All-Female Gumbo YaYa for 2020

It’s another all-female show this week featuring some new artists as well as, for me at least, some newly rediscovered. You can listen to it now or whenever you wish from the player below. (Show airs in Olympia Thursday mornings and Bellingham Friday evenings)

New artists on this show for me include Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band, Topsy Chapman, Elizabeth Joan Kelly, the Boswell Sisters, Sierra Green, Tiffany Pollack and Carsie Blanton. As usual, I include songs by Marva Wright, Lena Prima, Irma Thomas and the Original Pinettes Brass Band.

Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band

Each year, doing the show gets a lot easier. In fact, in my initial music pull for this show, I had twice as much music as I needed. But the music industry, like most of our economy, is still tilted toward men. Things are improving but we’re not there yet. It’s a good year to vote.

Quarantine and Chill – With Some of New Orleans’ Finest

Shamarr Allen wants to keep you in shape for when Second Lines return. This means today’s show kicks off with”Quarantine and Chill” and Allen’s exhortation that “just because you’re stuck in the house, don’t mean you can’t . . .show me that footwork!”

Get my show started and I’ll fill you in on the rest of the program’s line up.

Four more fine New Orleans artists help me out with calling the music this week, starting with Debbie Davis, former member of the Pfister Sisters. Davis has just released her second record with pianist Josh Paxton t– Interesting Times. She introduces us to her new album (about 5 minutes into the show) with “Other Than Everything, Everything’s Great” and “Will It Go Round in Circles.” She sings two more times in the set — David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” from her latest record and Lou Reed’s “After Hours” from an earlier project — Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers.

Lena Prima has produced and distributed over 200 masks.

Lena Prima comes on (at about 38 minutes into the show) to talk about how she’s been doing during the quarantine. As you can see from the picture, she’s been busy making masks. In her set, you’ll hear songs from three of her albums — the title track “Since the Storm”written by her husband who leads her band, “Jump for Joy” from her album of original songs Starting Something and a live recording of a classic pulled from her father’s songbook, “Scuba Diver.”

You will meet Sierra Green at about the 50 minute mark. Sierra Green & the Soul Machine recently received Offbeat Magazine‘s Best Emerging Artist award. You’ll hear two tracks from her self-titled debut record and, just for fun, I finish that set with Glen David Andrews powering through a Galactic number (You Don’t Know). If you were waiting to dance, wait no more!

Davis Rogan on piano performing a packed house in Olympia.

Davis Rogan was scheduled to perform at Octapas in Olympia next month but obviously those plans are no longer. Like just about every professional musician with a mortgage, Davis has been learning how to get his music and his tip jar out on the Internet. You can catch his live performances on his Facebook page Sundays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 4 p.m. (Left Coast Times). Rogan joins the show about 65 minutes in and introduces his latest single “Mardi Gras Chicken” followed by “No Blues” and “Fly Away.”

I throw in a set of Zydeco and Cajun along with a long string of brass band music kicked off by Chuck Carbo’s “Hurt Coming On.” But before I do that, I make a pitch for supporting community radio. My show airs on Thursdays on KAOS and Fridays on KMRE. Listener support is essential to these stations continued survival.

As for me, I just want to smile and you can make me smile by subscribing to this blog. I’ll be back next week.

A Trumpeter, Trombonist, Guitarist and Keyboardist Walk into . . .

Please consider subscribing to my posts. In return you will receive notices on new shows and I will get a happy little endorphin boost

This week’s Gumbo YaYa features the voices and music of Marla Dixon, Craig Klein, Billy Iuso and John “Papa” Gros plus a birthday anniversary and more. Go ahead and play the show which starts with a live Wild Magnolia performance in recognition of the 2020 JazzFest that didn’t happen.

Each week, I’ve been including recorded messages from New Orleans musicians and playing a set of their music as a way for me and listeners of the show to learn a bit more about them. What comes out clear from this week’s set of artists is how passionate they are about their profession and the music they make.

Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band – Marla Dixon is second from right

After the Wild Magnolia song, we hear from Marla Dixon (at about 8 and half minutes in) who sings and plays trumpet for the Shotgun Jazz Band and the all-female Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band which has played festivals in Europe. You’ll hear her perform with both those bands, including a live performance at the Dew Drop Dance & Social Hall (not to be confused with the old Central City Dew Drop Inn) plus a lagniappe spin of her request, Captain John Handy’s “Panama.” I unfortunately got mixed up and did not play her request “Streets of the City” so I will get to that one in my next show. Dixon is fully embedded in New Orleans and its music scene but Northwest listeners attuned to Canadian speak will recognize her origins when she pronounces “out” as in “out-choruses.”

Craig Klein is very much a native of the city. A former member of Harry Connick Jr.’s big band, he formed Bonerama with Mark Mullins over 20 years ago but is also on a long list of other recordings and involved in a string of New Orleans bands. He will tell you a bit about it (starting around the 26 minute mark), as well as fill you in on the New Orleans Nightcrawlers’ latest release Atmosphere and the New Orleans Jazz Vipers new record, Is There a Chance for Me. You’ll hear tracks from both plus the title track from Bonerama’s Hot Like Fire.

Billy Iuso on guitar performing with Bonerama flanked by trombonists Mark Mullins (left) and Craig Klein.

Billy Iuso caught my attention at the 2015 Freret Street Festival — an event I attended for two reasons. First, to check out my old elementary school — the former Our Lady of Lourdes on the corner of Freret and Napoleon — and to see Bonerama live for the first time. As luck would have it, we got to the Bonerama stage early and caught Iuso’s show. His songs have a way of pulling me in and holding me. You’ll hear his greeting at about the 52 minute mark followed by tracks from four of his records, including one under the name of Brides of Jesus.

John “Papa” Gros was the bandleader of the funk group Papa Grows Funk which held down the Monday slot at the Maple Leaf for a decade. When the band broke up, funk fans all over the world were heartbroken. And the story of the band was retold in a highly entertaining documentary called “Do U Want It.” Now, Gros is doing his own thing but years of helping others with their gigs and recordings pays off with quality support in his latest record – Central City. Starting at the 73 minute mark, Gros talks about his line up and the origins of one of its tracks “Old Joe’s Turkey” – a song you’ll hear along with another track from that new release. I also spin one from his previous solo effort Rivers on Fire and I couldn’t resist including one from his funkier days, “Pass It!”

Near the end of the show, I celebrate the birthday anniversary of Bobby Marchan, recognize the passing of Big Al Carson and close with the Funky Meters performing live at a previous JazzFest.

Please consider subscribing to this blog (upper right hand side of page) since it not only clues you into when my shows are available but provides this great little endorphin boost when I see it come through. Cheers.

COVID KAOS Closure Conjures Encore

Located on the campus of the Evergreen State College, the KAOS studio is closed as the world grapples with controlling the coronavirus. So this week, with the help of station manager Jon Hamilton who agreed to load the show into the station computer, we’re airing a repeat of one of my favorites from last year — An All Female YaYa Show. You can wait till 10 a.m. (PST) Thursday when it airs on 89.3 FM (and streaming) – or you can listen to it now by clicking the sideways arrow below).

Just as she did in my previous All-Female shows, Ingrid Lucia kicks off this show of women vocalists and bandleaders– this time by leading us on a “Bourbon Street Parade” from her 2010 Live from New Orleans record.

Meschiya Lake

Meschiya Lake follows with her invocation “I Believe in Music” from 2013’s Fooler’s Gold. Lynn Drury then takes us straight to the heart and heartache of New Orleans’ live music scene with “Frenchmen Street” from Sugar on the Floor. Dana Abbott anchors the first full set with “You’re Mine.” By that time, resistance is futile.

The second set will get heels a flying with Doreen Ketchens, Albanie Falletta and Marla Dixon’s Shotgun Jazz Band. The exercise will be good for you for the following set will definitely give you pause.

The set begins with a funeral march that seems to get more optimistic as it progresses until Aurora Nealand’s intones “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” The beat and swing builds up to a great drum solo. The song is “Flee as a Bird” — a hymn with the song credit given to Mary Dana — a song catcher who worked South Carolina church scene in the mid-19th century. Bon Bon Vivant’s poet laureate, songwriter and front lady Abigail Cosio takes it from there with “Old Forgotten Tune.” While her band can rock you, this song is just her guitar and voice singing a story of loss and how music and memories entwine. The song was inspired by a cowboy poet line she read in the library at the Will Roger’s Historic Park. This set ends with “Harm”– the first track from Elizabeth Joan Kelly’s new release Farewell, Doomed Planet! which “is about the apocalypse. And Chernobyl wolves. Pollution. And space travel. Existential dread. And whales. ”

A Lafayette-style set follows with Yvette Landry, Bonsoir Catin and Sweet Cecilia with a well-placed serving of Gal Holiday. Later you’ll hear Linnzi Zaorski’s take of the Andrew Sisters hit “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” — a song from a 1930’s Yiddish musical that was also oddly a hit in Nazi Germany until authorities got wind of its Jewish provenance.

Leyla McCalla, Debbie Davis, Carol Fran, Tank and the Bangas and the Original Pinettes Brass Band (New Orleans only all-female brass band) take a turn. Margie Perez, Little Queenie and Shawn Williams bat clean up.

Thanks for listening, stay healthy and please consider subscribing.

Cellist Helen Gillet visits Olympia and Gumbo YaYa

Helen Gillet’s return to the Northwest gave me an excuse to talk with her on air and feature her music. But there’s lots of other fun songs to appreciate on this show.

Helen Gillet blasts off at Octapas on Sunday

Gillet and her magic cello will perform at Octapas Cafe, Sunday at 7:30 p.m. This will be her third visit to Olympia but her first time to perform at a public venue in town. (Helen’s website)I play three of her songs on the show, including Carolina — a song about the extinct Carolina Parakeet that was inspired by a mural painted by students from a school for the blind. She tells the story in our brief conversation which you can catch about an hour into the show.

But first, you’ll hear a fun show opener by Lil’ Buck Sinegal called “Monkey in a Sack.” If you’ve never heard Sinegal perform then just playing the first song from the show should be worth your while. (have you clicked the sideway arrow above to start the show yet?)

Kirk Joseph

Other audio treats include a raspy banjo-inflected “Hound Dog,” the Boswell Sisters “Put that Sun Back in the Sky,” David Egan’s “Funky Dreams,” and Louis Prima rocking it with bandleader, saxophonist and fellow New Orleanian Sam Butera. And that’s just the first full set.

Some of my other favorites in the show include Kirk Joseph, sousaphonist, performing an original “Not Yet, Son” and Ecirb Muller’s Twisted Dixie’s take on “Sunnyside of the Street.”

As usual, the show flows from R&B to Jazz to Funk to Swing as if you enjoy it all, which if you listen to my show — you pretty much have to. Thanks for tuning in and please subscribe.

All Female Ya Ya 2019

You’ll hear some damn good singing on this week’s show- most likely related to the all-female cast of the show.

Just as she did last year, Ingrid Lucia kicks off this show of women vocalists and bandleaders– this time by leading us on a “Bourbon Street Parade” from her 2010 Live from New Orleans record.

Meschiya Lake

Meschiya Lake follows with her invocation “I Believe in Music” from 2013’s Fooler’s Gold. Lynn Drury then takes us straight to the heart and heartache of New Orleans’ live music scene with “Frenchmen Street” from Sugar on the Floor. Dana Abbott anchors the first full set with “You’re Mine.” By that time, resistance is futile.

The second set will get heels a flying with Doreen Ketchens, Albanie Falletta and Marla Dixon’s Shotgun Jazz Band. The exercise will be good for you for the following set will definitely give you pause.

The set begins with a funeral march that seems to get more optimistic as it progresses until Aurora Nealand’s intones “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” The beat and swing builds up to a great drum solo. The song is “Flee as a Bird” — a hymn with the song credit given to Mary Dana — a song catcher who worked South Carolina church scene in the mid-19th century. Bon Bon Vivant’s poet laureate, songwriter and front lady Abigail Cosio takes it from there with “Old Forgotten Tune.” While her band can rock you, this song is just her guitar and voice singing a story of loss and how music and memories entwine. The song was inspired by a cowboy poet line she read in the library at the Will Roger’s Historic Park. This set ends with “Harm”– the first track from Elizabeth Joan Kelly’s new release Farewell, Doomed Planet! which “is about the apocalypse. And Chernobyl wolves. Pollution. And space travel. Existential dread. And whales. ”

A Lafayette-style set follows with Yvette Landry, Bonsoir Catin and Sweet Cecilia with a well-placed serving of Gal Holiday. Later you’ll hear Linnzi Zaorski’s take of the Andrew Sisters hit “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” — a song from a 1930’s Yiddish musical that was also oddly a hit in Nazi Germany until authorities got wind of its Jewish provenance.

Leyla McCalla, Debbie Davis, Carol Fran, Tank and the Bangas and the Original Pinettes Brass Band (New Orleans only all-female brass band) take a turn. Margie Perez, Little Queenie and Shawn Williams bat clean up.

Thanks for listening and please consider subscribing.

Female New Orleans Artists take the Gumbo YaYa stage

Every year, I’ve done a show featuring exclusively female artists and every time I do it, I ask myself why I don’t it more often. This show is awesome so get it started and then read on.

It’s not that I don’t play these artists at other times. In fact, I play them frequently but some times its nice just to give these wonderful musicians the full spotlight — without the guys in the way.  And each year, as I learn more about the New Orleans music scene, the show gets better.

This show starts in the delightful embrace of Ingrid Lucia’s  “My Honey’s Lovin’ Arms.”  And the show just keeps getting better.  Lynn Drury, who is featured later in the show, joins Margie Perez, Monica McIntyre, and Paula August Jepson  in  “Got to Tell Ya” from The Honeypots-– an album I found in my last foray through the Louisiana Music Factory.  I follow that with songs by  Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses and Marva Wright.  

For this show, I emphasized all, or mostly all, women bands and bands fronted by women. Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue scores on both fronts. She has a talented team backing her up including a female bass player and drummer.  In all, I spin 26 tracks by female artists from New Orleans, including Rosie Ledet, Gina Forsyth, Yvette Landry, Dana Abbott, Albanie Falletta, Helen Gillet, and, of course, Irma Thomas.

Also, the best-known (if not only) all female brass band from New Orleans, the Original Pinettes Brass Band crank out their own version of “Who You Gonna Call.”

Inspired by the release of the documentary,  “How They Got Over,”   about African-American gospel quartets and their role in rock n’ roll, I do a set of spirituals starting with the all-female gospel quartet, Southern Harps – – Zion Trinity and Mahalia Jackson fill out that uplifting set.

Stay tuned for my Thanksgiving show which is already in the can and ready to be posted early next week.  Thanks for listening.

Dr. Ford and Joan Jett inspired Gumbo YaYa Show

I can’t imagine the courage it takes to sit in front of a national audience and talk about a painful past trauma, nor can I imagine the determination required to break into a male-dominated pop culture field. Start my show and read on about the two women who subconsciously affected this week’s show.

danielle nicole
Danielle Nicole, bass player and singer for Trampled by Turtles, has a solo career with early recordings hat feature New Orleans musicians.

No theme this week.  I just selected some strong tracks and was getting them lined up on my Thursday morning show.  But that was also the day that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford sat before a mostly male Senate panel and talked about a painful episode in her life that she still carries with her today.  With the 24-hour news cycle bombarding me with the latest development, it was hard not to think about her and the courage such action takes.

Add that to my experience the night before where I had attended the premiere of the Joan Jett documentary, “Bad Reputation.”   The story of Jett’s path as a female rocker was enlightening. It was because of her movie that I pulled from the KAOS blues shelf a neglected copy of  Ghalia and Mama’s Boys to kick off the show.  (Actually, I start with  the Radiators but she’s the first one I introduce.)

And in the seething anger of the moment (I broadcast live on KAOS right after “Democracy Now” which on the day of my show reported on stories of women molested by men who got away with it), I picked the track “Hoodoo Evil Man”.

Singer/Songwriter/Rocker Ghalia is from Brussels but she recorded the song in New Orleans with Johnny Mastro and Mama’s Boys.  That’s close enough for me. Also, in this week’s show, I play other female rockers including Danielle Nicole, who is from Kansas and was lead singer for Trampled by Turtles. Nicole did a release with Galactic drummer Stanton Moore and New Orleans blues-rocker Anders Osborne that included the song, “Didn’t Do You No Good.”

I didn’t set out to do a show focusing on women rockers and to be honest, this show is more spiced rather than infused with women performers. (About once a year, I do an exclusively female show. Here’s the last one.) But this show includes a new release by Kelcy Mae’s latest project, two tracks by Kara Grainger. Aurora Kneeland’s alter ego “Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers,” Gal Holiday, Albanie Falletta, the Original Pinettes, Rosie Ledet, and a rocking song by Irma Thomas.

 

What music will the Louisiana Flood of 2016 inspire?

The pain isn’t over for Baton Rouge and surrounding communities. Even after this once-in-a-millennium flood, the region continues to be hammered by thunderous afternoon storms dumping inches of water followed by the usual tropical heat blast that Louisiana is famous for in late summer.

It’s not as if this area needs any more grist (or precipitation) to sing the blues.

flood 1027
Dupre and Baudin Streets in New Orleans – Flood of 1927 – From the Historic New Orleans Collection

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 affected over a half million people, displacing 200,000 African Americans along the lower Mississippi River — many of whom joined the Great Migration that carried jazz and blues to Chicago and other northern cities (and ultimately the world.)

The devastation inspired a great many songs, perhaps most notably When the Levee Breaks by Memphis Minnie who was born in Algiers across the river from New Orleans. She wrote and performed the song with her husband Kansas Joe McCoy but you might be more familiar with the Led Zeppelin adaptation of the song.

And of course, there’s Randy Newman’s seminal Louisiana 1927 which became closely associated with the New Orleans flood following Hurricane Katrina — another song-inspiring catastrophe.

marva wright2
Marva Wright singing at French Quarter Festival 2002 – Photo by C.J. Ryan from her website

Of the many Katrina songs, I think Marva Wright whose eastern New Orleans home was destroyed under eight feet of water best captures the frustration of being stranded in a city surrounded by deep poisonous water and no relief available. Though she was able to leave the city before Katrina, she puts you right up on a baking rooftop waving towels at the helicopters as they fly by in her song The Levee is Breaking Down.  She follows that song up on her album “When the Levees Broke,” with a heart crushing lament called Katrina Blues.

This is the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with the city mostly recovered. But now with the Louisiana Flood of 2016, there’s a new recovery effort that is underway and new music being written to chronicle the struggles.

Check my show out this Thursday, I’ll be playing Memphis Minnie, Marva Wright, Zachary Richard and John Boutte’s version of Louisiana 1927. I’m also expecting to get on the phone with  Roddie Romero who fronts the Lafayette-based band, Roddie Romero & the Hub City All-Stars to hear about how things are going over there and to talk about his band’s soon-to-be-released album, “Gulfstream.”