Bonerama celebrates
the release of Bonerama Plays Zeppelin at Tipitina’s, 4/19

The trombone-driven rock band Bonerama has never been afraid to tackle cover songs despite having a deep catalog of originals. For several years they have been adding more of the songs of Led Zeppelin to their live repertoire (“Moby Dick” was featured on the first album) and eventually realized they had enough for a full album. On April 26, their new album of all Zep, Bonerama Plays Zeppelin, hits stores. On Friday night, they celebrate the release of the album at Tipitina’s. The album can be preordered here.

From the first notes of this record, which will also be available on vinyl, you know you’re in for something special. The band tackles ten songs, including most of the classics with the exception of “Stairway to Heaven,” which at least as far as this writer is concerned is nothing but a good thing.

Some of the songs are done straight up with searing vocals that will chill, and that’s saying something considering the singer who first brought these tunes to our ears. Others, the beginning of “Heartbreaker” is a case in point, are rearranged with a jazzy touch. But don’t let that scare you away because when the throaty vocals kick in, the band is right back in classic rock territory.

There are a couple of special guests on the album. Ivan Neville adds organ and clavinet on “Hey Hey What Can I Do,” which has a great trombone arrangement on the chorus, and “The Crunge.” But the biggest revelation might come right at the outset when Mark Mullins’ 18-year-old son Michael wails on “Good Times Bad Times.”

Mullins, who started the band with trombonist Craig Klein, is using two hash tags that sum up the potential of his son–#nextgen and #nowayheisstillinhighschool. I particularly love the second one.

With an album of Led Zeppelin covers, you had better have a good guitarist and Bert Cotton, who has always impressed me with his technique and soulfulness, is right on the money on this album. He really stretches out with some blistering rock soloing especially on “Four Sticks” and “In My Time of Dying.”

For the show Friday night, Bonerama is expecting two special guests. Michael Mullins will make his Tipitina’s debut and the band’s former drummer A.J. Hall will be there as well. Hall plays and sings his ass off on the album, but he has left the group to play with keyboardist Jon Cleary.

Bassist and singer Sam Price from the Honey Island Swamp Band will open the show with his newish solo project Sam Price and the True Believers.

Tickets are available here.

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