From Thursday, August 22 through Sunday, August 25, LOCKN’ Music Festival in Arrington, VA will host four days of sensational music, much of which will come from New Orleans.
LOCKN’ Festival started in 2013 and immediately established itself as one of the best festivals in the United States, especially for “jam band” fans. Although at least one New Orleans-based band has been on the LOCKN’ line-up every year, this is the year New Orleans is represented the most. Galactic, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Soul Rebels and The Revivalists will all be performing for the 2019 event.
I reached out to a couple of the New Orleans-based musicians playing LOCKN’’ this year, and a couple of musicians who are playing this year and who have been heavily inspired by New Orleans. Check out what they had to say about New Orleans, and about this year’s festival.
Julian Gosin, Trumpet – The Soul Rebels
I started playing music in grade school. Here in New Orleans, music is a significant part of a kid’s life. Our city is driven by culture and music, and marching bands and second-line bands are everywhere. And when you are young, playing music is cooler than playing sports. Music kept me out of a lot of trouble and kept me more disciplined too.
Here in New Orleans, there is no separation between music and life. Music is life. And it’s appreciated by everyone.
It’s a great feeling when I see brass bands are formed outside of New Orleans. I think it’s a step in the right direction. I mean, the authenticity lies with New Orleans-based brass bands, but for once, the brass band music we have been making here for almost a hundred years is finding its way across the country. And it’s becoming more popular. It’s inspiring actually. Especially when you see new bands putting their own spin on it. That’s what it’s all about. We like to consider ourselves “genre-bending,” and we like to see brass bands do the same.
The brass band culture is like a big fraternity here. Everybody knows everybody. And you are familiar with each band’s repertoire just by being a part of the community. We all absorb each other’s music. It’s involuntary. And it is for a reason, too. You never know when another brass band might call you for a gig, and it definitely helps if you know their music. You always have to have your horn ready. And you have to be willing to change genres if you need to.
We’ve played LOCKN’’ before, but this year we are particularly excited about the collaborations. They really are mixing some great musicians in with each other. The Soul Rebels get to play with Steel Pulse, and that’s such an excellent fit for us.
Today (August 8), The Soul Rebels released a new music video for the band’s latest single, “Good Time.” Featuring Big Freedia, Denisia and a verse from Passport P (the band’s trombonist, Corey Peyton), the video can be seen below. The band’s Poetry In Motion album arrives October 25.
Tyler Gage, Trumpet – Audacity Brass Band
Sam [Andrews] and I started the band when we were in college. We were both music majors and were accustomed to researching different musical genres. Our school was out in the middle of nowhere, and we had to create or own fun. And there is nothing more fun than New Orleans brass band music. To me, there are no rules to it. Except to have a good time.
The Soul Rebels influence us the most. They are killer. They approach the music in a free-form way, and even though it’s polished and perfect, its a party, and a pure joy for anyone listening.
I have never been to New Orleans. And we don’t want to be a “New Orleans” brass band. When we formed, we already had No BS Brass Band in Richmond, and they play more in the New Orleans style. We decided to let the combined influences of all our members to meld into our sound. We consider ourselves a jam band that uses traditional New Orleans brass band instruments. W play more funky rock n roll than anything and don’t stick to the conventional structure of New Orleans brass band music.
Click here to learn more about Audacity Brass Band.
Ed Williams, Pedal Steel/Lap Steel – The Revivalists
We represent New Orleans wherever we go. No matter what kind of music you play – jazz, heavy metal, rock, whatever. If you are making that music while you live in New Orleans, part of the city is in the sound. We are all transplants who came here for college. But we’ve been here for 10 years now, and it is our home. We do as much as we can to spread the spirit of New Orleans. Because it’s so special to us. And we are so proud to call the city home.
We first played LOCKN’ in 2014. And it was very impactful in terms of our career. LOCKN’ cultivates such a unique experience, and brings together such a dedicated crowd. I mean, there really is nothing else like it.
And since they bring such great musicians together, and encourage collaboration, folks get to see stuff they would never see somewhere else. For the musicians, the spirit of LOCKN’ is very community-oriented. We all look forward to hanging and playing with each other. In that way, the spirit of the festival is in line with the vibe New Orleans-based musicians are used to. And this year, there is a lot of New Orleans at LOCKN’.
I am really looking forward to seeing our brothers in Galactic play their late-night set in Garcia’s Forest. You never know what they are going to pull out, or who is going to be playing with them. Honestly, I can’t wait.
In October, The Revivalists will represent New Orleans at Mempho Music Festival, along with PJ Morton and more.
Mark Levy, Drums – Circles Around The Sun
I lived in New Orleans from Mardi Gras until Jazz Fest in 2010. I moved from Colorado with some friends I was in a band with. Even though it was only a few months, it totally changed my life. It was an incredibly formative experience for me.
We got a house Uptown, and I was at the Maple Leaf almost every single night. Since I spent so much time at The Leaf, I got to hang out with Johnny Vidacovich, who I started taking lessons from while I was there. I also got to hang out with Russel Batiste, who I wound up hanging out with outside of The Leaf too. I sat in with Joe Krown Trio and Walter “Wolfman” Washington at The Leaf a few times while I lived there. The Maple Leaf was the nexus for me.
New Orleans is like no other place. I guess the best way to put it is it’s got “ju-ju.” There is mysticism in the air down there. The culture is so grounded in music that it becomes pervasive in everything. Music is everywhere, and it is fundamental to the lifestyle there.
When we played LOCKN’ in 2016, it was actually the first time we played as a “band.” Up until that point, we were a group of musicians that recorded five hours of intermission music for the Grateful Dead 50 shows. And as far as we knew, it was a one-time thing. And it was anonymous. But we got approached by Rhino Records after the GD 50 shows, to release it as a stand-alone full-length album. So, that’s the time we actually became a band, out of necessity, because we had a record coming out.
A few months after our album, Interludes For The Dead, came out, Peter Shapiro invited us to play LOCKN’. So that was our first live show ever. And it was the first time the band came back together since that initial two-day recording session in 2015. I think we spent an hour and a half rehearsing the day of our show, and then played late night in Garcia’s Forest. I am super excited to get back there. I have been thinking about ti ever since. It’s really magical out there in the forest. Especially because LOCKN’ puts such effort into the ambiance and lighting. The vibe out there was totally rad, and I have been yearning to get back.