Happy Twelfth Night and the start of Mardi Gras Season. As I write this, the “Phunny Phorty Phellows” who typically celebrate the day with a crowded and loud streetcar ride are prepared for a special COVID-adjusted event. It’s going to be a different Mardi Gras season this year and this week’s show is bookended by songs that reflect how I feel.
Tim Laughlin’s “King of the Mardi Gras” opens the show. With no parades and parties to preside over, there will be no Krewe of Rex royalty this year. The show ends with The Original Pin Stripe Brass Band performing “The Saints” from their post-Katrina record I Wanna Go Back to New Orleans. It’s going to be a slow recovery as we wait for the population to get vaccinated. When it finally happens, many of us will be needing to go back to New Orleans.
I’ve assembled a diverse mix of music this show including the rocksteady New Orleans band 007 doing “Won’t You Come Home Now,” the JazzFest Superjam group Dragon Smoke with “Love and Compassion,” Lafayette HonkyTonker Kevin Sekhani singing from his latest Day Ain’t Done., and Leyla McCalla sharing “Changing Tide” from her Langston Hughes tribute, Vari-Colored Songs.
There’s 25 other songs in the two-hour show ranging from jazz, blues, soul, alt-Zydeco, indie rock, alt-country, and songs that defy a genre assignment — other than . . . it’s New Orleans music.
If you have questions about the music or musicians, please let me know. My goal is to get you closer to the diverse and deep New Orleans music scene so that when things calm down, we can “go back to New Orleans.”
The 2020 voting season is upon us. Every voter in Washington should have received a ballot by now so I’ve compiled for today’s show (and next week’s) a soundtrack for completing your ballot or, if you live in one of those states that hasn’t mastered mail balloting yet, music to help you wait in line to vote.
This show includes songs of optimism such as Eric Lindell’s “Love and Compassion” which he released at the start of the Obama administration as well as the less rosy (but still oddly upbeat)”Ship is Sinking” — a new release by Bon Bon Vivant.
Yes, I placed Delfeayo Marsalis’ “Make America Great Again,” George Porter Jr.’s “Careful Who You Idolize” and Kevin Sekhani’s “Ballad of a Lonely Clown” together on purpose. I make no endorsements on this show.
My world affair set includes C.J. Chenier’s “We Gotta Have Peace” and Louis Ludwig’s “God Hates Flags” along with a rare broadcast of “Whistleblower” by The Monocle (aka Aurora Nealand).
Davis Rogan jumps in with his latest song “Joe Biden Will Do Just Fine” where he urges all of us who supported one of the many other Democratic candidates for the nomination to suck it up and vote for Joe and Kamala. By the way Davis, I also was a Jesse Jackson supporter, elected as one of his alternate precinct delegates back when this state still held caucuses.
There’s an economy set as well with Leyla McCalla’s “Money is King,” Big Sam’s Funky Nation’s rendition of “Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further,” The Big Dixie Swingers with “I Haven’t Got a Pot” and I reach far back into the last century for Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown’s “Please Mr. Nixon.”
You can be assured that this show does not harangue you about voting. If you’re reading this, you don’t need to be convinced. On KAOS, my show follows Democracy Now! — how could you listen to that show and not want to vote. This is simply about entertaining and providing some inspiration while you ponder your choices for 2020. Let me know what you think.
With Mardi Gras over, we enter Lent and confront 40 days of reflection and deprivation. Don’t deprive yourself of the music, get my show started and then read on.
After the fun of the holidays and partying of carnival season, true believers in Lent settle down to a period designed to eliminate distraction and focus mind on prayer and connection.
While I’m not exactly a true believer, I am fascinated with the ability of religious practices to focus the mind on self-reflection. So today’s show displays that theme through music.
Alex McMurray sets the tone with “The Day after Mardi Gras Day.” I follow up with a rocking, bluesy set of reflection featuring Kevin Sekhani (“Wrong Direction”), Anders Osborne (“Echoes of My Sins”) and Honey Island Swamp Band (“No Easy Way”).
The ashes placed on the foreheads of Catholics speaks to our mortality. We are dust and to dust we shall return. Leyla McCalla’s “Let It Fall” beautifully captures that feeling as does Howard Fishman’s gospel like “When I Die.”
Other traditional songs with new twists include Aurora Nealand’s “His Eye is On the Sparrow,” Shotgun Jazz Band “Down by the Riverside,” and the Neville’s revision of a Steve Miller hit renamed “Fear, Hate, Envy, Jealousy.”
There’s lot more to explore in the show. Thanks for listening!