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Kris Tokarski

Drop Me Off in Harlem

(Independent)

If the name Kris Tokarski is not yet familiar, that’s because the pianist moved here just two years ago to pursue his master’s degree at the University of New Orleans. His specialty in stride piano explains the absence of a bass on Drop Me Off in Harlem, an album of material primarily from legendary composers [...]

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Poor Man’s Fortune

Bayou Curious

(Speak Jolly Music)

Although Poor Man’s Fortune, which includes New Orleans’ singer-songwriter-bouzoukist Beth Patterson, is best known for its Breton music from Brittany, France, on Bayou Curious, the group mixes Cajun fare with traditional Breton instrumentation that includes its indigenous shrieky bombarde, estimably the word’s loudest instrument, for an interesting French cultural fusion. After Patterson’s short intro of [...]

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Rusty Yates Band

Rusty Yates Band

Passion

(Independent)

From the jump start, Passion comes on as ear-opening. Although in the music business for some 30 years, Baton Rouge vocalist and pianist Rusty Yates isn’t exactly a household name. Therefore, he and his seven-piece band’s soul-kicking entrance on “Rectify” were, to be truthful, surprising. One good thing leads to another and that idiom holds [...]

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Matthew Davidson

Matthew Davidson

Cross My Heart

(Magnet Music)

There are certain expectations placed on a 14-year-old when he wins the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation New Generation Award. Matthew Davidson did just that, and with the release of Cross My Heart he is coming into his own but is not bound to Johnson’s barebones blues legacy. Davidson shows his age and tastes with a [...]

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Smoking Time Jazz Club

Smoking Time Jazz Club

I Need Someone Like You

(Independent)

The Smoking Time Jazz Club has established itself as a regular at Maison and the Spotted Cat on Frenchmen Street and as a frequently seen street band in the Quarter. In recent years the band has developed a characteristic style that is amply demonstrated on this latest CD. As we noted a year ago, Smoking [...]

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Big Sam’s Funky Nation

Big Sam’s Funky Nation

Evolution

(Independent)

Who knew Big Sam’s signature “Noladelic” dance party could get even better? Big Sam’s Funky Nation’s fifth album, Evolution, takes its sound to the next level of unadulterated funk. An album wrought with love, pain and rebirth, Evolution is a testament to the band’s progression from New Orleans upstarts to a national funk phenomenon. While [...]

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Lemon Nash

Papa Lemon

(Arhoolie Records)

Though his commercial discography has been scant, this 27-track collection recorded 1959-1961 by folklorist Dr. Harry Oster and jazz archivist Dick Allen should raise public awareness of this colorful and unusual New Orleans jazzman named Lemon Nash. He was one of the few to ever pluck a ukulele professionally and was part of traveling medicines [...]

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Black Feratu

Evil Is the New Good

(Independent)

Drummer Mac Black calls Black Feratu’s sound metal “ … that goes from punk to sludge and doom,” but Black Feratu’s Evil Is the New Good is best described as rock from the worst side of the tracks. From the opening cut, there are tales of repercussions, ruthless bravado, terrible vices and comprising addictions. Songs [...]

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Aurora Nealand  & Royal Roses

Aurora Nealand & Royal Roses

The Lookback Transmission

(Independent)

Aurora Nealand is one of the most exciting young musical talents in the city these days. She came to town nearly a decade ago and has played with a number of traditional jazz bands during the interim. In 2010, she formed her own ensemble, the Royal Roses, and they soon released their fine tribute to [...]

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The Magnolia Sisters

Love Lies

(Arhoolie Records)

Over the course of three decades and six albums, the Magnolia Sisters has become an institution of integrity, one not interested in any pop sensibility, but a predilection for vital cultural aspects essential to the genre. This time out, the Sisters salute the ’30s string bands who dropped the accordion to align with its Américain [...]

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