After cancer, Charles continues music dream

BY KENLEA HENSON
Former Reporter
01/24/2018 08:15 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Trett Charles, of Collinsville, has opened for some of the most popular names in Red Dirt Music. On Jan. 20 he opened for Stoney LaRue at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Trett Charles sings on Jan. 20 at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. Charles opened for Red Dirt music artist Stoney LaRue. This was also Charles second time performing at Cain’s Ballroom. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Trett Charles, left, with Red Dirt music artist Stoney LaRue after a Jan. 20 concert at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, where Charles opened for LaRue. COURTESY
COLLINSVILLE – Since age 5, Cherokee Nation citizen Trett Charles has had dreams of singing and playing guitar. Today, the 23-year-old opens for some of the most popular names in Red Dirt music, including Stoney LaRue, whom he opened for on Jan. 20 at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa.

Coming from a country music-loving family, Charles learned to play guitar from his great-grandpa. With the help of his uncles he started to grow vocally, too.

Charles said his family listened to country music artists such as George Strait, Merle Haggard and Keith Whitley, who influenced him to choose the Red Dirt genre.

“The way I look at Red Dirt music nowadays is it’s pure country to me. I am not the type of person that is big about national music. I like the (19)90s country feel because that just the genre I grew listening to,” he said.

At age 21, he played his first gig at the Hall of Fame in Catoosa. Since then he’s played venues in Tulsa, across Oklahoma and in surrounding states. He’s also opened for Red Dirt artists Thompson Square, Bart Crow Band, Casey James, Read Southall Band and Jason Boland and the Stragglers.

Charles said getting the opportunity to play various places and open for artists has been a blessing and great accomplishment. However, along with accomplishments he also had to overcome struggles. In April, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and spent seven months in chemotherapy. He said taking that in was hard. And even though he couldn’t play shows as much, he said he pushed himself to continue as much as he could.

During his treatments he played the Cain’s Ballroom for the first time.

“When you’re 22 years old and you’re told you have cancer, and you don’t know if you are going to live or die, at first you don’t really know how to accept that. But the biggest thing that helped me push through it is that I am a big believer in God, and I believe he heals. So when I felt good enough to play a show I would push myself to basically get out there. It was really cool to play at Cain’s for the first time even during the time I was going through chemo because the opportunity was a blessing that also kept me going,” Charles said.

Now cancer free, he played at the Cain’s Ballroom for the second time opening for one of his longtime heroes, Stoney LaRue.

“I seen Stoney multiple times at Cain’s, so the fact that I am even getting to open for Stoney, it’s an incredible feeling because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity,” he said.

Although Charles has only been on the Red Dirt music scene a couple of years, he continues to make a name for himself. He said his goals are to travel and play his music for the world. But he also hopes his music will “touch” someone.

“A song can turn your whole day around. My goal is to share the music that I write with people and hope that the music I share touches them in some way,” he said.

For more information, follow the Trett Charles Band on Facebook.

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