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THE

Defender Picks

 

Jeudi

April 24th

Big Freedia, The Star Steppin' Cosmonaughties, & More

Armstrong Park (3 p.m.)

Jazz in the Park continues with bounce, dance, and Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers 

 

New Orleans Nightingales

The Allways Lounge (9 p.m.)

Jazz Fest series gala kick off  

 

The Trio feat. Eric "Jesus" Coomes, Nicholas Payton

Maple Leaf (10 p.m.)

Funk bassist + New Orleans’ BAM (Black American Music) trumpeter  

 

Tinariwen and Bombino

House of Blues (9 p.m.)

Desert rock inspired by the Sahara  

 

Bayous de Vilaine

Ogden Museum (6 p.m.)

Sippin' in Seersucker trunk show from Jolie & Elizabeth, plus music for tonight's after hours event 

 

Cirque d'Licious

Hi-Ho Lounge (10p.m.)

Ginger Licious hosts cabaret, burlesque, vaudeville and more!

 

Soul Rebels

Les Bon Temps Roule (11p.m.)

Roll with the Rebels on Magazine

 

 

 

Vendredi

April 25th

Jazz Fest

Fair Grounds (11 a.m.- 7 p.m.)

Headliners include The Avett Brothers, Public Enemy and, Aurora Nealand 

 

Underground Railroad Film Screening

NOMA (5 p.m.)

Fridays at NOMA features art and music inside, film in the Sculpture Garden, plus food and drink 

 

Rotary Downs + Mike Dillon 

Gasa Gasa (9 p.m.)

New Orleans psych pop, rock n' roll 

 

Backbeat Jazz Fest Series  

Blue Nile (10 p.m.)

Soul Rebels, Nigel Hall & the Congregation, and more 

 

Nina Simone Tribute

Cafe Istanbul (11 p.m.)

Tank and the Bangas + Mykia Jovan 

 

Andrew Duhon

Circle Bar (10 p.m.)

Local bluesy singer/songwriter  

 

Trombone Shorty + Orleans Ave.

House of Blues (8 p.m.)

Plus New Breed Brass Band. Tickets are $50  

 

Dumpstaphunk + Easy All Stars + More

Howlin' Wolf (10 p.m.)

Ivan Neville's band joins fellow funk bands on stage, with the Roosevelt Collier Band 

 

Bootsy Collins + DJ Soul Sister

Joy Theater (9 p.m.)

Funk legend joins New Orleans' own queen of rare grooves 

Samedi

April 26th

Jazz Fest

Fair Grounds (11 a.m.- 7 p.m.)

Headliners include Robin Thicke, 101 Runners, Branford Marsalis Quartet, and Phish 

 

Shamarr Fest

Shamrock (10 p.m.)

Shamar Allen & The Underdawgs, Hot 8 Brass Band, John Popper of Blues Traveler, and more

 

Cowboy Mouth

Tipitina's (9 p.m.)

plus Honey Island Swamp Band 

 

Katdelic

Blue Nile (2 a.m.)

Funk, rock, and hip hop from San Francisco

 

Heatwave

Prytania Bar (9 p.m.)

All-vinyl dance party spinning Motown/garage rock/R&B/soul/oldies

 

HUSTLE with DJ Soul Sister 

Hi Ho Lounge (11 p.m.)

Queen of rare grooves spins all-vinyl boogie, funk, and more into the wee hours of the morning 

 

Grayson Capps

Carrollton Station (10 p.m.)

plus the Lost Cause Minstrels + Jamie Lynn Vessels

Dimanche

April 27th

Jazz Fest

Fair Grounds (11 a.m.- 7 p.m.)

Headliners include Vampire Weekend, New Birth Brass Band, John Boutte, and more

 

Swinging Sundays

Allways Lounge (8 p.m.)

Swing dance lessons and party, live band from 9 p.m.-midnight 

 

Mogwai

Civic Theatre (8 p.m.)

Prog rock, Majeure opens

 

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic

House of Blues (9 p.m.)

Key holder to the city of New Orleans, Clinton, joins DJ Soul Sister


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, Ian Hoch, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Mary Kilpatrick, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner, Chris Staudinger, Kailyn Davillier, Chef Anthony Scanio, Tierney Monaghan, Stacy Coco, Rob Ingraham

Staff Writers

Kerem Ozkan, Cheryl Castjohn, Sam Nelson

Listings

Elisabeth Morgan

Art Listings

Cheryl Castjohn

Photographers

Brandon Robert, Daniel Paschall

Puzzler

Paolo Roy

Art Director:

Michael Weber, B.A.

Deputy Managing Editor

M.D. Dupuy

Managing Editor

Stephen Babcock

Editor:

B. E. Mintz

Published Daily by

Minced Media, Inc.