Born Randall Byron Crouch to mother Ruth Emma McMinn Crouch and father Hurbert Lee Crouch on April 1st, 1952 in Dallas, Texas. At the time, his father was attending Southern Methodist Seminary School. He would later go on to be a Methodist preacher. Randy is the oldest of three children. Randy was followed by his sister, now Lisa Perry 18 months later, and by his youngest sibling, Dane Crouch, 18 months after that.
After his father’s graduation, the family moved away from Dallas in 1954 to his first posting in Garden City, Texas. As a preacher, Randy’s father moved the family somewhat frequently. They left Garden City in 1956 to Clyde, Texas in 1956 and to Heat, Texas in 1959. Randy began high school in Canadian, Texas where the family moved in 1962, but they then moved to Crosbyton, Texas where Randy finished out his high school studies.
Randy is married to Liz, who produces some of his albums. His parents, siblings Dane & Lesa, and his large extended family are his biggest supporters.
Liz must be a wonder. Early on Randy was tagged with the nickname “Wildman”, and it wasn’t all just about his music. He’s a confirmed, dedicated naturalist and one of the most ecology minded one is ever likely to meet. For the first years of their marriage, Randy and Liz literally lived in a bus on their wooded land near Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Later, Randy with the help of some friends built his own Dome Home on the property, though it was still pretty primitive because for the first few decades they lived off the grid, meaning no electricity. Of late, that has changed, but only recently did they actually go all the way, with indoor plumbing.
His parents provided a diverse musical background including piano lessons and Crouch also started playing ukulele and guitar. His grandfather, who played fiddle, had a big influence on him. Crouch learned to play fiddle from a Mel Bay mandolin instruction manual. Since the two instruments are tuned the same – a fiddle lacks the frets that make mandolin playing a little easier to do in key – it all transferred to the fiddle. During his freshman year of high school Crouch started playing in a band and has performed music ever since.
Crouch refers to his songs as “Oklahoma Protest music” and has a long history of protesting against onslaughts against the environment. He lives in an electricity-free geodesic dome that he built on a former landfill site. In 1973, after the Public Service Company of Oklahoma announced that twin black nuclear power plants (named Black Fox 1 and Black Fox 2) would be built, Crouch along with many other Oklahomans took legal action against PSO and a protest movement ensued. As a result of his involvement in the protest, Crouch was blackballed for a time by music promoters in and around Tulsa, although he performed at least 50 “stop Black Fox” events around Oklahoma.
Crouch’s music has been a foundation for Oklahoma’s Red Dirt music, having been one of the earliest musicians of Red Dirt’s epicenter – The Farm – located in Stillwater, Oklahoma. John Cooper, of the Red Dirt Rangers band, said that the camaraderie of the protests was central to the spirit that help form the Red Dirt movement.
Crouch also represents a variation of The Tulsa Sound and has also been a primary influence on aspiring Oklahoma musicians performing bluegrass, folk, country music, and jam bands . In addition to performing as a solo artist, Crouch is a regular member of the Red Dirt Rangers band and is a member of the house band at the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Oklahoma.
Crouch’s live performances often include unusual techniques on a variety of instruments. “I once saw him play where he’s over a steel guitar and a piano while he’s playing fiddle,” said Jim Blair, co-owner of Max’s Garage and one of Crouch’s musical compatriots. “In the middle of the song, he wants to tune up the fiddle, so he hits the A note on the piano with his fiddle bow and tunes the string and keeps on playing.”
Crouch’s songs “Big Shot Rich Man” and “Mexican Holiday” have been recorded by Jason Boland & the Stragglers. He played with Tulsa band South 40 when they recorded his song “Got Time to Party” for their 2006 release Home which also features guest spots by members of Asleep at the Wheel and George Strait‘s band. As a member of the Vince Herman Trio, Crouch performs with alumni of the jam bands Leftover Salmon and Ekoostik Hookah.
Crouch has been nominated for over twenty Oklahoma State Music Awards and in 2005 was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Awards Red Dirt Hall of Fame. In 2005, Randy Crouch was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Awards Red Dirt Hall of Fame.
Randy Crouch Today
As a founder of Red Dirt Music and its leading instrumentalist, Randy Crouch is still actively performing and writing new material. His most recent album is Turn Off Tune In Drop Out, a throwback to his youth, written and performed by Randy and host of other Red Dirt Music musicians. HIs discography consists of 13 albums, all available digitally – and some on CD – on his website, www.randycrouch.com. On his Turn Off Tune In Drop Out album, Randy even hearkens back to Star Trek, with use of a theremin instrument in his song, Energy Created/Energy Destroyed. While his music still reflects the working class, he also continues to produce music that also represents the 21st century.