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Defender Picks


Cup Floweth Over

Write Bros "First Flight" Reviewed

When I first heard of this project, I wondered if it would ever happen! Getting some of the best songwriters and musicians in New Orleans to record an album together, putting their talents on tracks and their egos on the side, would be no easy feat. But Spencer Bohren, Jim McCormick, Alex McMurray and Paul Sanchez a.k.a. the Write Brothers managed to put together "First Flight" this winter. I've listened to every track, note and word and offer this as my humble opinion.


Bywater Fest Returns for Ninth Year

The night before Chaz Fest 2015 organizer Alex McMurray is in Lowe’s frantically searching for ratchet straps. Befuddled, he says, “I’ve never bought ratchet straps before.” However, the fest is on Wednesday (4.29) and these two Mimosa trees have gotten so big that they are blocking one of the stages. So, McMurray and his friends are going to use the straps to pull them out of the way. And, therein, lies the spirit of the backyard party cum fest that is Chaz Fest.

Today in New Orleans: 5.03.14

Those missing the Boss at Jazz Fest can still choose from a host of local artists to see all over the city in the daytime hours. Pianist Tom McDermott, guitarist Alex McMurray, and many more are performing during the day. On this day in 1699, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville returned home to France after exploring the northern coast of the Gulf. Now, more to do this Saturday, and stay with NoDef for tonight’s after hours picks. 

Sea Word: Alex McMurray Talks Valparaiso Men’s Chorus

By Cate Czarnecki

Local musician Alex McMurray isn’t sure exactly how to explain the allure of the Valparaiso Men’s Chorus. He just knows that right now, people are singing along. “I'm in a lot of bands, and none of them are popular. This is the only thing I do that people really come out to see, and the fact that it's the most obscure kind of stuff - sea shanties - people do come and they do know the words.”

Hang Tin: Chaz Fest Recap (PHOTOS)

Photos by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee

According to a friend of mine, the homes in the Bywater are “so close together you can hear your neighbor reading a magazine.”  This past Wednesday, the two stages of Chaz Fest brought more interesting noises to incidentally overhear if you were in the neighboring blocks.  

All That Chaz

On 8th Year in the 9th Ward, Chaz Fest Still Comfortable Right Where It Is

It rhymes with Jazz Fest, and it's held on the Wednesday between Jazz Fest weekends. But Alex McMurray, the organizer and mastermind behind the Bywater's Chaz Fest--now in its eighth year--is getting a little weary of the press-ready comparison.

French Quarter Fest 504

Debbie Davis Talks About The Best of the Fest and Ukes

Aura Fedora returns with the second installment of her 504 series, in which she asks five questions of four New Orleans musicians who are playing the Fest. Today, Debbie Davis of the Pfister Sisters and many other acts steps up to Aura's mic.

Today's Events: 10.5.11

Today, Irma Thomas will harvest the music, Mr. Okra will get his 12 minutes of film fame and Ann McCutchan will talk Atchafalaya on Maple Street. But way back when, the World Series was broadcast on the radio for the first time (1921), PBS was founded (1970), McDonalds entrepreneur Ray A. Kroc was born (1902), and Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis died (1941); On World Teachers’ Day, New Orleans offers the following:

Treme Deconstructed

Alex McMurray Fills in Some Episode 3 Holes

The Saints may take a while before returning to our Sundays, but Treme has come back to fill the void in force. Once again, New Orleanians have an end-of-the-week rite that gives them cause to congregate at local bars.

ChazFest Focus: Valparaiso Men's Chorus

The Bywater's annual celebration of one facet of the local music scene might be smaller and in a backyard, but that doesn't mean they don't employ some of the same tactics in scheduling. Like the all-star lineups that can be found dotting the JazzFest scheudle, the Valparaiso Men's Chorus is a confluence of downtown talent into a single entity. The ensemble is lead by ChazFest impresario and host Alex McMurray and made up of a lot of the people (including Chaz!) who are in his other bands (Tin Men, Alex McMurray Band, Happy Talk Band),. It's a celebration of a rarely excavated artform in the cradle of jazz: the Sea Shanty.

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


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Michael Weber, B.A.


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Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt

B. E. Mintz

Stephen Babcock

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