Marc Stone is planning a big celebration for his first headlining gig at Tipitina’s on October 3, the official release party for his latest album Live at Tipitina’s. The show will cover several aspects of Stone’s peripatetic musical journey and feature a host of special guests. Stone, a fixture on the New Orleans scene over the last quarter of a century for his guitar playing with Eddie Bo, Big Al Carson, Buckwheat Zydeco, Rockin Dopsie, Jr. and fronting his own groups, brings a unique understanding of blues, R&B, jazz and rock history to bear on his collaborations as well as his enduring presence as a WWOZ DJ.
Stone explained that the show would feature several lineups.
“On the Tip’s show I’m going to do some solo acoustic stuff and some stuff with John Mooney. Playing with John is one of the heaviest experiences of my life. He’s the direct bearer from Son House of the Delta blues and all the rock ‘n’ roll that came out of that. John’s the vessel, so playing with him is like a master class. We’ll do that stuff at Tip’s and I’ll also have my band the New Soul Finders. We’ll be playing the new single, “The Truth”; the Naughty Professor horns played on that. The last couple of years I’ve started to play with a lot of people who are in their 20s and 30s who are these phenomenally-talented, soulful musicians who are committed to understanding the roots. But they are also really doing their own thing with it, and I’m also still working with these cats from generations before me who are a direct connection to the people who are the real manifestation of the music that I grew up with.
“Those are people like Benny Turner, Freddie King’s younger brother, who came up playing with Elmore James, Little Walter and Muddy Waters. It’s been so fulfilling and energizing that to allow me to put these different generations together, and to be a kind of a musical fulcrum. We did a series at the Ace Hotel last year called “Blues and Boogie,” where I was doing a lot of that—bringing younger musicians and older masters together to get them to mingle and create that bridge. So I find myself in this really fun position of getting all this artistic stimulation from people younger than me, as well as from people I’ve always looked up to who are older than me and whom I’ve been lucky enough to work with.
“The Tip’s show also includes members of the Honey Island Swamp Band because bassist Sam Price and drummer Garland Paul have worked with me for years in different incarnations of my own band. Sam was the first bass player that I worked with when I did my original music here 25 years ago. It’s been great to see him develop all of his manifestations: from his love of Latin music which led to Otra; to his work with the New Orleans Funk Ensemble and Honey Island Swamp Band; and now doing his own thing with the True Believers. It’s been really cool to watch his whole evolution. And all these cats are my contemporaries, so it’s been great through the years to see us all come scraping up through the club scene and working in all these different situations, and then to see them accomplish all these great things.
“That’s on the Thursday night; then on that Saturday night my band will be headlining St. Bernard Parish’s Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival. It will be my band with John Mooney and Benny Turner. Benny has taught generations of New Orleans musicians how to play the blues, but not in the New Orleans sense. Benny was from Texas and in the ‘50s and ‘60s became part of the Chicago scene with his brother Freddie. When he moved to New Orleans and started working with [the late] Marva Wright, he wound up training a lot of people in the New Orleans scene how to play blues in the Chicago context, as opposed to the New Orleans manifestations of it. By getting to work with him, I couldn’t have possibly gotten more in touch with the spirit of this thing that I loved. With Benny and Mooney, and people like Kirk Joseph and Roger Lewis and the Dirty Dozen, not only were they great people to learn from, but they were the most generous, down-to-earth, let’s-play-music kind of people. Those guys have so much to offer and share with their music and knowledge, and they love sharing it. I really hope that in the future I can point to musicians who are a little younger than me when I got here and say ‘Get with these cats. They want vessels to carry on what they’ve carried all their lives. They want people to understand what they’ve learned.’ I really hope that everything I’ve been doing, first coming up as a sideman and now getting to work in more collaborative ways, that I can open up some avenues of that knowledge to younger people and help carry on the tradition.”