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THE

Defender Picks

 

LABOR DAY

September 1st

Zephyrs vs. Memphis
Zephyr Stadium, 1p.m.
Local baseball in Metairie

 

Heroes: A Labor Day Screening Program
Antenna Gallery, 3-7:30p.m.

A selection of documentaries on America’s workers

 

Viridiana
Cafe Istanbul, 7p.m.
Luis Buñuel’s 1961 film is rich with intrigue

 

Alexis & the Samurai
Chickie Wah Wah, 8p.m.

Indie folk duo perform every Monday

 

King James & the Special Men
BJ's Lounge, 10p.m.

Weekly gig in the Bywater for downtown rhythm and blues

MARDI

September 2nd

Yulman Stadium Dedication
Tulane Yulman Stadium, 3-5p.m.
Opening ceremonies for the Green Wave’s new stadium
 

Hidden Treasures: Restaurant Edition
Old U.S. Mint, 6 & 7p.m.
Two nightly tours of the Louisiana State Museum’s collection of restaurant ephemera ($20)

 

Progression Music Series
Gasa Gasa, 8p.m.
This week ft. Barry's Pocket + Christin Bradford Band

 

Comedy Beast
Howlin Wolf Den, 8:30p.m.
Free comedy show

 

Nik Turner's Hawkwind, Witch Mountain, Hedersleben, Mountain of Wizard
Siberia, 9p.m.
Hawkwind and Space Ritual saxophonist still touring the world ($12)

 

Punk Night
Dragon’s Den, 10p.m.
This week ft. The Boy Sprouts, The Noise Complaints, Mystery Girl, Interior Decorating

MERCREDI

September 3rd

Restaurant Week Kickoff Party
The Chicory, 6-8p.m.
The Restaurant Association invites the public to sample bites and libations ($25)

 

The He and She Show
Siberia, 6p.m.
Live stand-up ft. Doug and Teresa Wyckoff, Andrew Polk, Molly Rubin-Long, Duncan Pace ($7)

 

Katy Simpson Smith: The Story of Land and Sea
Columns Hotel, 7p.m.
Author presents her debut novel of the American Revolution

 

Alien Ant Farm
Southport Hall, 7:30p.m.
With H2NY, Kaleido, Music from Chaos ($15)

 

Pocket Aces Brass Band
Howlin Wolf Den, 8p.m.
Get your funky brass fill on a Wednesday ($5)

JEUDI

September 4th

Carol McMichael Reese: New Orleans Under Reconstruction
Garden District Book Shop, 6p.m.
Panel discussion by contributors to this informed book on post-Katrina N.O.

 

Katy Simpson Smith: The Story of Land and Sea
Octavia Books, 6p.m.
Author presents her debut novel of the American Revolution

 

Hidden Treasures: Restaurant Edition
Old U.S. Mint, 6 & 7p.m.

Two nightly tours of the Louisiana State Museum’s collection of restaurant ephemera ($20)

 

Ogden After Hours
Ogden Museum, 6-8p.m.

This week ft. Mike Dillon, James Singleton and Johnny Vidacovich

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
NOCCA Nims Black Box Theatre, 8p.m.

The NOLA Project presents a stage adapation of Ken Kesey’s classic ($30)

VENDREDI

September 5th

Music Under the Oaks
Audubon Park Newman Bandstand, 4:30-6p.m.

This week ft. John Mahoney Big Band

 

Mark Shapiro: Carbon Shock
Octavia Books, 6p.m.

Journalist’s new book explores intersection of environment and economics

 

Dernière séance
Alliance Française, 7p.m.
A cinema manager turns killer when he learns his beloved theater will close ($5)

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
NOCCA Nims Black Box Theatre, 8p.m.

The NOLA Project presents a stage adapation of Ken Kesey’s classic ($30)

 

Foundation Free Fridays: Flow Tribe
Tiptina’s, 10p.m.

CD Release party with Cha Waa, Seven Handle Circus

 

Freddy Mercury Night
Neutral Ground Coffeehouse, 10p.m.

Is this real life? Is just fantasy?

 

Royal Teeth, Coyotes
Freret Street Publiq House, 10p.m.

Local indie pop & rock on Freret

 

G-Eazy
Republic, 11p.m.
Loyola grad returns to his home stage ($20)


Stomp and Circumstance

Ponderosa Stomp Provides an Earful of NOLA's Hillbilly History



Michael Hurtt, one of the founders of the Ponderosa Stomp, talks about the overlooked country-western influences that helped New Orleans music flourish.

 

Western swing, bluegrass, rockabilly and country are not genres of music that most people associate with New Orleans, having long been overshadowed by jazz and swept under the cultural rug in an unfortunate turn of events for a city that prides itself on its ties to history and American music. However, every September the city shakes the rug out a little for the annual Ponderosa Stomp, a festival that is in part a celebration of New Orleans' rich and seriously under-appreciated hillbilly history.

 

 

The Stomp, which was founded in 2002, is an annual roots music festival dedicated to recognizing the architects of rock-n-roll, blues, jazz, country, swamp pop and soul music that will take place this year at the Howlin' Wolf on Sept. 16 and 17. This year's celebration will include tributes to legendary soul and blues labels Stax Records and Excello Records as well as producer Cosimo Matassa, with tributes being paid by Allen Toussaint, William Bell, the Bo-Keys and many more.

 

 

But there will also be country. NoDef spoke to Michael Hurtt, one of the Stomp's founders and frontman for hillbilly-fusion heroes Michael Hurtt and His Haunted Hearts, who are not only one of the few local groups proudly representing the Crescent City's country and roots history but also one of the Stomp's key backing bands.

 

 

“We started basically because we were wanting to focus and shine a light on the hidden legacy of New Orleans hillbilly music, which was actually pretty big back in the 40s and 50s but seems invisible now.” says Michael.

 

 

Hurtt was involved with the Stomp as a consultant, idea man and band booker before he put the group together. He claims he never thought about playing because he didn't feel that he was good enough, but after an opportunity to back the Detroit soul artist Gino Washington came up. He couldn't say no. The next year he formed the Haunted Hearts, backed Jay Chevalier, and the rest as they say is history.

 

 

“We don't play just New Orleans hillbilly, western swing, rockabilly but all kinds of regional songs from places like Texas, the Midwest," Hurtt said. "Detroit has been a big focus for us. There was a really fantastic country scene there back in the day. So we just picked it up from that, and also we began writing our own songs inspired by that style.”

 

 

Leroy Martin is an artist who personifies the aim of the Stomp, an artist who made a few important records under his own name, wrote songs for Sunny & the Sunliners amongst other people, backed Barbara Lynn on “You'll Lose a Good Thing” and then seemingly faded from sight. He played the event last year, and backing him was described as a 'dream come true' by Hurtt.

 

This year, the Haunted Hearts will back Gretna native and early rock 'n roll hitman, Frankie Ford, swamp pop "anomaly," Jivin' Gene and singer and confidant to Uncle Earl Long, Jay Chevalier.

 

 

“It's so satisfying to be able to play with these guys, especially when they enjoy your band.” he said.

 

 

By necessity, Hurtt has been forced into the role of historian, a role that he never intended, but is now required if he hopes to keep the flame alive. The different styles of music that have been spawned and nurtured by the city do not need to be mutually exclusive. Hot jazz and brass band music can easily sit beside western swing, country, hillbilly music or whatever you want to call it as long as the cultural gatekeepers are willing to embrace the idea.

 

 

Luke Thompson, an an incredible bluegrass player – many refer to him as the father of Louisiana bluegrass - started his own bluegrass festival and has been releasing his own records for more than 40 years. Nowadays he can hardly get booked in his own city.

 

“He's basically been blackballed from Jazz Fest” says an exasperated Hurtt. “They don't want to hear bluegrass, they want to hear zydeco and brass bands. This guy is like a walking piece of history!”

 

 

Proof of hillbilly music's lasting influence is in some of the city's most iconic songs. The "Mardi Gras Mambo," which though made famous by The Hawkettes was originally recorded as a country and western song by Jodie Levins. The original "Mardi Gras Mambo" was a hillbilly song. Many of these young jazz bands doing traditional hot jazz may not realize how much of it draws from the same place as western swing, both of which in a lot of ways came from New Orleans. But the part about western swing usually gets left out.

 

 “I feel like the cultural gatekeepers here pat themselves on the back so much of the time, if its from New Orleans that's great but if its not the right type of music from the city then they don't want to hear it," Hurtt said. "Instead of being provincial, we are trying to take the genres that are being ignored and give them equal time, find some artists with local connections, or not, and put them together on the same stage because they are all equally fantastic, and that was the original idea behind the Ponderosa Stomp. Even people who come to the Stomp may not even know who they're seeing, but the stories behind these guys are amazing and so are the threads that connect them and their music.”

I would like to learn more

I would like to learn more about Luke Thompson.
Any threads out there?

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Contributors:

Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Elizabeth Davas, Ian Hoch, Lindsay Mack, Anna Gaca, Jason Raymond, Lee Matalone, Phil Yiannopoulos, Joe Shriner, Chris Staudinger, Chef Anthony Scanio, Tierney Monaghan, Stacy Coco, Rob Ingraham,

Staff Writers

Cheryl Castjohn, Sam Nelson

Listings Editor

Anna Gaca

Art Listings

Cheryl Castjohn

Photographers

Brandon Roberts, Rachel June, Daniel Paschall

Film Critic

Jason Raymond

Puzzler

Paolo Roy

Art Director:

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor:

B. E. Mintz

Published Daily by

Minced Media, Inc.

Editor Emeritus



Stephen Babcock