It’s refreshing to hear a record of traditional New Orleans music not stuffed with the old warhorse tunes. I love to hear “Muskrat Ramble,” but nobody needs to record it any more. Seva Venet’s Storyville Stringband’s My Bayou Home is chock-full of mostly Venet’s originals with a couple rare tunes from the first 30 years of the 20th century. This CD has a beautiful tone and lilt. It swings with a light touch and encompasses a bit of that “Spanish Tinge” that Jelly Roll Morton opined was the main ingredient in jazz. Venet’s tunes vary from the sweet ode to Mr. Okra, “The Okra Vendor”—with its nod to the classic “Peanut Vendor”—to the calm rhythms and peaceful lyricism of “Sauvage Bleu” that meanders much like the bayou of the same name. There are also a couple of party and parade tunes such as “Downtown Second Line” with Gregg Stafford on guest vocals and the danceable, New Orleans-themed “Celebrate.” The band here is tight without being suffocating. Venet’s banjo and guitar ring out in the solos and riff smooth chords for the rhythm. Matt Rhody’s violin sings beautiful melodies, as do Sammy Rimington’s mandolin and Lars Edegran’s tenor guitar. Unsung bass hero Jesse Boyd is so steady and his notes so precise that the lack of percussion is barely noticed. My Bayou Home will satisfy any lover of New Orleans music, or good music in general. And like his fellow bandleaders/composers Dr. Michael White, Tom McDermott, Tim Laughlin, Sara Quintana and many others, Venet’s record shows there is great deal of life and originality remaining in traditional jazz.
My Bayou Home
01 February 2013 — by David Kunian