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Lagniappe

 
THE

Defender Picks

 

DIMANCHE

April 30th

Jazz Fest

Fair Grounds, all day

Final day of weekend one

 

Breakfest

Bayou Beer Garden, 9AM

The most important meal of the year

 

Movie Screening: The Invisible Man

Prytania Theatre, 10AM

1933 sci-fi horror classic

 

Dan TDM

Saenger Theatre, 3PM

YouTube superstar comes to town

 

Sunday Musical Meditation

Marigny Opera House, 5PM

Feat. guitarist and composer David Sigler

 

One Tease to Rule Them All

Eiffel Society, 7PM

Lord of the Rings burlesque

 

Joe Krown Trio

Maple Leaf Bar, 7PM

Feat. Walter "Wolfman" Washington and Russell Batiste, plus a crawfish boil

 

Blato Zlato

Bar Redux, 9PM

NOLA-based Balkan band

 

What is a Motico? 

Zeitgeist Arts Center, 9PM

Helen Gillet presents Belgian avant garde films

LUNDI

May 1st

May Day Strike and March

Louis Armstrong Park, 1PM

A protest for freedom, jobs, justice, and sanctuary for all

 

Movie Screening: Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History

Peoples Health Jazz Market, 6:30PM

CNN presents event, with post-screening conversation with anchor Brooke Baldwin

 

WWOZ Piano Night

House of Blues, 7PM
Back to the roots

 

Ooh Poo Pah Doo Monday Blues

Carver Club, 8PM

Treme club shifts its weekly show to the historic Carver Theatre

 

Poetry on Poets

Cafe Istanbul, 9:15PM

Evening of poetry with Chuck Perkins, plus live music

 

Brass-A-Holics

Blue Nile, 11PM

Famed brass all-stars play Frenchmen 

 

 

MARDI

May 2nd

Collison

Ernest N. Morial Cenvention Center 

Kick off day of tech conference

 

United Bakery Records Revue

Marigny Recording Studio, 3PM

First annual showcase of the label's artists

 

GiveNOLA Fest

Greater New Orleans Foundation, 4:30PM

Music from Irma Thomas, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Rebirth Brass Band

 

Tasting Tuesdays

343 Baronne St., 6:30PM

Chardonnay vs. Pinot Noir

 

Gojira

House of Blues, 7PM

Grammy-nominated French heavy metal 

 

Little Freddie King

Little Gem Saloon, 7:30PM

Stick around for Honey Island Swamp Band at 11PM

 

Neil Diamond

Smoothie King Center, 8PM

50th anniversary tour

 

The Mike Dillon Band

Siberia, 9PM

Feat. Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers

MERCREDI

May 3rd

Book Reading: Michael Fry

Octavia Books, 4:30PM

From "How to Be A Supervillain" 

 

Flower Crown Workshop

Freda, 6PM

Hosted by Pistil & Stamen Flower Farm and Studio

 

Pete Fountain Tribute

Music at the Mint, 7PM

Feat. Tim Laughlin

 

Erica Falls

The Sanctuary, 8PM

CD release show

 

Piano Summit

Snug Harbor, 8PM

Feat. Marcia Ball, Joe Krown, and Tom McDermott

 

The New Pornographers

Tipitina's, 8PM

In support of newest album 'Whiteout Conditions'

 

Pixies

Saenger Theatre, 8:30PM

Alt-rock icons

 

Piano Sessions Vol. 7

Blue Nile, 9PM

Feat. Ivan Neville

 

Twin Peaks

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Feat. Chrome Pony and Post Animal in support

 

New Breed Brass Band

Blue Nile, 11:55PM

Next generation NOLA brass

 

Tribute to Lee Dorsey

Pres Hall, 12AM

With Jon Cleary, Benny Bloom, & Friends

JEUDI

May 4th

Jazz Fest

Fair Grounds, all day

Weekend two kicks off

 

May the 4th Be With You

Tubby & Coo's, 4PM

Star Wars party

 

Jazz in the Park
Armstrong Park, 4PM

Russell Batiste and friends

 

Yoga Social Club

Crescent Park, 5:45PM

Get sweaty and centered 

 

Cuba to Congo Square Throwdown

Ashé Cac, 6PM

Live music, DJs, and dance

 

Mike Dillon

The Music Box Village, 6:30PM

Punk rock percussion

 

Herbs & Rituals

Rosalie Apothecary, 7PM

Class for women's health

 

Shorty Fest

House of Blues, 7:30PM

Benefit concert for his namesake foundation

 

AllNight Show 

The Historic Carver Theater, 8PM

Feat. Ian Neville, Nikki Glaspie, SSHH feat. Zak Starkey of The Who

 

Jurassic 5

The Howlin Wolf, 9PM

Feat. Blackalicious

 

Foundation of Funk

Republic NOLA, 9PM

Feat. George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste

 

Jazz: In and Out

Music at the Mint, 9PM

Live music to benefit the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp


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

Renard Boissiere, Linzi Falk, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt


Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily