Gumbo YaYa 2021 Mixtape of New Music

Tuba Skinny with Maria Muldaur kicks off this year’s mixtape with Lil Armstrong’s “Let’s Get Happy Together.” So let’s listen and get happy together. You won’t even have to wear your mask if you’re using the player below.

So this week’s show is a Top 20 version of my earlier broadcast and post from this month summarizing new releases from New Orleans. I play my favorite songs from that collection. So you’ll hear Lynn Drury singing “Back on My Feet,” from her Dancin’ in the Kitchen release and Chris Acker’s “The Pig War Reenactment” from his Odd, Ordinary & Otherwise. Ted Hefko’s “Big Thing” from Down Below finishes the first set.

In case you don’t want to use the player above, I created a Spotify playlist from this show (look for Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa 2021 Mixtape). You’ll find information about these artists and their recordings in my earlier post. By the way, the show you hear from this website is the version that goes to Pacific Network. It’s slightly different from the versions heard in Olympia and Bellingham.

Jon Batiste has eight Grammy nominations resulting from his latest album which features Hot 8 Brass Band, Trombone Shorty, and St. Augustine Marching 100.

One-half of The Meters are featured next with “Give Me Back My Loving,” by Leo Nocentelli and “Crying For Home” by George Porter, Jr. Dwayne Dopsie’s “Set Me Free, “Tiffany Pollack’s “Mountain” and Kid Eggplant’s “Communista” fill out the rest of the set.

You’ll get another helping of Drury’s record (“St. Tammany”) before hearing Loose Cattle’s “Get Downtown” and Cha Wa’s “Uptown.” But you will also hear a track from my favorite album of the year –Jon Batiste’s We Are. In fact, you will eventually hear three tracks from him (the limit allowed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that governs radio airplay).

You’ll hear show greetings and show IDs from Pollack, Drury, Kid Eggplant, and Craig Klein who also shares the scene created when he and trumpeter Kevin Louis performed and sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” in honor of their friend, the late Lucien Barbarin.

Also included in this mixtape are Dumpstaphunk, Jason Ricci and Joe Krown, Jonathan Bauer, Jamie Lynn Vessels, Craig Klein and Monk Boudreaux.

Thanks for listening and have a great and safe New Year.

Your 2021 New Orleans Music Buying Guide

Give the gift of music. Here’s the new music that has crossed my path in doing Sweeney’s Gumbo Ya Ya this year. I play these records on the show in the order that you see them below.

Jon Batiste: We Are – What can I add to a record that has racked up eight Grammy noms? Batiste is a genius who writes and sings from a core of truth that is embedded in New Orleans. Once you get past the “Freedom” video, check out and several ass-kicking videos featuring the title track, “Freedom” and “Tell the Truth,” “We Are,”and “I Need You.”

Tiffany Pollack & Co. : Bayou Liberty – Following up on the success of her blues album recorded with cousin Eric Johansen, Pollack recorded a dozen of her original songs with assistance of producer and blues musician John Nemeth. But its far from a blues album with songs that channel Lone Star Tall Boys, honky-tonks, early morning nightclubs and sticky-seated dives where you go mainly for the crawfish and beer. Here’s more on Tiffany and the show with her interview.

Kid Eggplant & the Groovy Melatauns: Peace, Love & Donuts – Kid Eggplant, aka Robert Snow, and his music defy categorization perhaps because he embraces almost all genre: R&B, Doo Wop, Blues, Rock, Soul and Pop. You can count on his songs to be laced with catchy, and, at times ,slightly weird lyrics. However, you describe it, this music is an authentic product of the New Orleans music and nightclub scene.

Willie Durrisseau: Creole House Dance – Louis Michot and Corey Ledet carry off a major service to preserving creole music by capturing 101-year Willie Durrisseau on tape. Here’s more on this amazing story.

Secret Six Jazz Band: Secret Six – A side project of the brilliant Smoking Time Jazz Club led by the band’s bass player John Joyce, the Secret Six carry on the popular tradition in New Orleans of keeping old timey songs alive with a fresh take and sharp musicianship.

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco HellraisersSet me Free – A favorite at the summer Portland Blues Festival, Dopsie and his gang deliver a dozen mostly original Zydeco tracks with everything you would expect from his show – excellent vocals, cranking accordion and even frottoir (rubboard) solos. Great for showing off your footwork.

Jamie Lynn VesselsIf I’m Being Honest – Blues rocker who has made New Orleans her home, Vessels offers a sweet voice, passionate and emotional lyrics and Cranston Clements fueled guitar licks. All original songs.

Loose CattleHeaving Lifting – Michael Cerveris (“Annie’s” agent on the HBO series Treme) performs with a solid group of musicians, many from New Orleans, creating barnburner style Americana music that will get you dancing.

George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners Crying for Hope – The band collaborated remotely during the pandemic to re-record and mix the album’s 12 songs, culminating in Porter & the Runnin Pardners’ most compelling release to date.

Big Chief Monk Boudreaux: Blood Stains and Teardrops – Big Chief Monk Boudreaux is the oldest living Mardi Gras Indian Chief with an impressive library of recordings with the Wild Magnolias and others. But this solo effort allows Boudreaux to cover new ground with both his writing and singing with songs infused with reggae (six tracks were recorded in Jamaica) and blues.

Chris Acker: Odd, Ordinary & Otherwise – One-time Bellingham resident, Acker offers up a collection of songs written or finished during the pandemic shutdown. He’s been happily embedded in New Orleans for at least a half dozen years writing and singing songs in the spirit of John Prine with an entertaining ability to conjure life’s fascinating details.

Craig Klein: Talkative Horns – Musical Conversations on Lucien Barbarin – This grammy winning trombonist started this project with his friend but made the record a tribute to him after Lucien Barbarin’s untimely death from cancer. A fellow trombonist, Barbarin was fan of mutes and this record’s eight track features them throughout creating a conversation between Klein’s trombone and Kevin Louis’ trumpet. Here’s the show featuring Craig Klein interview on his new record.

Dumpstaphunk: Where Do We Go From Here – Dumpstaphunk, headed up by Ivan and Ian Neville, answers their record title’s own question when it comes to where funk goes from here. This is a funk rock album with touches of jam band and R&B. You’ll dance and the lyrics speak to today.

Tuba Skinny (Maria Muldaur): Let’s Get Happy Together – A smart selection of vintage songs by straight A student of old timey music and jug bands Maria Muldaur who last year did a record featuring LuLu Barker songs. This time her New Orleans connection is Tuba Skinny which is allowed to shine and complement Muldaur’s perfected suited vocals.

Jonathan Bauer: Sings & Plays – For his second record, Jonathan occasionally lowers his trumpet and steps up to sing classics like “Days of Wine and Roses,” “Exactly Like You” and “September in the Rain.” His website claims that early listeners have described the band’s new aesthetic as “New Orleans Chet Baker.”

Leo Nocentelli: Another Side – A new record that takes you back a half century when the Meters’ guitarist and co-founder took a short break to do something completely different. Recorded mostly in 1971 but just released this year, the songs have an intimate feel reflective of the folk rock of that time. An excellent showcase of Nocentelli’s guitar and vocals.

Lynn Drury: Dancin’ In the Kitchen – A veteran of the New Orleans Americana music scene, Drury’s latest record seems a cut above an already impressive list of recordings. With excellent studio support, Drury soulfully dishes out her life experiences — you will swing, you’ll smile, you’ll cry.

Cha Wa: My People – Brainchild of drummer Joe Gelini, Cha Wa follows in the footsteps of the Wild Magnolias in delivering the rhythm, traditions and ethic of Mardi Gras Indians outside of New Orleans. This third release now features Joseph Beaudreaux Jr. (Monk’s son) on lead vocals.

Ted Hefko and The Thousandaires: Down Below – Hefko, who has straddled jazz and blues, takes a serious dive into country — a genre he hinted at with his last release Gas Station Guru But the woodwind musician puts his unique stamp pulling out his baritone sax, clarinet and flute among other instruments and helped out on a couple songs by Kevin Louis and Craig Klein (See Talkative Horns above).

Jason Ricci and Joe Krown: City-Country – City – Ricci on harmonica and vocals, Joe Krown on Hammond B-3 and piano with Doug Belote on drums and you have a stripped down funky, blues, swinging sound. Truly a situation where the sum is greater. One of my favorites of the year.

Garage a Trois: Calm Down Cologne – Galactic drummer anchors this power trio of Skerik (sax) and Charlie Hunter (guitar) — there first recording together since 2011. These masters of improvisation pull it off right in the studio with some serious funk, jazz and just out there playing.

Nicholas PaytonSmoke Sessions – Partly a sentimental yet original revisit of Miles Davis’ Four and More record, Sessions includes Ron Carter on bass and a couple of guest appearances by George Coleman on tenor saxophone. And they shine. But the real surprise and star of this album is Payton, the trumpet player, performing on piano.

Camile BaudoinThis Old House – The Radiator’s guitarist makes it all seem so simple with this spin of New Orleans/Radiator songs. Here’s how he introduces his latest album on Bandcamp – “It’s a New Orleans jukebox feel, enabled by some of my favorite fellow musicians. Roll up the rug, drop in a quarter, and enjoy!”

Debbie Davis, Matt Perrine and Friends: Oh Crap, It’s Christmas! Volume 2 – This is a family affair with Davis and Perrine anchoring with vocals and bass and their two songs adding their voice to songs like “Run Run Rudolph” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” And then there’s the musical family that includes the bright piano playing of Josh Paxton, Alex McMurray on guitar and Andre Bohren on drums. A nice mix of traditional and new for the holidays.

Get out and buy some low-carbon footprint gifts of music. Happy holidays. By the way, I do this end of year summary show every year.

All Female Gumbo Ya Ya for 2021

Great singing and rocking rhythms as the women take center stage on this week’s Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa. You can listen to the show right from this page using the player below

Arsene Delay starts the show with the title track from her record “Coming Home.” Thirty songs follow all featuring a woman singer, musician and/or bandleader, including new music by Lynn Drury and Tiffany Pollack and great classics by Marva Wright and Irma Thomas.

But before you get to them, you’ll hear “My Sin” by the all-female Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band and “My Darlin’ New Orleans” featuring a beat poet intro by Little Queenie.

Miss Sophie Lee sings “You Do Something To Me” on this week’s show which puts female musicians front and center.

Throughout the show you’ll hear Gumbo YaYa show shout outs by Marla Dixon who fronts the Shotgun Jazz Band, Debbie Davis, Vanessa Niemann of Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, Tiffany Pollack, Lynn Drury, Shawn Williams, Sierra Green, Lena Prima and Kelcy Mae.

Each year this show gets easier in terms of having a choice of female musicians and harder in having to make those tough choices. Here’s previous shows featuring exclusively female musical artists:

Your 2015 New Orleans Music Buying Guide – Part 1

Here’s Part One of my survey of New Orleans (and nearby) releases for 2015 worthy of your attention. I’ve played this music on Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa and I’ll play them a lot more through the rest of this month. So many good releases, there will be a part two very soon.  The first four albums below were featured heavily in my November 30 show and many of the albums following those four were featured in this show.

The New Orleans Jazz Vipers – An institution on Frenchmen Street that gained fame through the HBO series Treme, the Vipers have locked in their reputation with their fifth release, Going, Going Gone. The six-member band will take you back to the day when swing bands were laying the foundation for R&B.

Red-Hot-Brass-Band
Doyle Cooper fronts the Red Hot Brass Band

Red Hot Brass Band – Fire-bearded Doyle Cooper keeps the spirit alive. Don’t let his youth fool you. Doyle grew up in the tradition and has the chops to prove it. His band’s inaugural release Hot Off the Presses hits the usual touchstones like Tiger Rag, West End Blues, Bourbon Street Parade and Go To the Mardi Gras. But there’s nothing stale about their execution.

Shotgun Jazz Band – I dare you to try to sit still while listening to Yearning. They bill themselves as playing traditional New Orleans jazz in the spirit of the Great Revivalists.  It’s fresh, uncluttered and expertly delivered. It came out late enough last year that I’m including it in this 2015 review.

Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses –  I totally missed this 2014 release  until I bought The Lookback Transmission from Aurora during a break at the Maison last spring.  Uber-talented Nealand demonstrates her ability to put a fresh, entertaining spin on traditional jazz and swing. Having sousaphone savant Matt Perrine backing her doesn’t hurt either. Everyone of the 16 tracks are a delight.

 

novelli
Peter Novelli hits his stride with St. Amant Sessions

Peter Novelli – His third release, St. Amant Sessions, reminds me how engaging blues can be, particularly in the hands of a songwriter and performer who knows how to shake it up with zydeco, swamp, slide and funk. From Shreveport Stomp to I-10 Boogie to his anecdotal Drinkin’ and Driving, Novelli has solidified his space on the KAOS blues shelf.

Little Freddie King – His distinctive delta/country blues makes him easy to love. His persistence in returning to the city after Katrina to live, perform and record is another testament of why I love New Orleans. His latest Messin’ Around tha Livin’ Room (a reference to the Algiers studio he recorded in) delivers beyond expectation.

Papa Mali – Also recorded at the The Living Room, Music is Love mixes covers of Joni Mitchell, Fred McDowell, Mississippi John Hurt, Lead Belly and the title track by David Crosby with a few originals by this former reggae rocker, turned funk, blues, swamp guru.

Josh Garrett – Having returned to Louisiana after a brief flirtation with Nashville, Garrett deploys just the right mix of delta blues, soul, swing  and swamp in Honey For My Queen. Baton Rouge legend James Johnson who played with Slim Harpo joins in while fiddler Waylon Thibodeux adds one more reminder where this music is coming from.

deslondes
Unapologetically New Orleans country, The Deslondes.

The Deslondes – This young band defies New Orleans music stereotype while creating country-infused songs rooted in the city’s soul. The self-titled debut album presents an array of facets with all five band members contributing songs and taking turns on singing. Like all memorable CDs, this one grows on me the more I push “play.”

Lynn Drury –  Another 2014 release that I missed last year but deserves mention. I fell in love with Lynn when I first caught the video of her CD title track “Come to My House video.  This collection is a powerful observation of love with wonderful, occasionally sultry vocals and excellent guitar support by Alex McMurray.

The Radiators –  The band that wouldn’t die. Allegedly retired, the Radz still occasionally perform for those lucky enough to catch them.  For the rest of us, there is the Wild and Free releases. Part II includes vintage performances from the Dream Palace, Tipitina’s and Knight Studios. Get your fishhead on.

the rads
A true holiday gift – Another release from the Radiators.

Clayton Doley – Funky didgeridoo!  What else needs to be said?  A lot if we’re talking about Bayou Billabong. Doley’s an Aussie but he recorded part of this CD at the Music Shed in New Orleans with the backing of the Absolute  Monster Gentlemen (as in Jon Cleary and . . .) and the Treme Funktet.

Jon Cleary –Speaking of Cleary, his releases are always a delight. Sadly, for GoGo Juice, he switched from Basin Street Records, which has always done a great job of sharing music with KAOS, to a new label which has failed in that chore. Still, the cuts I’ve heard on line show he continues to be a master of blending soul, funk and R&B.

Catch my show on Mondays or online.  And subscribe to the blog to be sure to catch Part 2 of this 2015 retrospective.

Jazzfest, New Music and Tubaluba

I’m stealing an idea from my son, Riley, who uses Fridays to write about various loose ends for his progressive political blog.

So below are three items: Jazzfest lineup, great new music at KAOS and a heads up on my Monday interview.

splash_header_2015New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has announced its 2015 line up. As usual, the music is far from limited to jazz and offers some unique shows and musician pairings. I’ll provide more depth in a later post.  Right now, you need to know the festival is seven days stretched over 10, starting Friday April 24 and ending Sunday, May 3. Be sure to check the line up by day if you’re planning a trip.

While there’s some interesting headliners (e.g. Elton John and The Who), I recommend some of the harder to see local acts like: a reunion of the Radiators; Henry Butler recreating his 2014 album with Steve Bernstein and the Hot 9; a hip hop pairing of Juvenile and Mannie Fresh; Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk playing with his uncle, Art Neville; The Dirty Dozen Band; George Porter Jr. & the Runnin’ Pardners, and, best of all,  The Meters with all four founding members–worth the price of admission right there.

New Music in the KAOS Studio – I’m loving the music we’re getting in the studio from

There is lot to love about Lynn Drury’s new album, Come to My House.

New Orleans artists. Since writing about the 2014 releases (Part 1 and Part 2), we’ve received two CDs from Lynn Drury, including her latest one “Come To My House.”  I’m afraid I have a serious music crush on this earthy singer, guitarist, and songwriter. Check out “I Know You Want Me, Baby” and  you’ll know what I mean.

Paul Sanchez has been my hero since he achieved the herculean task of creating a musical out of Nine Lives — a non-fiction book by Dan Baum that unveils the diverse talents and strengths of New Orleans residents. His latest CD instills heart-warming, reflective feelings that are more entertaining and less expensive than therapy.  I’m looking forward to digging deeper into: The World Is Round – Everything that Ends Begins Again.

If you’re worried traditional New Orleans jazz is dying out, look no further than the Shotgun Jazz Band. It’s fourth album Yearning, carries you to Frenchmen Street with a solid mix of standards and less heard wonders.

Josh Wilson (green pants) will be on air with me on Monday talking about his Tubaluba's upcoming performance at Rhythm & Rye.
Josh Wilson (green pants) will be on air with me on Monday talking about his Tubaluba’s upcoming performance at Rhythm & Rye.

Tubaluba – Seattle’s answer to New Orleans brass bands – Josh Wilson, who plays the bass drum and keyboards for Seattle’s Tubaluba, will be on the phone with me during Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa this Monday (just after 11 a.m.). I caught Tubaluba at the 2013 Seattle Honkfest. The band members are clearly fans of New Orleans brass band music. Wilson even has a WWOZ sticker on his bass drum.  The interview will highlight the band’s upcoming performance in Olympia at Rhythm & Rye on January 24.

That’s your heads up and preview for my next show. Join me, won’t you?