Category Archives: TVD New Orleans

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood and the songs of Barefoot in the Head hit the Civic on Sunday, 9/17

PHOTO: JON CORNICKThe last time the Chris Robinson Brotherhood was in town was for an outdoor show for Hogs For the Cause last spring. Before that it was two shows at Tipitina’s. The neo-psychedelic rock band graduates to the Civic Theatre with a performance on Sunday night.

Chris Robinson may be best known in these parts as one of the founders of The Black Crowes—a band steeped in southern rock and its accompanying mythos. But since that group went on extended hiatus he has traded the drawl of the south for the mystical lyricism and sterling guitar work associated with California.

Though I was never a big Black Crowes fan, I did see their show at the Civic a couple of years back—Robinson and his tighter-than-the-proverbial-drum ensemble have grown on me like a foraged mushroom.

The Black Crowes took some of their cues from those titans of southern rock, The Allman Brothers. Robinson has stated in interviews his unabashed love for the Grateful Dead. While the all-encompassing ethos made famous by the Dead over three decades is now relatively mainstream in the jam band community, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood appears to be truly living it beyond what happens on stage.

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A stylistic gumbo: Joe Ely returns to Chickie Wah Wah, Friday 9/15   

PHOTO: ERICA GOLDRING | Joe Ely, the iconic American singer, songwriter, and guitarist whose music touches on honky-tonk, Texas country, Tex-Mex, and rock ‘n’ roll returns to Chickie Wah Wah for his first show in almost two years. He will appear with accordionist Joel Guzman. George McConnell and Tomi Lunsford are the supporting acts.

Joe Ely was born in 1947 and spent his formative years in Lubbock, Texas. In 1970, he formed the Flatlanders with fellow Lubbock musicians Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. According to Ely, “Jimmie was like a well of country music. He knew everything about it. And Butch was from the folk world. I was kinda the rock ‘n’ roll guy, and we almost had a triad. We hit it off and started playing a lot together. That opened up a whole new world I had never known existed.”

Guitarist George McConnell is best known for his work with jam band icons Widespread Panic. He was a founding member of southern rockers, the Kudzu Kings and was a member of Beanland. He will be playing a solo acoustic set.

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Ghanaian drummer
Paa Kow brings Cookpot to Café Istanbul, 9/14

On October 13, Paa Kow, a Denver-based drummer who was born in Ghana, will release his latest recording, Cookpot. In advance of the release, he’s performing with his band this Thursday night at Café Istanbul in the New Orleans Healing Center. Show time is 9 PM.

Paa Kow last played in New Orleans back in August of 2014. He was trained in the deep rhythms of his native country and has been playing music since he was a child. He is adept at a wide range of styles and genres from the sounds of highlife, the most famous style from Ghana, to funk and jazz.

He said, “My music isn’t traditional, but it has deep roots. The highlife music is there, but when you listen, it’s kind of jazz, too. It’s funk. It’s the way the music comes to me.” A thorough listen to an advance copy of the new album confirms his statement. The lilting rhythm and scintillating guitar lines of highlife are there in droves on several cuts. Other tracks percolate with funky keyboard parts and there are sax solos galore.

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PazFest IV: New Orleans’ Tribute to Joni Mitchell to benefit the Ruth Paz Surgery & Burn Hospital at the Civic Theater, 9/3

PHOTO: JACK ROBINSON, VOGUE, FEBRUARY 1969 | PazFest is a musical tribute to singer/songwriter and legendary composer Joni Mitchell and a fundraising celebration for the continuing support of the Ruth Paz Pediatric Surgery and Burn Hospital in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. There’s a who’s who of local, national, and international talent on board for the tribute and benefit. The show begins at 7 PM at the Civic Theater.

Among many of the musicians scheduled to perform are the husband and wife act Judith Owen and Harry Shearer, Tommy Malone of the subdudes, the legendary New Orleans musical great Deacon John, Jeff Coffin of the Dave Matthews Band and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and Chuck Mitchell, a veteran folk artist and Joni Mitchell’s first husband.

Brandon Tarricone, a fondly remembered musician who performed locally with the Brotherhood of Groove, is returning to town with his New England-based ensemble, Krewe de Groove. A well-known California act, A Celebration of Joni Mitchell featuring Kimberly Ford, is on the bill as well. Also, expect to see musicians who are expert interpreters of Mitchell’s music from as far away as Denmark, Colorado, and Ottawa, Canada including Philadelphia-based musician Joshua Thomas.

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Kermit Ruffins to host benefit for Backstreet Cultural Museum, 9/1

The Backstreet Cultural Museum which is located in the heart of the Tremé neighborhood, is known as a “powerhouse of knowledge.” The museum makes up for its relatively small size by its vast collection of memorabilia related to the black culture of New Orleans including Mardi Gras Indian suits, social aid and pleasure outfits, and jazz funeral ephemera. This museum needs support and this Friday night Kermit’s Mother-in-Law Lounge is the place to be.

I first wrote about the museum back in the early 1990s when longtime director Sylvester Francis opened his establishment in the former Blandin Funeral home across the street from St. Augustine Church. Francis was motivated to start collecting Mardi Gras Indian suits after he saw one moldering in the backyard of an Indian friend. I also covered last year’s benefit for TVD.

It may be hard to believe in the current cultural climate of New Orleans that Indians used to simply discard the artistry they had worked so hard to create. They also used to take the suits apart to reuse beads and other elements of the unique creations.

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Satchmo SummerFest: Weekend Picks, 8/5–8/6

The second floor of the Old U.S. Mint opens on the weekend with live music and dance lessons, while the two outdoor stages feature music from noon–9 PM on Saturday and from noon–8 PM on Sunday, culminating in the eagerly anticipated Trumpet Tribute to Louis Armstrong with Kermit Ruffins and a who’s who of other trumpeters. Here are our picks. The full schedule is here.

Start Saturday off with Joe Lastie’s New Orleans Sound featuring Kid Merv. Lastie is a drummer and member of another of the city’s famed musical families. Kid Merv is the one and only Mervin Campbell—a trumpeter and longtime devotee of trad jazz and Louis Armstrong.

John Boutte is a singer of uncommon grace. He may be best known these days for the theme song of the HBO show Treme, but his work in New Orleans goes back decades and he is comfortable with a wide range of styles.

Leroy Jones is another trumpeter that is a longtime devotee of trad jazz and Louis Armstrong. His style is rooted in the music he learned as a youngster under the tutelage of the great Danny Barker. The line from Armstrong through Barker to Jones is unerring.

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Satchmo SummerFest Picks for Friday, 8/4

PHOTO: INGRID WILLIAMS | The Satchmo SummerFest returns to its longtime home on the grounds of the U.S. Mint this weekend. Get started early by playing hooky or heading over in the afternoon or evening as the festival kicks off tomorrow (8/4). Here are our picks for Friday. The full schedule is here.

Get started when the gates open with the Preservation Brass at 12:15 PM on the Blue Runner Red Beans and Ricely stage. Though Preservation Hall has garnered lots of press, both locally and nationally for their collaborations with musicians outside the traditional jazz genre, the organization still does trad as well as anyone. They also have a formidable brass band and that’s what you’ll be getting here. Don’t forget your dancing shoes!

Five artists are making Satchmo SummerFest debuts and at the top of my list is Quiana Lynell (pictured at top). This vocalist’s name has been popping on must-see lists for a while now and the fest will be a chance to check out her pipes out up close and personal.

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“Jamming for Josh” benefit set for the Maple Leaf Bar on Sunday, 8/6

PHOTO: JEFFREY DUPUIS | Though you may not know him personally, Josh Abelson has been a key player behind the scenes in New Orleans and around the country for decades. He recently has had some health issues and the music community is rallying to help him out. The benefit is Sunday night at the Maple Leaf Bar starting at 8 PM.

Expect to see Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, the Marc Stone Band, the New Soul Finders with Marilyn Barbarin and the Hill Country Hounds along with special guests Kirk Joseph, Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr., Lynn Drury, Reggie Scanlan, Jeff Watkins and John Paul Carmody.

New Jersey native and long time New Orleans resident Joshua Abelson has been doing heavy lifting behind the scenes in the rock ‘n’ roll world for over thirty years. He toured as part of the Grateful Dead security team and ran the door at New York City’s famed Lone Star Cafe in its 1980s heyday.

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TVD Video Premiere: Marc Stone, “Digitized”

PHOTO: RICK MOORE | “We’re fed so much bullshit through this digital onslaught. I’m just trying to cut through that with some funky acoustic music and little dose of truth.” That’s guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and producer Marc Stone on his motivation for releasing his first official video after decades in the music business. TVD is proud to present the exclusive premiere of “Digitized.”

The song takes a hard-grooving shot at all the digital misinformation pouring off our screens every day. Stone steps out front on an acoustic National steel guitar proving to many who know him primarily as a blues artist that he can rock as well.

His powerhouse, all-star band features Grammy-winning roots renegade Alvin “Youngblood” Hart on harmonica, psychedelic soul shaman Papa Mali, New Orleans funk legend Marilyn Barbarin, and down home belters Terry Scott, Jr. and Deanna Bernard. Veteran New Orleans jazz master Richard Moten anchors the proceedings with liquid lines from his upright bass.

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Satchmo SummerFest kicks off next week
with live performances on WWOZ

TVD is proud to be a media sponsor for Satchmo SummerFest for the sixth year in a row. On Thursday and Friday we’ll have previews of the annual festival which has moved back to the Old U.S. Mint after a year in Jackson Square, and reviews the following week. New Orleans’ community radio station, WWOZ (90.7 FM), will feature live performances during a preview week beginning Monday, July 31.

All of the performers are also scheduled at the festival and listeners can tune in via terrestrial radio or online at www.org.

The first performance on Monday will feature vocalist Topsy Chapman and her singing daughters in  the group Solid Harmony. They will play during the Jazz from the French Market show at 5:30 PM. Chapman is an inventive vocalist grounded in the New Orleans traditions of jazz and gospel. On Tuesday morning, one of the youngest brass bands in the city, the Red Wolf Brass Band, will appear on the traditional jazz show at 10 AM.

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