The Saint Roch Syncopators, “Working Men” (Independent)

There is an unbuttoned charm to this first album from traditional jazz band The Saint Roch Syncopators. It feels like they’re having fun and enjoying the party. Ryan Robertson on trumpet and Brandon Brunious on banjo lead the group through a collection of “good ’ol good ones,” as Pops would say. Look out for “Until the Real Thing Comes Along” with an earnest, hat-in-hand vocal by Robertson. “Hot Sausage Rag” is an unusual but welcome choice. Their versions of “Winin’ Boy Blues” and “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” are particularly playful.


Brandon Brunious, of the renowned musical family, is largely responsible for the jaunty quality of the album. His banjo adds just the right amount of bounce. The vocals may be rough at times, but that lends an “aw shucks” endearing quality to the songs. Working Men has that joyful laissez-faire attitude that is quintessential New Orleans.