Milo Music Parlor offers a unique live music experience

It’s not hard catching live music in New Orleans. Musicians in NOLA are like Olympia baristas, they’re just about everywhere and they’re really good at what they do.

Kelcy Mae, center, performed with her band at the Milo Music Parlor in early April.

Kelcy Mae, center, performed with her band at the Milo Music Parlor in early April.

One memorable experience during my visit last month was watching Kelcy Mae perform in an incredibly artful, yet defunct, cafe located in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. The cool thing is that you too could catch a performance of a talented young artist there.

The event is described as “modern-day speakeasy” and when I first arrived at the renovated building on Oretha Castle Boulevard (about a mile walk from Canal Street), my first sense was that I had gotten the wrong address.

The back of the renovated building that serves as Milo Music Parlor

The back of the renovated building that serves as Milo Music Parlor

The building is owned and was painstakingly redone by Elizabeth and Gary Eckman who incorporated original artwork and craftsmanship into their renovation of the century-old building, creating a modern space while retaining the grandeur of the past.

The building doesn’t look like your typical New Orleans music venue. Yet on Tuesdays, the space transforms into the Milo Music Parlor — the brainchild of Kim Vu-Dinh, a self-described music nerd who also runs Milo Records.  Because of Kim’s good sense to keep KAOS on her distribution list, I’ve featured the excellent new music promoted by Milo Records on Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa.

Each week, Milo’s Music Parlor hosts a different musician or band who performs in this intimate space that feels like a large living room. The additional twist is that about halfway through the performance, the musicians take a break and Kim interviews them for a podcast featured on It’s New Orleans— “web radio for locals, exiles, and lovers of New Orleans everywhere.”

Her first posted podcast is of her interview of Vanessa Neimann who fronts Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue.

milo4Originally from California with a significant detour through Alaska, Ms. Vu-Dinh is an attorney who has clearly found her passion and home in the New Orleans music scene. In introducing Gal Holiday, she insightfully touches on the melting pot music milieu of New Orleans.

“To some it may seem unlikely that this classic honky tonk band called New Orleans home. To others, who’ve heard them, it may come as no surprise that they flourish in a town where tradition in every genre is paid respect with high caliber musicianship.”

As I’ve tried to demonstrate on my show, New Orleans music does not fit tidily into one or two music genres.  It’s not just jazz, or Dixieland, or Iko Iko. Each generation, each neighborhood, seems to contribute a new energy and style that somehow absorbs nicely into the city’s traditions, rhythms and dialect.

In a city that is attracting more than its share of Millennials, uber-talented young musicians continue to make their mark on New Orleans. And you can witness it happening at Milo Music Parlor. The programs are open to the public for an affordable cover charge and the show ends with plenty of time to catch music elsewhere. Check the schedule here. 

Next week, the Music Parlor will host Aurora Nealand who will perform her avant garde solo project Monocle and later in the month David Doucet and Al Tharp of Beausoleil will be at the Parlor.

Consider subscribing to my blog (see upper right corner of page) and catching my shows of New Orleans music on KAOS or the edited versions on Mixcloud

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About Tim Sweeney

Volunteer deejay for community radio station KAOS 89.3 FM Olympia, Washington -- www.kaosradio.org. Host of Sweeney's Gumbo YaYa - a two-hour radio show featuring the music of New Orleans -- every Thursday starting at 10 a.m. (PST)
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One Response to Milo Music Parlor offers a unique live music experience

  1. becklieb says:

    Tim! Thanks SO much for being the conduit to NOLA for us!!!!! Wow….. xoxo

    Like

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