Gumbo YaYa Attempts to Clear the Air with Fire and Smoke

If smoke has been getting into your eyes lately, perhaps its also worth getting it into your ears with this week’s show featuring “Fire” by Rebirth Brass Band and “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire” by Buckwheat Zydeco.

The first full set attempts to exorcise the fire and smoke demons bedeviling the West Coast — though a rational climate policy would be a far better approach. I start with”Something in the Air” by Kid Eggplant and the Trad Melatauns and written by Papa Eggplant (aka Sidney Snow) and featuring Bruce Brackman on clarinet.

In recognition of the passing of Frederick “Toots” Hilbert, the show dives into a Jamaican-theme set starting with Toots and the Maytals performing the classic Fats Domino hit “Let the Four Winds Blow.” It’s an appropriate choice given the pivotal role Domino and songs like “Be My Guest” (which you will also hear) play in helping to shape early Rock Steady and Reggae music. The set progresses from there culminating in Bonerama’s “Sun Lion” and returning to the clarinet with Dr. Michael White’s take on Bob Marley’s “One Love.”

Lee Mohler (second from left) with Artesian Rumble Arkestra at Honkfest West in Seattle.

Lee Mohler joins me at that point. Lee is a trumpet player for the Artesian Rumble Arkestra — a collective of Olympia-area musicians who best exemplify, at least locally, the spirit of New Orleans second line music. Lee also serenaded our children and their classmates on an overnight school field trip playing “Taps” while they crawled into sleeping bags on a gymnasium floor in the Columbia Gorge in what feels like about two hundred years ago. Lee and I have visited New Orleans together and he shares some of his love for the music with Smoking Time Jazz Club playing in the background.

I also recognize the passing of blues guitarist Bryan Lee who held down for many years a regular stint at the Old Absinthe House. Lee has 17 albums to his name but I thought, given his passing, I would honor him with a very upbeat original song from his all-Gospel final release – Sanctuary.

Maria Muldaur, Shamarr Allen, Sarah Quintana, Guitar Lightnin Lee, Spider Murphy and over a dozen others join us to fill out two hours of music from New Orleans. Thanks for tuning in. Consider subscribing which means you’ll get a notice every time a new show posted. Cheers.

Let’s “Steal Away” from all this

There’s nothing like listening to an album three times in a row. Admittedly, I was cleaning house and fielding calls from relatives about the impact of the novel coronavirus on our community, so it wasn’t always a deep listen. But after three laps of Walter “Wolfman” Washington’s My Future is My Past, I have a better understanding of what he’s done with his latest release. Go ahead and listen to the show which starts with his song while you read on from here.

I don’t know if I really knew what to make of Washington’s album when I picked it up last year. A highly regarded guitarist who can lay down funk, blues and R&B licks, his latest release gives him the opportunity to show off his soulful side. His singing takes front stage, though his guitar is very much evident throughout the album. This week’s show features his original “Steal Away” and I’ll be sharing more gems from his album in later shows.

After Washington, we move quickly into Anders Osborne territory with “Standing With Angels” followed by Buckwheat Zydeco’s “Let Your Yeah be Yeah” (a song made famous by Jimmy Cliff) and Billy Iuso’s cover of Little Feat’s “Spanish Moon” with Kirk Joseph on sousaphone.

If you’re looking for jazz you’ll have to wait until the second hour cause I also provide a double shot of Galactic (playing locally next week) as well as Trombone Shorty and Rebirth Brass Band (scheduled for April in the Northwest). A sweet country set follows with Sweet Cecilia and also The Hackberry Ramblers and The Deslondes.

Lots more to explore if you listen to the whole show. Thanks for tuning in.