The Tractors

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The Tractors
A black-and-white image showing all five members of country rock band The Tractors
A promotional image of The Tractors.
Background information
OriginTulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
GenresCountry rock
Years active1988–2018
LabelsArista Nashville, Audium, Boy Rocking
Past membersSteve Ripley
Ron Getman
Jamie Oldaker
Walt Richmond
Casey van Beek

The Tractors were an American country rock band composed of a loosely associated group of musicians headed by guitarist Steve Ripley. The original lineup consisted of Steve Ripley (lead vocals, guitar), Ron Getman (guitar, Dobro, mandolin, tenor vocals), Walt Richmond (keyboards, piano, bass vocals), Casey van Beek (bass guitar, baritone vocals), and Jamie Oldaker (drums). Under the band's original lineup, they signed to Arista Nashville in 1994, releasing their self-titled debut album that year; the album only produced one Top 40 hit on the Billboard country charts.

Since their foundation, most of the band's original members moved on to separate projects, although they often collaborated with frontman Ripley on The Tractors' more recent recordings. Ripley was the only official member of the group throughout its tenure; he had stated that The Tractors was more of a "state of mind",[1] and the band contained a largely undefined cast of unofficial contributors.


The Tractors were formed in 1988 by Steve Ripley.[2] The original lineup comprised Ron Getman (electric guitar and slide guitar); Jamie Oldaker (drums); Walt Richmond (bass vocals, keyboards); Steve Ripley (guitar, lead vocals); and Casey Van Beek (bass guitar, baritone vocals).[3] All five members had previously been backing musicians for other notable artists, including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Leonard Cohen,[2] Oldaker had also played with Leon Russell, Peter Frampton, and Bob Seger.[4]

By 1990, the group was signed to Arista Nashville, a newly formed record label based in Nashville, Tennessee and a subsidiary of Arista Records.[2] In 1994, they released their self-titled debut album, which produced the single, "Baby Likes to Rock It," and soon became the fastest-selling debut album from a country group to reach platinum status. A Christmas album titled Have Yourself a Tractors Christmas soon followed.[3]

The Tractors were nominated for two Grammy Awards[5][6] and won the Country Weekly 1995 Golden Pick Award for Favorite New Group.

Their second album, Farmers in a Changing World, was released in 1998.[1] The band's members, except for Ripley, soon departed for other projects, although they and Ripley remained close friends and made cameo appearances on subsequent albums.[7] Ripley released the next Tractors album, Fast Girl, with several other musicians on Audium Entertainment in 2001. After Fast Girl, the Tractors left Audium and formed their own label, Boy Rocking Records. In 2009, the album, Trade Union, was released on the E1 label.

Three of the group's five original members have since died; Steve Ripley died at age 69 after a lengthy battle with cancer on 3 January 2019;[8] Jamie Oldaker died at age 68 on 16 July 2020, also having succumbed to cancer;[9] and Ron Getman died at age 71 on 12 January 2021, after a brief undisclosed illness.[10] The two surviving original members – Casey Van Beek and Walt Richmond – continue to be musically active, having formed a group named Casey Van Beek and the Tulsa Groove, and releasing an album titled Heaven Forever as recently as 2020; Getman was a brief contributor to this group before his own death.[11][12]


The Tractors achieved their distinctive sound in several ways, most notably from the use of old school 'minimal' recording techniques, and an emphasis on capturing everything in one take.[13] Ripley often constructed guitars and cords for use in the band.



Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US Country
CAN Country CAN
The Tractors 2 19 1 36
  • US: 2× Platinum
  • CAN: 2× Platinum
Have Yourself a Tractors Christmas[A]
  • Release date: October 10, 1995
  • Label: Arista Nashville
12 68
Farmers in a Changing World
  • Release date: November 3, 1998
  • Label: Arista Nashville
39 17
Fast Girl
  • Release date: April 24, 2001
  • Label: Boy Rocking Records
Big Night
  • Release date: October 8, 2002
  • Label: Boy Rocking Records
The Kids Record
  • Release date: November 8, 2005
  • Label: Boy Rocking Records
Trade Union
"—" denotes releases that did not chart
  • A ^ Have Yourself a Tractors Christmas was re-released in 2002 as Tractors Christmas


Year Single Peak chart
US Country
CAN Country
1994 "Baby Likes to Rock It" 11 8 The Tractors
1995 "Tryin' to Get to New Orleans" 50 28
"Badly Bent" 80
1998 "Shortenin' Bread" 57 61 Farmers in a Changing World
"I Wouldn't Tell You No Lie" 72
2001 "Can't Get Nowhere" Fast Girl
"The Big Night"
"Fast Girl"
2002 "Ready to Cry"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Other charted songs[edit]

Year Single Peak chart
US Country US
1995 "The Santa Claus Boogie" 41 91 Have Yourself a Tractors Christmas
"Santa Claus Is Comin'
(In a Boogie Woogie Choo-Choo Train)"
1996 "The Santa Claus Boogie" (re-entry) 63
1997 "The Last Time" 75 Stone Country: Country Artists Perform
the Songs of the Rolling Stones
1998 "Santa Claus Is Comin'
(In a Boogie Woogie Choo-Choo Train)" (re-entry)
65 Have Yourself a Tractors Christmas
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1994 "Baby Likes to Rock It" Michael Salomon
"The Santa Claus Boogie" Michael McNamara
1995 "Tryin' to Get to New Orleans"[18] Michael Oblowitz
"Badly Bent"
"Santa Claus Is Comin'
(In a Boogie Woogie Choo-Choo Train)"
1997 "The Last Time"
1998 "Shortenin' Bread" Michael Oblowitz
2001 "Can't Get Nowhere"


  1. ^ a b "THE TRACTORS". Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "The Tractors plow ahead – November 1998". Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b "The Tractors - Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  4. ^ Tramel, Jimmie. "Tulsa Sound musician Jamie Oldaker dies; Peter Frampton, Eric Clapton praise hall of fame drummer". Tulsa World. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  5. ^ "The 37th Grammy Nominations". 6 January 1995. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  6. ^ "CNN - List of Grammy nominees - Jan. 4, 1996". Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  7. ^ "The Tractors stay on track – May 2001". Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  8. ^ Tramel, Jimmie (January 4, 2019). "Oklahoma music artist Steve Ripley dies". Tulsa World. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  9. ^ "Jamie Oldaker of the Tractors Dead at 68". The Boot. July 16, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  10. ^ "Obituary for Ron Getman". PoncaCity Now. January 20, 2021. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  11. ^ Tramel, Jimmie (March 15, 2020). "Album is next chapter of Tulsan Casey Van Beek's storied life in music". Tulsa World. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  12. ^ "Casey Van Beek and the Tulsa Groove". Little Village Foundation. 19 February 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  13. ^ "The Tractors: A Fresh Breeze from Tulsa". Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  14. ^ "The Tractors Album & Song Chart History - Country Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  15. ^ "The Tractors Album & Song Chart History - Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  16. ^ "The Tractors Album & Song Chart History - Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  17. ^ "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada - Country Singles". RPM. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  18. ^ "CMT : Videos : The Tractors : Tryin' To Get To New Orleans". Country Music Television. Retrieved October 14, 2011.

External links[edit]