Juice’s Jamie Galloway passes at 41

The quicksilver harmonica player and full-throated vocalist died on Friday, February 22, 2013 of a stroke and heart attack. Galloway was also a well-respected New Orleans chef who worked in some of the finest kitchens in the city including Dickie Brennan’s Steak House, Commander’s Palace and Jacques-Imo’s Cafe. 

Juice began in 1995 and quickly became favorites on the local funk and roots rock scene. In 2000, they performed for the first time at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival  on the strength of their inventive live performances, and their first album, Fortified. They released a follow-up, All Lit Up, in 2002. In 2005, the band also released a live album, Hey Buddy.

Galloway was a bear of a man with a powerful stage presence, and a glimmer behind his eyes. His approach to harmonica occasionally reminded listeners of John Popper of Blues Traveler. But a more apt comparison would be New Orleans’ own J.D. Hill. HIs playing was nimble, often piercing, like a clarion call. His passion for living rang out; distilled in every solo.

Though Juice is primarily a vehicle for the rootsy workingman’s songs  of bassist Dave Jordan, they are known to stretch out tunes, which often found them lumped in the jam band genre. But the band, especially in their turn-of-the-century heyday, were so much more than itinerant noodlers. Their influences, from the funk of New Orleans, to the blues and soul of mid-20th century Americana, and their choice of cover tunes, exposed the band’s depth.

Galloway’s harp was always in the mix as he traded licks with the other members of the band. He could sound like a full horn section especially when there was a saxophone player on stage. As a lead and backing vocalist, his gruff voice always held a hint of humor while occasionally laying bear his deep soul.  Besides his work with Juice, Galloway was also a well-regarded guest with numerous other bands. According to Aron Lambert, Juice’s drummer, in an interview on WWOZ 90.7 FM, “…he played with everyone.”

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Jordan’s regular gig with his band the Neighborhood Improvement Association this past Friday night at the Bayou Beer Garden turned into a heartfelt musical tribute to his deceased friend and band mate. Numerous other local musicians that were in and out of Juice’s orbit including Billy Iuso, Thomas McDonald, Michael Burkhart, Harry Hardin  and Derrick Freeman, joined Jordan and Lambert on stage.

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Survivors include his mother, Kay Galloway; sister, Sarah Irby and husband Drew; brothers, Josh Galloway and wife Claire and Ryan Galloway; niece, Lily Galloway and nephew, Hayden Yanni and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. His father, James Henry Galloway Jr. and grandparents Otto and Billie Curry, preceded him in death.

A visitation was held Monday evening in Baton Rouge and a second line and memorial celebration is scheduled for Sunday, March 3 at 3 PM at the Maple Leaf Bar.

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