Church Studio plants magnolia trees to honor Tulsa musician

TULSA, Okla. — A transformation begins Thursday outside the Church Studio in midtown Tulsa to honor a Tulsa musician.

Landscape crews will plant four varieties of magnolia trees in the half acre lot, just four lots west of the Church Studio. The green space honors J.J. Cale and is inspired by his song, “Magnolia”. The area will be called Magnolia Meadows, and overlooks downtown Tulsa.

Cale was a guitarist, singer-songwriter and self-taught audio engineer. He was a Tulsa Central graduate and Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductee.

Cale has been acknowledged by Waylon Jennings and Eric Clapton, and performed with Clapton who later released an album honoring Cale. He passed away in 2013.

Cale is credited for developing the “Tulsa sound”, along with Leon Russell, that draws from blues, rockabilly, country and rock n’ roll. He released several solo albums under Shelter Records during the 1970s.

“He had a huge impact not only here in Tulsa and Oklahoma, but nationally and internationally,” said Teresa Knox, the owner of the Church Studio. “You look at one of the biggest examples of Tulsa sound which is Eric Clapton. Well he loved J.J. Cale and, in fact, Eric has said on multiple occasions that he is the most significant artist that had an impact on rock n’ roll.”

Future plans for Magnolia Meadows include a small performance stage and benches.