Tag Archives: galactic

I Love The Rain: Dave Jordan

New Orleanian Spreads Americana Wings With Bring Back Red Raspberry


By Tom Speed

Dave JordanIn the years following Hurricane Katrina, when New Orleans musician Dave Jordan’s band disbanded and his marriage dissolved, he did what musicians do in such times. He picked up his acoustic guitar. Then the songs came out.

Jordan released his first solo record, These Old Boots, in 2010 and it was something of a departure. Swathed in pedal steel guitar and populated with melancholy, acoustically-rendered tunes, the Americana leanings of These Old Boots stood in contrast to his previous work as the founder/bassist/bandleader of the funk outfit Juice.

These Old Boots was lauded by the local press in New Orleans, and three years later, Jordan’s follow-up, Bring Back Red Raspberry, expands that palette even more with a collection of songs that sample flavors from country, zydeco, and R&B while fleshing out the songs with more instrumentation and a joie de vivre that didn’t exist on the last outing. It’s a culmination many years in the making, but a natural progression for a musician who has been steeped in the sounds of southern Louisiana all his life, and who has been around long enough that he’s no longer just an up-and-comer.

Now an elder statesman of the New Orleans music scene, Jordan finds himself playing the mentor role to musicians a decade younger than he is, much like he learned from Anders Osborne, George Porter and others. It’s a lineage Jordan embraces.

“Very early on in this process I realized that my whole career with Juice, I was always looking up to Porter and Anders and Joe Krown and the older guys,” says Jordan.

But when he coincidentally formed the loose-knit band that plays on Red Raspberry, he recognized that they might be looking up to him in the same way. “I realized early on that I was working with guys the other end of the spectrum now, about a decade younger than me. I really got into that idea. I had kind of cordoned myself off. All those years on the road, I wasn’t here for a lot of these guys coming up. I didn’t get to witness it. I was gone. It was really fun for me, and informative and educational to work with guys that were not in my wheelhouse.”


Juice had been part of the local funk scene in the late 1990s and helped bridge the gap between the burgeoning jam band scene and the funk heritage of New Orleans—it was Jordan who personally
Juice_Fortifiedintroduced George Porter to Widespread Panic, for example. Peers of the time included bands like Galactic, All That and Iris May Tango.

Of the group, only Galactic and Juice toured the country relentlessly, each with their own take on classic New Orleans funk music.  Heavily influenced by the Meters and George Porter’s Runnin’ Pardners, Juice always leaned to the R&B side of the funk equation, with Taj Mahal and Bill Withers songs populating their setlists alongside their groove-laden originals. They gained a reputation as a party band and blanketed the Southeast, but also found audiences in Colorado and California eager to soak up their New Orleans vibe.

They released three albums while juggling a rotating lineup.   Their funky debut Fortified came in 2000, followed by the Anders Osborne-produced All Lit Up in 2002. The live collection Juice Live: Hey Buddy! came out in 2005. It was a double disc set that positioned them to reach an even larger audience. Alas, it was released just weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit. Like many New Orleans bands, the members of Juice scattered far and wide in Katrina’s wake, from California and Colorado to Nashville and beyond. Some members didn’t return to the city for years, and though they had about half of a new album in the can, they never quite got back together.

Neighborhood Improvement

Following the dissolution of his band, and the concurrent dissolution of his marriage, Jordan sought out solo gigs wherever he could find them as he adjusted to a single-income household and its attendant bills. One of those gigs was a weekly show at the Banks Street Bar, a neighborhood joint near his home in Mid-City New Orleans.

There, he pulled out his acoustic guitar on Thursday nights and began pouring his heart out with confessional, emotionally wrenching tales. Soon his drummer buddy Andre Bohren, a founding member of Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, would join him along with fiddle player Harry Hardin, also a bandmate of Bohren’s.

The Thursday night gig went from solo to a trio…then sometimes a quartet. Friends dropped in and out from week to week. The makeshift band in the making was joined by Greg “Wolf” Hodges, who like Jordan, was adept at both bass and guitar, which enabled the two to swap instruments as the songs demanded.

The two had met back in the Juice days, when Juice would share bills with Col. Bruce Hampton and the Codetalkers, with whom Hodges was playing bass at the time.

“Me and Wolf made a quick connection,” says Jordan. “Our sense of humor is kind of the same. The connection with Col. Bruce was a focal point. Our music sensibilities are very similar in their diversity. He knows serious country music, rock music.”

These gigs started being billed as “Dave Jordan and the Neighborhood Improvement Association”—a loose-limbed consortium that by definition had no described membership or precise repertoire. Before he knew it, the Thursday night gig at Banks Street had lasted two years.

“It’s a brutal amount of time,” says Jordan. “But a lot grew out of it.”

The most tangible thing that grew out of it is Bring Back Red Raspberry, on which Jordan and his pals incorporate the instrumentation of those weekly gigs with some of the songs forged from them. For some of those songs, Jordan would bring a basic blueprint to the group, and the players would add their own flourishes. Others were later developed in the studio.

“These tunes were written real fast, but I’d write them and then we’d go to Banks Street and they’d flesh themselves out over time,” says Jordan. “Andre and Wolf really developed the songs live. Then we got in the studio and that’s where the other things come in. What [Bill] Machow did with keyboards and accordion in the studio really took it to another level.”


The twin touchstones of Jordan’s musical upbringing were the Meters and the Grateful Dead, and if Juice explored the territory of the former, his latest output channels the more acoustically tinged Printside of the latter, only bringing it to it’s modern conclusion. Several of the selections on Bring Back Blue Raspberry place Jordan not within the context of his forbearers but alongside his contemporaries, and in some somewhat surprising areas. Much of the album fits comfortably into a twangy shuffle that brings to mind Americana stalwarts like Son Volt and Drive-By Truckers moreso than Galactic or their other fellow funksters.

Elsewhere, accordion and fiddle provide a rhythmic foundation that draws on zydeco and Cajun music. Though Jordan may have started out playing jam-based funk music, it’s hard not to soak up one’s surroundings.

“You write the songs and then the songs kind of tell you what they need,” he says. “If a song says, some accordion would sound cool here, you put some accordion on there. I never thought I would end up writing zydeco style music, but it is what it is. To me, it’s just another part of growing up in south Louisiana and being surrounded by music. It’s not something I set out to do. It’s just something absolutely natural for me to do. It’s as easy for me to do that as it is to pick up a bass and play a Meters tune.”

It’s apparent on “By The Side of The Stage,” a breezy mid-tempo tune in which Bohren makes his kit sound like a washboard and Malchow decorates the beat with graceful accordion swaths while Hardin rounds out the melody on fiddle. It’s a true amalgamation—too country to be zydeco, too rock to be country.

In fact, a compelling factor of Bring Back Red Raspberry is the diversity that defies categorization. Classic New Orleans piano tunes (“Biggest Little Shrimp In Town”) stand alongside plaintive ballads like the wispy “She Was Born In April,” alt-country rockers like “Dontcha Come Runnin’” and those zydeco two-steps like “The Waiting Feeling.”  Listening to the record from start to finish brings to mind the experience of walking through the Louisiana Jazz & Heritage Festival: you find your toe tapping in different but congruous ways. But that’s a natural synthesis for someone who spent a lifetime soaking up those sounds.

“I think with this record all the music of my life is coming to a natural juncture,” says Jordan. “I’m into funk, I’m into Dr. John, Tom Petty and the Dead. I think this record shows that. One of the things I’m most proud of with this record and the band really is that we are touching on a lot of bases but we’re not forcing any of it.”

Hubig’s Pie

The album’s title comes from the song “Hubig’s Pie,” a barrelhouse piano tune that humorously proposes the reliably satisfying New Orleans fried pie delicacy as a an antidote for a frustrating relationship. It’s about an appreciation for the simple things in life that pull us through when the trappings and clutter are removed.

It’s the kind of swaying sing-along that likely urges a sense of solidarity among those denizens of the local pub who hung around long enough for last call. Towards the end, Jordan goes off a rant extolling the virtues of the beloved confectionaries. One particular exaltation is to “bring back red raspberry!” in reference to a rare flavor that was discontinued after Hurricane Katrina.

Indeed,  now eight years later, life in New Orleans is still demarcated by Pre-Katrina and Post-Katrina. That things neccesarily changed forever means an instant nostalgia was created.

Sonically, Bring Back Red Raspberry is mostly good time rockers and swaying dance numbers that reveal the culmination of that Louisiana heritage. Thematically, it belies Jordan’s experience too, and beneath the surface it’s not quite as rosy as all that. Years of rugged touring are revealed in Jordan’s gravely voice, and lyrically Red Raspberry touches on themes of regret, betrayal, frustration and yes, nostalgia. But the comforts of the past can sooth the problems of the present, and vice-versa.

“Telluride,” one of the album’s standouts, is a sweeping country road tale of risk and frustrated dreams, at once describing a perilous journey through bad weather and the rigors of eeking out a living as a traveling musician.  Other songs touch on indiscretions and failing while others point to finding hope in the face of frustration.


Like many independent musicians these days, Jordan turned to the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to help fund the recording and distribution of the album. But it wasn’t something he was comfortable with at first.

“I didn’t want to do it,” admits Jordan. “ I felt like a beggar. I felt like after years of being able to fund my own records or having record labels, I really didn’t want to go that route. I tried to find outside funding and it never materialized. I had some friends—younger people who are much more savvy with this kind of stuff than I am—told me just do it, it’s gonna work.”

And it did. With a campaign bearing the boastful title “I Am Gonna Make A Killer Record I Promise,” Jordan sought to raise $11,000 to defray the costs of studio time, manufacturing and self-distribution, among other expenses.  Not only did he meet and exceed that goal, he was humbled by the outpouring of support from across the country, a shot in the arm that inspired him to live up to his boastful promise that also included the tagline: “The album will sound like Dr. John, Tom Petty and John Prine met in south Louisiana and had an illegitimate love child. And it was me!”

But the outpouring also helped him put the legacy of Juice into perspective. Many of his Kickstarter backers were friends and fans from around New Orleans. Others were high school buddies he hadn’t seen in 20 years. But others were fans that had been touched by his music during those grueling, relentless tours with Juice.

“It was an overwhelmingly awesome experience,” says Jordan. “Once again, it put the legacy of what Juice did into light. It made me realize that there are people out there that our music has touched and they were willing to support me to make more music. That’s an amazing feeling.”

And while Juice didn’t gain the same momentum as their brethren band Galactic, it’s becoming apparent that they did make an impact on the scene and left a legacy that can’t be considered lightly.

That realization came into even sharper focus with the sudden death of former Juice harmonica player/percussionist/vocalist Jamie Galloway this year. His death received an enormous flood of support and the second line parade and wake at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans garnered considerable media coverage. And that caused Jordan to reflect on the band’s history, and maybe resolve to revisit it.

“I think for right now, everyone in Juice has gone through some tumultuous shit in the past six or seven years,” says Jordan. “Be it dealing with Katrina, dealing with divorce, family members having health problems. Dealing with various substance abuse issues, personal health problems. We’ve all hit a few crossroads, very common to the age we are. And none of these things we should look at in a negative way, in a way that we’ve failed on any level.

“We worked as hard as we could for as long as we could,” said Jordan. “I think that Jamie’s death put all that in perspective and we’d all like to finish this record and do some stuff. But take some time and figure it out and not just finish it to finish it. But really figure out what we want to do.”

That reunion may come to light and may not. There will always be problems to deal with, troubles in life. The other members of Juice, like Jordan, have their own outside outlets. But in the meantime Jordan seems to have found his artistic voice, and it’s one that includes insightful songs, a cadre of talented musicians with a wide swath of styles, and when he needs it, nothing more than an acoustic guitar.


For more information on Bring Back Red Raspberry, tour dates and more: http://www.davejordanmusic.com

Wish We Were Back at Wanee

This morning was a bittersweet start to the day. Today was the day that the Wanee wristband was finally snipped, stored among a box full of ticket stubs and plastic bracelets, destined to live only in memories.

The memories, however, are bright and beautiful – as days frolicking among the live oaks should be. The majestic wonderland that is the Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida is difficult to describe in words, especially when it’s filled with brothers and sisters, music lovers, fans and families, and some of the greatest live musicians ever to assemble. There’s only one word that can even come close to epitomizing Wanee:  magic.

Although the festival did not “technically start until Friday, you wouldn’t know it by the throngs of RVs, vending booths, and glow stick-adorned body parts that had already filed in. Early campers were not only treated to the best camping spots nestled amongst towering oaks draped with Spanish moss, they were also rewarded for their promptness with Wednesday sets from Groves, Juke, Beebs and her Moneymakers, Kettle of Fish, local Florida favorites Cope, and a funkalicious Mushroom Stage jam session from New Orleans’ own Ivan Neville’s Dumstaphunk.


Thursday brought sunshine and a diverse line-up to the magical Mushrooom Stage, planted firmly amongst the oaks and surrounded by swinging hammocks and neon orbs hanging from the branches. British blues guitarist Oli Brown kicked the afternoon off, followed by psychedelic San Francisco soul outfit, Monophonics. Lead singer and keyboardist Kelly Finnegan wasted no time bringing the energy level up and getting the crowd going with choice covers from Curtis Mayfield and Funkadelic, sprinkled with tracks from their latest album In Your Brain.

wanee2013-4Monophonics was the perfect lead in to Tab Benoit’s supergroup of New Orleans musicians, Voice of the Wetlands Allstars. This group of musicians have made it part of their mission to help preserve the wetlands in their native state by raising awareness and providing education through music. The beautiful tune “Louisiana Sunshine” perhaps summed their intent up best, and guest appearances from Florida native Damon Fowler and Starship vocalist Mickey Thomas ensured the Wanee tradition of phenomenal collaborations would be continued in full force, a point hammered home  after the next group took the stage.

When Royal Southern Brotherhood frontman Devon Allman introduced his father and fans got their first look of the weekend at Gregg Allman, the energy was palpable. He joined his son and fellow RSB members on guitar for a rousing, shredding rendition of “One Way Out,” foreshadowing good things to come.

A solid set from electric Hot Tuna bid goodbye to the sunshine, and hello to the late night funk, courtesy of Karl Denson and the Greyboy Allstars. The Mushroom Stage was bouncing and glowing, the power pulsating through the eager crowd, just so ready to get down.


Friday brought the opening of the second stage – the larger and more prominent Peach Stage – and with that came more music and choices to be made by fans. The Peach Stage could have well been dubbed “Southern rock central,” as guitar slingers and long haired men in bell bottoms filled in the ranks for most of the day.

Blackberry Smoke carries the Southern rock torch from Atlanta, Georgia, and they gave the crowd a nice dose of their brand of American country/rock, despite their set being cut short due to a creeping rain shower. Their version of Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” was too much for the clouds, and suddenly they opened wide and spilled their drops, as if on cue.

The Mushroom Stage saw early sets from rockers Flannel Church, New Orleans soulful up-and-comers The Revivalists, Jaimoe’s Jaissez Band, and the Wanee debut of Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang. Half concert, half comedy skit, Claypool’s pairing with guitarist and longtime collaborator, Marc Haggard (aka Mirv) kept the crowd laughing and stomping, intertwining jokes and audience haggling with tunes from Primus, Oysterhead, and Johnny Cash, to name a few. Warren Haynes joined the duo onstage for Johnny Horton’s classic “The Battle of New Orleans,” and closed the show with Primus classic “Jerry was a Racecar Driver” and Flying Frog Brigade’s “D’s Diner.”

wanee2013-3The rain cleared up just enough for Mr. Haynes to find his way back to the Peach Stage in time for his band, Gov’t Mule to get things rocking. Kicking off with choice originals “Outta Shape” and “Thorazine Shuffle,” Mule’s set gained momentum throughout, finally culminating in one of the greatest collaborations of the weekend. Members of Widespread Panic – John Bell, JoJo Herman, Dave Schools, and Jimmy Herring – joined and launched into an epic version of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer.” The trading of piercing guitar licks and wailing vocals once again brought the clouds, and the grey thunder rolled in as if brought forth by the music itself.

Widespread Panic was up next, and despite the now soggy conditions, the crowd swelled and was not disappointed. Starting with standard originals like “Ain’t Life Grand,” “All Time Low,” and “Space Wrangler,” once again the real treats came at the end, when the band was joined by Warren Haynes and Danny Louis for blistering renditions of ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and Parliament’s instrumental opus, “Maggot Brain.” Even though it was raining, the fans didn’t spare their bottled water during the “Chilly Water” closer, and it didn’t matter because everyone was already soaking wet.

Nothing would stop The Allman Brothers Band, however, and they turned out a set full of beautiful classic originals, and again, more collaborations galore. “Blue Sky” and “Rain” were the band’s homage to the tumultuous weather of the day, and the arrival of Widespread’s John Bell and Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle launched a soulful and lovely rendition of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Home.” Jimmy Herring reappeared for “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, and North Mississippi Allstars brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson made an appearance for a “One Way Out” closer, the second of the weekend for Papa Gregg.

Boombox and a late night set from reggae mainstays Steel Pulse rounded out the night on the Mushroom Stage, and sent fans off into the woods for a little damp rest.


After a long rainy night, the morning finally gave way to some relief, and the skies cleared up in time to provide goers with some much needed sunshine. No one worshipped the rays and the good vibes like Michael Franti and Spearhead, following a solid set from Leon Russell on the Peach Stage. Franti’s contagious energy and positive message had the crowd enjoying and making merry, complete with an onstage birthday party for the man himself. Birthday hats, beach balls, head stands, and celebratory sing-alongs (some upside down!) ensued, and not one frown was to be found anywhere near that stage. Even the most seasoned Franti fans were overheard whispering about how “special” this particular show was, and that energy could be felt by everyone.

The Mushroom Stage spent Saturday getting its funk on, with Sacred Steel gospel funk masters The Lee Boys, New Orleans horns The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, funk and soul jazz saxophonist Maceo Parker, and R&B brass masters Tower of Power keeping it rocking and bopping along all afternoon.

wanee2013-2Following Franti on the mainstage, Wanee family favorites Tedeschi Trucks Band felt just right for the moment, with their slinky, silky brand of gospel-flecked soulful blues. They highlighted tunes from their upcoming album, as well as favorites such as “Midnight in Harlem” and “Bound for Glory.” It also marked the arrival of new bass player, Bakithi Kumalo, who made his debut as replacement for Oteil Burbridge, who announced earlier this year that he would be taking some much needed time off after years of relentless touring with the Allman Brothers and various other outfits.

As with all the other acts of the weekend, their cover choices were on point and referential. “The Sky is Crying” by blues guitarist Elmore James, “The King of the Slide Guitar,” paid homage to those who came before, and so heavily influenced Trucks and his guitar brethren, including Skydog himself, Duane Allman.

Widespread Panic got another shot to do what they do, and this time, there wasn’t a raindrop in sight. They wasted no time, kicking it off with a loud and dirty “Imitation Leather Shoes,” fan favorite “Climb to Safety,” and the Robert Johnson blues standard, “Stop Breaking Down.”

The real treats, however, came when the band was joined by the lovely Susan Tedeschi on vocals, Derek Trucks on guitar, and Artimus Pyle on drums for a fantastic version of Van Morrison’s “I’ve Been Working.” Tedeschi and Bell traded vocal verses, and complimented each other while Trucks laid down the slide and made the sound even bigger. He stayed around for Tom Waits’ “Goin’ Out West” and the Panic classic, “Fishwater,” which quickly turned into a lick-trading musical cacophony, delighting the listeners and preparing the crowd for a final set from the Allman Brothers Band.

wanee2013-1ABB turned in a performance that was nothing short of perfection. Full of fan favorites like “Mountain Jam,” “Midnight Rider,” and “Melissa,” Gregg Allman sounded like a man on a musical mission and his fellow bandmates followed suit. Covers such as “Long Black Veil” and Albert King’s “Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” rounded out a set that ended with epic renditions of “Whipping Post” and “Southbound.” Brothers fans united in the music and basked in a solid outing from the band’s ninth Wanee appearance.

Funk soul masters Galactic promised to cap the festival on a wicked note, and boy, did they. The Mushroom Stage swelled as the band, along with some of their famous friends, treated the crowd to one final Wanee throwdown. Dave Shaw, frontman for The Revivalists, took on vocal duties and did not disappoint, killing the crowd with versions of “I Am the Walrus,” “I Am a Ram” and Galactic’s own “From the Corner to the Block,” complete with segue into ODB’s “Baby, I Got Your Money.” Saxophonist-at-large Skerik brought his horn out to play and his liveliness was felt throughout the crowd, eliciting jumps and screams from excited patrons. “When the Levee Breaks” appeared yet again, but this time, instead of bringing the rain, it brought the end.

The end of another magical Wanee. It was a gathering of the good, all in one place, that filled the hearts and souls of music lovers and merry makers to the brim for another year. And now, we wait……

Click on the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Brad Kuntz

Hot August Blues announces line-up for 21st year

HAB logoHot August Blues & Roots Festival has released their intial line-up for this year’s fest to take place at the familar, picturesque confines of Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, MD August 17.   Entering its 21st, Hot August Blues has confirmed a line-up this year that is led by headliners Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. This year will be the largest line-up ever as a third stage has been added.


Other confirmed acts include Galactic, Greensky Bluegrass, Antibalas, JD McPherson, Boombox, and Eddy “the Chief” Clearwater.  Other acts will be announced shortly.


Confirmed Line-up:

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals



JD McPherson

Greensky Bluegrass

61 North


Eddy Clearwater

The Country Devils

Herd of Main Street

Scott Tournet Band


 more acts to be annonuced…


Check out Honest Tune’s coverage of Hot August Blues through out the years.














Crawfish Fest 23: Just when we thought 22 couldn’t be outdone…


Leading up to the 23rd annual Crawfish Fest, held in the scenic wilds of northwestern New Jersey, founder Michael Arnone had outdone himself 22 times. Naturally, expectations were high, but in year 23 and courtesy of the acts, atmosphere,  food and setting Arnone outdid himself yet again — seemingly having found complete harmony, and thereby again provided fans yet one more unforgettable experience.

Posturing itself like a mini (New Orleans) Jazz Fest, the festival combines a fine sampler consisting of some of the preeminent Louisiana music acts along with a smorgasbord of mouth watering delicacies of Bayou origin.

For one weekend, in a region that rarely serves up one of the famed Louisiana fares, let alone virtually all of the high notes, Arnone’s Crawfish Fest transports its attendees to Bourbon and beyond. Dishes like catfish or shrimp and oyster Po Boys, boiled crawfish, crawfish etouffee and grilled alligator sausage are featured in booth after booth, treating the annual gathering of fans that relish in Louisiana culture, but for whatever reason live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from The Pelican State.




All of the above are par for the Arnone’s Crawfish Fest course but this year, an extra dollop of Cajun sauce (if you will) had the Sussex County Fairgrounds buzzing at a fever pitch. The dollop came in the form of a fourth stage that played host to several Arnone-drafted artists that would provide musical workshops throughout the weekend.

The attendance was high and the reception, huge. Fans were able to interact with some of their favorite musicians. Children were given the opportunity to make music with the likes of funk stalwarts such as Bonerama and Stanton Moore, who gave workshops that subsequently gave way to lasting memories that will never be forgotten by the kids or the parents that looked on with glee.

The food, the workshops and the fantastic bill of acts — that included Dumpstaphunk, Dr. John, Galactic, Bonerama, Stanton Moore Trio, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Marcia Ball and Walter “Wolfman” Washington amongst others — made for a triumphant 23rd installment of an event that has grown from tiny to seminal, Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Fest.


The Headliners:


Dr. John


On the heels of his extremely successful release, Locked Down, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John brought his seven piece band to the Saturday night’s headlining slot. Dr. John’s place of importance in the musical community, particularly within this subset, was plain to see. Members of Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Honey Island Swamp Band and Glen David Andrews Band flanked the stage, reverently taking in virtually the entire set, clearly showing respect for the “Night Tripper” man that holds slot 143 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (Gris Gris) and whose 1976 album with The Meters, Desitively Bonnaroo, served as the derivation of the oddball named festival.

This night found Dr. John playing with a renewed energy and happiness. Whether coming as a result of his new album, improved health or the all-star band he has with him, his show was righteous.

His band included popular funky mainstays Jon Cleary on keyboards and Ray Weber on drums, and collectively, the ensemble drove through an energetic, funky and soulful mix of heavily covered Dr. John classics like “Right Place, Wrong Time” and “I Walk on Guilded Splinters” (a tune that has been served up by everyone from Cher to Widespread Panic) and a nice mix from the new album. Collectively, all sounded fantastic on this evening in Jersey that even saw Dr. John showcase his original weapon of choice when he took three chances on guitar.




Galactic has been traveling with Corey Henry (Rebirth Brass Band) and Corey Glover (Living Colour) all year and has hit a stride that feels like one of, if not their very best yet.

Henry provides trombone harmonies that complement Ben Ellman’s sax, strapping solos and occasional hip hop vocals that provide a unique variance, as did those of Chali 2na in 2007 and 2008.

Glover is a first rate front man with a very powerful voice with chops to pull off classic R&B, funk and the myriad of styles from Galactic’s latest release Carnival Electricos to boot.

For the tuned in ear though, the true excitement at a Galactic show is in the interplay of the rhythm section, especially built around drummer Stanton Moore and bassist Robert Mercurio.

Mercurio is as rock-steady as any player you will ever hear and most songs start with him and Moore locked as tight as two players can be. So strong is Mercurio’s time and groove that Moore can take off and completely leave the pocket to ignite the music with swirling poly-rhythms that dance off of the solos. All the while Mercurio and his guitar mate, Jeff Raines, hold the song together, waiting for Moore to help peak someone’s solo, then return. This kind of backline, together with their impressive front line gives the current Galactic lineup explosiveness.

Two highlights of this set included a ripping sit-in by Stanton Moore Trio guitarist Will Bernard, and amidst a patchy sky, a vibrant rainbow that perfectly framed the throng of raging Galactic lovers for the band.




On Friday and Saturday nights at this festival, Michael Arnone provides night shows as a special treat for folks that camp for the weekend. On Friday night, a six band lineup was topped off in the Jaeger Pavilion by Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk. Crawfish Fest fans got their long time wish of seeing this band here, and were not at all disappointed by the super funky, jamming set.

Newest Dumpstaphunk member, drummer Nikki Glaspie, wowed the Friday night crowd with her aggressive funky drumming and great background vocals. In fact, all of Dumpstaphunk’s singers were on, showing off harmonies and range rarely seen in the funk world, this side of the Neville Brothers.

The set’s highlights were many, as the crowd wriggled and danced hard, but was crowned by a mighty cover of David Bowie’s “Fame.” The hypnotic driving groove took the band to a different level, tight and very deliberate.

By the time Dumpstaphunk had finished, the tone was set for the rest of the weekend… dance hard and get ready to be wowed.




New Orleans Suspects


The term “supergroup” is often overused, especially in a place like New Orleans where it seems all the musicians belong to just one big band and occasionally split off to do side projects which have their own names like Galactic, Funky Meters, Dumpstaphunk and the like.

In the case of the New Orleans Suspects — who opened Saturday’s festivities — however, the city filtered out some of the very best players and the results were fabulous.

The New Orleans Suspects are drummer Mean Willie Green (Neville Brothers), bassist Reggie Scanlan (Radiators), guitarist Jake Eckert and tenor saxophonist Kevin Harris (Dirty Dozen Brass Band) and keyboardist CR Gruver (Outformation).

There was a lot on display that sets this group apart from many other funk bands, and chief amongst were the vocals of Eckert and Gruver. Although they sing in a very similar range, the vocals are fresh, clean and simply put, very good.

Mean Willie Green brought the deep groove that has driven the Neville Brothers, one of the hardest grooving bands ever, for 25 years and Reggie’s bass playing grooving at a depth far beyond that of any outing that I’ve ever witnessed.

Jake Eckert’s playing was captivating; going from a clean and low down style, to dirtily  gritty with nicely timed crescendos.

Gruver found a vast blend of funky bad piano and organ that managed to add a very murky background, fresh out of the swamp while also intermittently switching from piano to organ mid-solo, and thereby injecting energy and feel.

Kevin Harris was outstanding; occasionally coaxing sounds well beyond the normal range of a tenor saxophone.

All told, the quintet was “super” in more than one way, a well tucked gem for those that made the clutch decision to rise and shine.




Crawfish natives Bonerama provided another great festival set and had some special treats in store.

Scheduled for two back to back sets, with the second being a stop on the kid’s stage, many of the young festival goers already had their trombones in tow. As luck would have it for one lucky eleven year old young man named Colin, Bonerama opted to not wait until their forthcoming set to join musical hands with their younger funk brethren. Rather, the band invited Colin to take the main stage with them.

In related news, Colin’s stage time didn’t end with Bonerama. Shortly after, he found himself onstage with two more guests, The Radiators’ Dave Malone & Reggie Scanlan, who offered up something that many a fish head in the crowd was pleased to hear,  “Like Dreamers Do” from the Radiators 1987 album Law of the Fish.


Glen David Andrews


Glen David Andrews’ Jazz Fest sets have become legendary and he did not disappoint at Crawfish Fest. Through his notable high-energy MC style of working a stage and crowd, Andrews had the multitude of Crawfish Fest  waving their arms in the air — jumping, dancing and singing all set long.

Mixing Gospel, blues and New Orleans standards, Andrews spendt as much time walking through the crowd as he did on stage. At one point,  he decided to grab his trombone and get all the horn players to follow him out into the crowd for a second line; all creating a palpable frenetic energy that was a force unto itself.

Being that his set fell right after Bonerama’s workshop, the trombone-in-hand kids had ambled their way back to the “parents” stage, it was only natural for the endearing front man to follow suit with the occurrences of earlier by inviting another one of the trombone lugging krewe to the stage.

This time, the honor went to a 16 year old named Abe Nouri. The excited teenager got on stage and joined two other guests already sitting in, Efrem Towns and Kevin Harris, founding members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the crowd ate it up, fully psyched at the artist’s display of kinship with an aspiring musician.


Something Special:

(By Jay Austin)


A truly exceptional happening came in the form of New Jersey natives and originators of “Hick-Pop,” From Good Homes. Playing for just their third time since the band’s “farewell show”  (that gave way to Take Enough Home)on August 7, 1999, the band — that perhaps fell victim to the Hootie and Dave Matthews craze that was forming around them — made the absolute most of their time on stage together by rattling off a superb 19 song effort. Just as the case was when they reunited in 2009, the set managed to do many things. Peopledanced, sang and the like, but above all else, the set  left people hungry for more and just as has been the case since ’99, caused many a head to be scratched… “Tell me why this band broke up again.”

On the other hand, without said break up, there never would have been Railroad Earth (who played Crawfish in 2008), thus providing yet another layer and caveat to the headscratching.


Setlist: 2nd Red Barn On The Right, Suzanna Walker, Butterfly & The Tree, There She Goes, The Giving Tree,  Up On Cripple Creek, If The Wind Blows, Bang That Drum, I Only Want, Ride All Night, Broken Road,  Fruitful Acre, I am a Mess, Don’t Wanna Hang Up My Rock n Roll Shoes, Comin’ on Home, Raindance
Encore: Maybe We Will, Maybe We Will Reprise


In Summation


With additional fantastic sets turned in by Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, Stanton Moore Trio, Grayson Capps, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Walter “Wolfman” Washington,  the music was top notch. But just as was mentioned at the onset, the music is far from being the sole reason that makes Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Festival a destination that has turned most who take the plunge to become recidivists. Let’s face it: anyone with a large enough wallet can book great talent.

What makes Crawfish Fest such an especially unique outing is that each first weekend in June, it delivers a niche specific plate in combination with a vast array of focal points, to the point that one would be challenged a comparable suitor.

Whether traveling solo or bringing the whole fam, the festival is equally welcoming. Its food, vibe, atmosphere, idyllic setting and of course, its music, all combine at this festival to give a most memorable experience… 23 years in a row.



Click the thumbnail(s) to view more photos from the fest by Bob Adamek…




Galactic (w/ guests), 6/2/12

Brooklyn Bowl
New York City, NY
June 2, 2012



On June 2, 2012, Galactic (with Corey Glover of Living Colour notoriety and Rebirth Brass Band’s Corey Henry) closed out a four night stand at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Bowl with a very funky exclamation point. Opening up the evening’s ceremonies was New York based ensemble, High and Mighty Brass Band. A band that dubs themselves as “a party in progress,” HMBB set the stage for the Galactic quintet, a band that is no stranger to anyone who is even vaguely familiar with the funk or jam scenes.

As one might imagine, it would not be Galactic at the Bowl without some extra special antics. Last year’s four night run saw appearances from Warren Haynes, Jamie McLean, Nigel Hall and Teal Leaf Green, amongst others. This year followed suit with guests including Vernon Reid (Living Colour), John Medeski, Steven Bernstein and others. On this night, the Galactic stage was graced by David Shaw (The Revivalists) and in true funk fashion, the entire opening act.

There were moments throughout the night when the normally ample stage could barely accommodate the 13-person deep collaboration that the band morphed into.

Highlights included set break spinning from Wyllys, the High and Mighty Brass Band crowd walk through  & of course, the overall improvisational bliss orchestrated and anchored by Galactic, a band that has been around this many years for a good reason.

On a night that certainly recalled Soulive’s annual two week Brooklyn Bowl residency (Bowlive), many in the house almost certainly entertained a fleeting thought of Galactic following suit and giving their devoted Big Apple following the thorough dose that they need. Alas it seems that the group will stick to the mere four night annual run, but we can continue to dream of a day when the acclaimed heroes of funk — Jeff Raines, Rich Vogel, Stanton Moore, Robert Mercurio, and Ben Ellman – might change their minds.


Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Andrew Blackstein




Galactic, 4/20/12

Galactic (w/ Lightnin’ Malcolm)
Minglewood Hall
Memphis, TN
April 20, 2012



Still reeling hard from the freshly released Carnivale Electricos (February 21, 2012, Anti- Records), an album that has been met with resounding acclaim from critics and fans alike, Galactic continues to relentlessly tour the country in support of the effort.

April 20, a night deemed a music holiday by many, found the New Orleans funk-jam stalwarts in Memphis for the first time since 2010.

With Living Colour vocalist Corey Glover along for the ride, they treated the crowd to a dish of their signature blend of jazz, funk, and soul. However, Glover dominated the proceedings. At times, it seemed the band was backing him, rather than him augmenting the band and while Galactic was the same tight-knit outfit that they always are, there was something not quite right with the current blend they offered up.

There were moments of brilliance – the show started off on a tremendous foot with a powerful “Cineramascope,” “Heart of Steel” was solid, and “Boe Money” was great. Glover’s stand-out moment was “Cult of Personality,” the 90s tune that gave Living Colour widespread popularity.

But, the best moments were when the band was sans-vocalist, and those moments were too few and far between. Galactic is capable of much more than they showed in Memphis. Fortunately, their track record shows that the next time they come to town, it’s more likely to be hit than miss.


Setlist (Courtesy of stopgo1970)


Cineramascope, Hey Na Na*, Out In the Street*, I Don’t Know What…Funky*, Karate, Bongo Joe, Total Destruction of Your Mind*, Bittersweet*
Cult of Personality*, Heart of Steel*,  GoGo, Boe Money, Shit. Damn. Motherfucker*,  You Don’t Know*, How Many More Times*, Ash Wednesday Sunrise, Goin’ Down *

Notes: *With Corey Glover


Click HERE to download an audience recording of this show.


Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Josh Mintz

Galactic kicks off the Carnivale at the 9:30 in DC

Galactic (w/ Soul Rebels Brass Band)
9:30 Club
Washington, DC
February 23, 2012



Galactic! Little else needs to be said to get the adrenaline going from fans of improvisational music with a flair for funk.

As part of this year’s Mardi Gras and Carnival celebrations, Galactic fans had an extra reason to get into party mode — on Fat Tuesday, February 21, Galactic released their seventh studio album, Carnivale Electricos, a musical celebration of the sounds you would hear coming from all over the pre-lent day of catharsis. From funk to Hip-Hop, R&B and soul, Galactic’s new album is a daring take on their ever exploring musical journey.

Just two days after the release, Galactic, along with their New Orleans friends, the  Soul Rebels Brass Band, took off on a tour promoting their most recent effort.

The first stop was this night,  an unseasonably balmy one at Washington, DC’s 9:30 Club and as has been standard for Galactic as of late, the Soul Rebels were not the only guests that Galactic brought with them, as recent Grammy winning trombonist, Corey Henry of the Rebirth Brass Band, and Living Colour vocalist / solo artist Corey Glover, joined the funk-jam stalwarts for what would be a marvelous kick off to the Carnivale Electricos tour.

The stage was similarly decorated to the way in which it was for the “Ya-Ka-May” tour, Robert Mercurio’s bass amp and Rich Vogel’s Hammond B-3 organ wrapped in a ring of plastic that was backlit by a variety of colors. The marked difference was the two sizable glowing carnival masks that flanked flanking a large silver “G.” Furthering the new stage  decorum was Stanton Moore’s bass drum head that was painted with a character from their new album cover, all setting the scene for the two hour blend of new and classic Galactic, stuff that has kept them relevant for nearly two decades.

Though all of Galactic’s members have called the Crescent City of New Orleans their home for many moons, returning to DC is a pre-NOLA homecoming for two of Galactic’s founding members: bassist Robert Mercurio and guitarist Jeff Raines. Rightfully, the pair opened the set with the first bars of 2010’s “Cinearamascope” (Ya-Ka-May). From there, the band pounded out another haunting instrumental, “Balkan Wedding.” Both songs were brightly played and tight, with drummer extraordinaire Stanton Moore and Mercurio working as tight as any rhythm section ever could.

Having always split time between instrumentals and vocal numbers, when singer Theryl “House Man” DeClouet left the band in 2004, the band used it as an opportunity to work with a variety of talent including Boots Riley, Chali 2na, Irma Thomas and Cyril Neville, but since last year, it seems that they have settled on Corey Glover who has chaired the vocal seat. It works perfectly. Glover brings a powerful voice and a wealth of confidence that can only come from a man who has a world of front man experience similar to his. He demonstrated this perfectly when brought on stage for his first foray of the night with  a couple of songs from the new album.

The Carnivale Electricos album has an overall electronic sound to it — with looped drum parts and effect laden vocals. On the record, the band keeps the songs very cohesive and dynamic while exploring modern sounds and techniques. In contrast, when played live, the tunes take on a distinctly organic feel and Glover has quickly learned how to interpret the vocals while putting his own stamp of phrasing on them.

Tearing into “Hey Na Na” with Glover again in tow, the crowd responded en masse to the song’s main chant at the beseeching of the guy that was formerly best known for his braided days in Body Glove suits, slaying worldwide audiences and stomping on any prejudice that anyone had about African Americans and hard rock.

Of course, all of this fails to mention the vocal abilities of a man that is better known for his brass abilities, the aforementioned Corey Henry who is a fantastic hip-hop vocalist and spent time trading licks with Glover over tunes such as the funk R&B infused “Out in the Street” that had the 9:30 Club boiling.

Sax and harmonica man, Ben Ellman, is also very comfortable working with Henry and after a couple years of playing together the two have grown into a place where they can anticipate each other. This makes for great live moments, and it was this call and response jamming intermingled with conjoint play and trading of solos that proved made  “Keep Steppin'” a memorable serving of the number.

One of two clear highlight moments came halfway through the set when the entire Soul Rebels Brass Band joined Galactic for a pair of songs. This filled the stage with 14 musicians, including: 3 trombones, 2 tenor saxes, 2 trumpets, 3 percussionists, keys, guitar, bass and tuba. In combination, it made for one giant load of power.

As the bands whipped through extended solos on Ya-Ka-May’s “Boe Money,” many in the Washington DC crowd could not believe what they were seeing and hearing, the visual experience nearly as heightening as the sonic one, and were left buzzing long after the Soul Rebels left the stage.

After taking a short break, the band returned to the stage for an encored “Ash Wednesday Sunrise”(Carnivale Electricos), a quiet instrumental that was reflective and telling of the startling peace found in New Orleans on Wednesday morning after Mardi Gras day.

To cap it all off, Corey Glover returned to the stage and exclaimed “and during the few moments that we have left, I want to talk right down to earth, in a language that everybody can understand” before launching into the unmistakable Vernon Reid (played by Jeff  Raines) opening to Living Colour’s timeless and socially riveting hit, “Cult of Personality,” causing a near riot on the floor.

Galactic delivered and delivered big. A huge night of music and fun which left the 9:30 Club gasping for its collective breath. NPR was on hand to record the night and now has it available for streaming.

Galactic is an honest band. They enjoy playing together and exploring many of the styles of New Orleans music, all the while giving respect to those who came before, and the styles that are coming now. Remarkably, this was the first night of the tour and many still have the opportunity to see how it unfolds further down the road.



Cineramascope, Balkan Wedding, Hey Na Na*, Out in the Street*, I Don’t Know But It Sure Is Funky*, Ha Di Ka*, Bongo Joe, Keep Steppin’, Total Destruction To Your Mind*,Never Called You Crazy*, Karate, Boe Money, Heart of Steel*, Carnival Time*, Goin’ Down*, You Don’t Know*

Encore:  Ash Wednesday Sunrise, Cult of Personality*
* with Corey Glover


Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Bob Adamek



Full stream of Galactic album, ‘Carnivale Electricos’ (out 2/21), available now


Want something to be jazzed about? How about a new album from Galactic? Well, Galactic’s Carnivale Electricos is available for pre-order and is set to officially  drop on 2/21/12, but for now, we have it streaming for your listening pleasure.


Here is the lowdown on the new record:

To make Carnivale Electricos, the members of GALACTIC (Ben Ellman, harps and horns; Robert Mercurio, bass; Stanton Moore, drums and percussion; Jeff Raines, guitar; Rich Vogel, keyboards) draw on the skills, stamina, and funk they deploy in the all-night party of their annual Lundi Gras show that goes till sunrise and leads sleeplessly into Mardi Gras day.

GALACTIC was formed eighteen years ago in New Orleans, and they cut their teeth playing the biggest party in America: Mardi Gras, when the town shuts down entirely to celebrate. Carnivale Electricos is beyond a party record. It’s a carnival record that evokes the electric atmosphere of a whole city – make that, whole cities – vibrating together all on the same day, from New Orleans all down the hemisphere to the mighty megacarnivals of Brazil. Armed with a slew of carnival-ready guests—including Cyril and Ivan Neville, Mystikal, Mannie Fresh, Moyseis Marques, Casa Samba, the KIPP Renaissance High School Marching Band, and Al “Carnival Time” Johnson (who remakes his all-time hit)—GALACTIC whisks the listener around the neighborhoods to feel the Mardi Gras moment in all its variety of flavors.

Carnivale Electricos begins on a spiritual note, the way Mardi Gras does in the black community of New Orleans. On that morning, the most exciting experience you can have is to be present when the small groups of black men called Mardi Gras Indians perform their sacred street theater. Nobody embodies the spiritual side of Mardi Gras better than the Indians, whose tambourines and chants provide the fundament of New Orleans carnival music. These “gangs,” as they call them, organize around and protect the figure of their chief. The album’s keynote singer, BIG CHIEF JUAN PARDO, is, says Robert Mercurio, “one of the younger Chiefs out there, and he’s become one of the best voices of the new Chiefs. Pardo grew up listening to the singing of the older generation of Big Chiefs, points out Ben Ellman, and “he’s got a little Monk [Boudreaux], a little Bo Dollis, he’s neither uptown nor downtown.”

On “Karate,” says Ellman, the band was aiming to “capture the power” of one of the fundamental musical experiences of Mardi Gras: “a marching band passing by you.” The 40-piece KIPP Renaissance High School Marching Band’s director arranged up GALACTIC’s demo, then the band rehearsed it until they had it all memorized. The kids poured their hearts into a solid performance, and, says Mercurio, “I think they were surprised” to hear how good they sounded on the playback.

Musical energy is everywhere at carnival time. “You hear the marching bands go by,” says Mercurio, moving us through a Mardi Gras day, “and then you hear a lot of hiphop.” There hasn’t been a Mardi Gras for twenty years that hasn’t had a banging track by beatmaker / rapper MANNIE FRESH sounding wherever you go. “You can’t talk about New Orleans hiphop without talking about MANNIE FRESH,” says Ellman. His beats have powered literally tens of millions of records, and he and GALACTIC have been talking for years about doing something together. On “Move Fast,” he’s together with multiplatinum gravel-voiced rapper MYSTIKAL, who is, says Ellman, “somebody we’ve wanted to collaborate with forever. It was a coup for us.”

Out in the streets of New Orleans, you might well hear a funky kind of samba, reaching southward toward the other end of the hemispheric carnival zone. There has for the last twenty-five years been a smoking Brazilian drum troupe in town: CASA SAMBA, formed at Mardi Gras in 1986. They’re old friends of GALACTIC’s from their early days at Frenchmen Street’s Café Brasil, and the two groups joined forces for a new version of Carlinhos Brown’s “Magalenha,” previously a hit for Sérgio Mendes.

But the Brazilian influence on Carnivale Electricos goes beyond one song. “When we started this album, we all immersed ourselves in Brazilian music and let it get into our souls,” says Mercurio. The group contributed three Brazilian-flavored instrumentals, including “JuLou,” which riffs on an old Brazilian tune, though the name refers to the brass-funk Krewe of Julu, the “walking krewe” that Galactic members participate in on Mardi Gras morning. After creating the hard-driving track that became “O Côco da Galinha,” they decided it would be right for MOYSÉIS MÁRQUEZ, from the São Paulo underground samba scene, who collaborated with them and composed the lyric.

If you were GALACTIC and you were making a carnival album, wouldn’t you want to play “Carnival Time,” the irrepressibly happy 1960 perennial from the legendary Cosimo Matassa studio? Nobody in New Orleans doesn’t know this song. The remake features a new performance in the unmistakable voice of the original singer, AL “CARNIVAL TIME” JOHNSON, who’s still active around town more than fifty years after he first gained Mardi Gras immortality.

The closing instrumental, ,“Ash Wednesday Sunrise,” evokes the edginess of the post-party feeling. The group writes, “There is the tension you feel on that morning — one of being worn out from all of the festivities and one of elation that you made it through another year.”

But, as New Orleanians know, there’s always another carnival to look forward to, and GALACTIC will be there, playing till dawn and then going to breakfast before parading.






Boxers or Briefs? A Galactic Parody presented by Honest Tune & Wakarusa

As part of our continued efforts to deliver some of the most compelling content within our scene, this year Honest Tune is joining hands with several events to bring our readers, viewers and listeners exclusive material that you will absolutely never see anywhere else. One of these events is Wakarusa.


Wakarusa is an event that has been held near and dear to the Honest Tune heart since its inception and this year, our role at the event will be even further than in years previous. Hence, the goodies that we will be bringing home from the festivities — that happen in Ozark, AR on May 31-June 3, 2011 — will sweeter than ever.


Leading up to the event, Honest Tune will occasionally be releasing some “outside the box” content from some of our favorite artists and friends. Fresh off the heels of Jam Cruise, we felt that it would be most appropriate to kick things off with a little something from Jam Cruise and funk-jam stalwarts that also happen to be a band that are close to our heart, Galactic. 


Though Galactic is not on this year’s (amazing yet still not fully announced) Waka lineup bill, they definitely know the site, having played and hung out there on many occasions. So when asked, they were more than happy to join in on the fun.


Galactic also just so happens to be releasing a studio album in mid-February (Carnivale Electricos) and are subsequently launching a massive tour across the United States.


So sit back, relax, enjoy and (hopefully) laugh as we present Galactic: Boxers of Briefs?



Boxers or Briefs?

A Galactic Parody Presented by Honest Tune & Wakarusa

For more on Wakarusa, visit www.Wakarusa.com
For more on Galactic, visit www.GalacticFunk.com
For more on Jam Cruise, visit www.JamCruise.com