Author Archives: Robert Fontenot

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Rollin’ with the Blues Boss (Stony Plain)

It’s almost impossible to make the blues sound fresh after a century. Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne rocks those same old one-four-five, AABA verses with no real change in lyrical content, and as he’s savvy enough to note in his own PR, he’s not the least bit reluctant to carry the flag: “They say what I’m [...]

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Jim O’ & the Swanky Psychos, Jim O’ & the Swanky Psychos (Independent)

James O’Donnell is yet another post-K addition to the New Orleans scene, this time from New Jersey. But although this is his second album, this Circle Bar favorite has a backing band this time out, a low-fi mélange of acoustic bass ’n’ drums, sax and Jim’s own bent folk-punk guitar. It’s a mix that could [...]

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Craig Brenner, Live at the Old Mint (Independent)

This album’s subtitle promises “Blues & Boogie Woogie Piano” and it’s accurate in at least that respect: Pianist Craig Brenner is equally fluent in New Orleans piano, straight blues, even ragtime and several different decades’ worth of jazz, and he displays all those facets on this bare-bones live set. This makes it easy to forgive [...]

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Billy Pierce & Friends, Take Me back to the Delta (Independent)

Johnny Sansone, Sonny Landreth, and the Bonerama horn section are just some of the impressive friends who give their blessing to this Delaware slide-blues axe man, and he responds on his latest album—not his debut, but his first as a member of a stripped down “power trio”—by doing a pretty fair job of capturing the [...]

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Pontchartrain Wrecks, Pontchartrain Wrecks (Independent)

Strange as it seems to contemplate now, the Causeway that stretches across Lake Pontchartrain was originally laid down in two pieces—the first span was actually one bouncy two-lane track with a short rail, and it over a decade before folks realized another structure was needed. The newer, safer one heads to the Northshore, while the [...]

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Jamie Bernstein, WhoonDang (Independent)

Despite hailing from the Appalachians and spending the last two decades in the Crescent City, Americana artist Jamie Bernstein has exactly one great story to tell on this album—and it’s someone else’s: the title track tells the (possible) story of how Professor Longhair came up with the rhythm for “Tipitina,” told to Jamie by someone [...]

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Jon Roniger, Gypsyland (Nola Baby Records)

A songwriter with a folkie’s approach who plays trad-jazz-flavored pop in acoustic as well as en français, Jon Roniger’s milieu is gypsy jazz in both form and function, though his approach is wholly modern and blessedly free of any hipster patina. The groove is casual and elegant and just a little sexy on what appears [...]

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The Dirty Bourbon River Show Brings its Gypsy-Brass Circus Rock to Jazz Fest

Right in the middle of one of Noah Adams’ patented speed raps, rapid-fire musings that reveal much about the sound and style of his musical troupe, Dirty Bourbon River Show, he drops a quote from the learned Samuel Johnson: “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” [...]

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The Longtime Goners, The Longtime Goners (Independent)

The Longtime Goners are probably the most authentic sounding of the local bands signing up for the Americana Revolution, more Hank Sr. and Johnny Cash than Petty or Eagles. So it makes a kind of weird ironic sense that they’re a bunch of kids from the Hinterlands, street buskers who assembled in the Quarter to [...]

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Street Songs: Nathan Rivera, Nathan Rivera (Independent) and Shine Delphi, Something Good… (Independent)

When they’re playing and performing together, which is often, these two seasonal NOLA street musicians call themselves the Black Resonators, after their nearly identical guitars. They’re also their own men and yet, as these two debut solo albums prove, working more or less from the same playbook, utilizing a mixture of gypsy jazz, pure folk, [...]

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