April 1st Wreaks Havoc on New Orleans Programming

For over six years I have featured music from Louisiana, mostly from New Orleans. This week’s show, however, is a bit of a departure. Not sure what happened, but a check of the calendar might shed some light on the situation. Get it started and I’ll try to explain.

It was a dark and stormy night (actually the show airs in Olympia on Thursday mornings). Still a strange thing happened when I attempted to play Kermit Ruffin’s “Do You Know What It Means (to Miss New Orleans),” and “The City of New Orleans” by Arlo Guthrie played instead.

I twisted a few nobs, cranked the huge lever over my head, held by breath for six and half seconds and then proceeded with the next set of what I hoped would be music from New Orleans and instead I subjected my listeners to some awesome songs by regional bands along the I-5 corridor: Vaudeville Etiquette, Kate Dinsmore, the Righteous Mothers, and the Blackberry Bushes.

Before taking a sledgehammer to my console, I checked the calendar and good thing too. I’m not sure what forces come to play on April Fool’s Day but it was beyond my control. After that first set, I could only muster one song per set from New Orleans area. And I challenged listeners to pick which one it was.

Anna Gordon is featured in this week’s show. No, she’s not from New Orleans. She’s an Evergreen State College grad.

So, in a set loaded with The Beat, Fine Young Cannibals and the Crazy 8s, you had to locate the New Orleans Rocksteady band 007. In the next set with Bruce Hornsby, the Cave Singers, Rockapella and Curtis Harding, you had to catch the Revivalists — a New Orleans based band. Later, you had to find the New Orleans song hidden among Devil Makes Three, Deadstring Brothers and local phenom Anna Gordon. (Here’s her bandcamp site.)

And so it went for the rest of show until the end. I think I’ll have things in proper working order next week but for now you can enjoy two hours of music that is only sort of from New Orleans. Cheers.

Vaudeville Etiquette to grace KAOS studio and Gumbo YaYa

Seattle-based Vaudeville Etiquette will perform live in the KAOS studio tomorrow during my radio show.  While a departure from my usual “Music of New Orleans” format, it will be worthwhile. I guarantee it.

Vaudeville Etiquette, a Seattle-based folk-rock band, will enliven KAOS studio on Monday during Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa.

I’ve been wanting Vaudeville Etiquetee (VE) to play in Olympia for some time. They offer an energetic performance style and an awesome repertoire that includes songs from last year’s debut album. Debutantes & Dealers has received positive and broad acceptance from American Songwriter to Northwest Music Scene to USA Today.

I stumbled onto VE  about this time last year at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery  in Winthrop. There was standing room only with barely any breathing space between musician and listener. I was immediately struck by the powerful drummer, the slick pedal steel, harmonizing vocals and the aura of frivolity the five musicians projected. This band was having fun and so was everyone else in the pub.

Bradley Laina, guitar, and Sander Vinberg, bass, go through a sound check prior to performing on the Seattle waterfront last summer.
Bradley Laina, guitar, and Sander Vinberg, bass, go through a sound check prior to performing on the Seattle waterfront last summer.

We came late and the band had worked through most of its original music so for the next set, they played what seemed to be the entire Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac. I can only say you had to have been there. It was a hoot. I’ve since caught them twice live in Seattle, confirming  and exceeding my original impression of their talent.

The band is fronted by vocalists and songwriters Bradley Laina and Tayler Lynn who also play the guitar and accordion respectively. Sander Vinberg handles bass, Matt Teske adds pedal steel and mandolin and Bryce Gourley manages the beat.

I’ve heard VE described different ways: folk-rock, alternative country, neo-folk.  My favorite description is by CMJ.com writers who after noticing the frequent play of Debutantes & Dealers on KAOS, highlighted the band on its website with this: “Ragtag, boot-stompin folk and swaying ballads . . Floating harmonies sing romantic tales to the backdrop of country western, gospel and banjo-pluckin’ folk.”  Yea, what they said.

Tomorrow morning, these ragtag boot-stomping good folks will be getting up early, even for non-musicians, to drive from Astoria (where they’re playing tonight) to the KAOS studio in Olympia. I hope to get them on the air by 11 a.m.  I hope you can tune in for them.