Holy Tulsa Thunder may be the solo debut album by Beau Jennings, but he seems intent on treating it as a toss-off, perhaps to reassure the members of his band, Cheyenne, that he's not going solo full-time. The CD's ten songs run a mere 31 minutes, and Jennings notes that he only spent six days, the week before Christmas 2007, recording them with fellow musicians Ryan Lindsey (piano, guitar, background vocals), James McAlister (drums, percussion), and Jeff Shoop (bass, background vocals), as producer/engineer/mixer Chad Copelin got a rough, noisy sound out of the live-in-the-studio performances. The songs also sound as if they might have been written quickly in a batch, as they share a similar mood and some of the same imagery. Jennings' reference to Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska in "The Opolis" seems significant in that, like that quickly written and recorded batch of songs, this one hangs together, with parts seeming interchangeable. Referencing a long-shuttered amusement park in his native Oklahoma, Jennings muses about rushed romances that didn't work out and associations with brothers who betray each other, evoking the Bible's Cain as well as another historical sibling who went wrong, John Wilkes Booth. Jennings manages a haunting feel in these songs and performances so that, even if this is to be considered a busman's holiday, it works as a concept record.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann