue with extensive musical history, but significant musical history for Rector himself.
"I know there's so much history there, but there's also some history for me as an artist because this is kind of where this all started," Rector said.
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8346
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Cain's Ballroom, 423 N. Main St.
Tickets: $22 in advance at cainsballroom.com or $24 at the door, plus fees.
(c)2013 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.)
Visit Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) at www.tulsaworld.com
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