Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Okemah, Oklahoma Renames Portion of Downtown for Shawna

The Okemah City Council has renamed a portion of its downtown after Shawna. (Photo by Gayle Warrington)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 5, 2015) — Americana/Country/Rock artist Shawna Russell has been honored by her hometown, Okemah, Oklahoma, by having a portion of downtown dedicated to the entertainer. Russell took time out from her touring schedule to attend the ceremony, along with Okemah Mayor Anthony Landers, Roger Thompson, a senator from Oklahoma, Wayne Bacon, Okemah City Council member, and scores of fans, friends and family members. Okemah also is home to legendary singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie.

"I feel honored to be recognized in this way for my musical contributions," Russell said, "especially in a community like Okemah, which has such an incredible background in this area. I am humbled that I will be a part of the town's history for simply doing something I love."

The honor, approved by the Okemah City Council, recognizes Russell's contributions to the music industry, as well as her positive representation of her hometown.

"As a native of Okemah and a graduate of Okemah High School, Shawna Russell has shed a positive light on the city of Okemah," Bacon said. "We would like to recognize the many accomplishments Shawna has made in the music industry and create a place for her many fans to come and appreciate her."

The city plans to have a mural created depicting Russell's career and life in Okemah, as well as a stage and performance area to be used during the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival and other events. Russell is scheduled to perform at the 2015 Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, which is set for July 8-12. Shawna Russell Way will also be a stop on Oklahoma's Music Trail, a statewide tour of Oklahoma's rich musical heritage.

Russell, whose music has received critical acclaim by Country Weekly,, CMA Close Up, Music Row, Today's Country Magazine, Texas Regional Radio Report and others, currently is touring with concert, casino and club dates throughout the Midwest in support of her self-titled CD. Her band includes her father, Keith Russell, and her uncle, Tim Russell, with whom she co-founded Way Out West Records.