With summer officially under way, guitarist Will Bernard and his trio have selected an opportune time to provide a soundtrack that reflects Louisiana’s great funky outdoors with the release of their album Outdoor Living. Each track serves as a backdrop for a different leg of an outdoor adventure through New Orleans and South Louisiana. Drummer Simon Lott takes the second line back to its clave-heavy Latin roots on the opening “Nature Walk” and brings us on a little parade through Jean Lafitte National Park. A similar second-line feel can be heard on “Katskan,” where Lott’s street beat mixes with the jazz-tinged voices of the other instruments to create a fusion that sets the number in motion.
Moving from the bayou to the riverbank, things get laidback with “Nooksack” as Bernard graces the track with some dirty Delta riffs that conjure up images of ships passing slowly under the sun. Will Blades holds down a steady blues bass line on the Hammond B3 with his left hand while the right hops around on chords that shimmer through the fuzzed-out mud seeping from Bernard’s guitar.
Clouds move in and we make our way to a sheltered patio to enjoy the rain with “Roaming Charges.” With a bass line reminiscent of Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused,” each musician is free to roam abstractly as they reach multiple climaxes before drawing back and coming together, each time mimicking the fluctuating intensity of a summertime thunderstorm.
From funk to hip-hop, Latin to jazz, and blues to rock ‘n’ roll, Outdoor Living offers something new with every song as it captures the al fresco essence of Louisiana.