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THE

Defender Picks

 

JEUDI

July 24th

Crescent City Farmers Market
3700 Orleans Ave., 3p.m.-7p.m.
Midcity edition of the city's prime local market

 

Ogden After Hours
Ogden Museum, 6-8p.m.
This week ft. country rockers Pontchartrain Wrecks

 

Thursdays at Twilight
City Park Botanical Garden, 6p.m.
This week ft. Paul Sanchez ($10)

 

Dying City
Shadowbox Theatre, 7:30p.m.
Christopher Shinn’s play about the social effects of the Iraq War ($15)

 

Gisela in Her Bathtub & A Hand of Bridge
Marigny Opera House, 8p.m.
9th Ward Opera Company presents two one-act operas ($20)

 

20,000 Days On Earth
Zeitgeist, 7:30p.m.
Screening of the Nick Cave doc

 

Yojimbo, Down By Law
Joy Theatre, 7p.m.
Double feature worthy of the Criterion Collection

 

Coathangers, White Fang, Trampoline Team, Bottom Feeders
Siberia, 7p.m.
Feminist punk rockers at the early show ($8)

 

Reggae Night
Blue Nile, 11p.m.
Hosted by DJ T-Roy
 

VENDREDI

July 25th

Friday Nights at NOMA
NOMA, 5-9p.m.
Murals On Screen film series begins with Multiple Perspectives: the Crazy Machine

 

Gal Holiday & the Honky-Tonk Revue
Siberia, 6p.m.
Authentic N.O. honky-tonk rock (free)

 

Zephyrs vs. Omaha
Zephyr Stadium, 7p.m.
Local baseball in Metairie

 

Closed Curtain
Zeitgeist, 7:30p.m.
Jafar Panahi made his new film despite Iran’s ban on his work

 

Dying City
Shadowbox Theatre, 7:30p.m.
Christopher Shinn’s play about the social effects of the Iraq War ($20)

 

Johnny Angel & Helldorado
Old U.S. Mint, 8p.m.
Country Western swing from New Orleans ($10)

 

Gisela in Her Bathtub & A Hand of Bridge
Marigny Opera House, 8p.m.
9th Ward Opera Company presents two one-act operas ($20)

 

King Buzzo, Dax Riggs
One Eyed Jacks, 9p.m.
Melvins leader goes solo acoustic ($15)

 

The Hood Internet, Jermaine Quiz
Hi-Ho Lounge, 9p.m.
Mashup DJ extraordinaires ($12)

 

PUJOL, Natural Child, Heavy Lids, Planchettes
Siberia, 10p.m.
Garage rock from Nashville & NOLA

 

Foundation Free Fridays
Tipitina’s, 10p.m.
This week ft. Eddie Roberts & Friends

 

Rocky Horror Picture Show
Prytania, 10p.m.
Ft. The Well Hung Speakers shadow cast

SAMEDI

July 26th

Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte
Historic New Orleans Collection, 10:30a.m.
1964 film stars Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten

 

Renee Broadhead: Unveiled and P.L. Jones: Bonded By Blood
Garden District Books, 2-3:30p.m.
Two YA authors read from their supernatural novels

 

Big Easy Rollergirls Double Header
UNO Human Performance Center, 5p.m.
vs. Hattiesburg & Chicago ($15)

 

Zephyrs vs. Omaha
Zephyr Stadium, 6p.m.
Local baseball in Metairie

 

Symbols of the Illuminati in New Orleans
Zeitgeist, 6:30p.m.
They’re reeeeeal (presented by Tony Green)

 

New Orleans Voodoo vs. San Antonio Talons
Smoothie King Center, 7p.m.
Local arena football

 

Ceremony, Nothing, Back to Back, Heat Dust
Mudlark, 7p.m.
Cali & Philly punk rock ($5)

 

Dying City
Shadowbox Theatre, 7:30p.m.
Christopher Shinn’s play about the social effects of the Iraq War ($20)

 

Gisela in Her Bathtub & A Hand of Bridge
Marigny Opera House, 8p.m.
9th Ward Opera Company presents two one-act operas ($20)

 

Steely Dan
Lakefront Arena, 8p.m.
Kings of cool-dad rock ($62+)

 

Bantam Foxes
Old U.S. Mint, 8p.m.
Local indie band incorporates fuzzy blues rock ($10)

 

Rocky Horror Picture Show
Prytania, 10p.m.
Ft. shadow cast the Well Hung Speakers

 

HUSTLE!
Hi-Ho Lounge, 11p.m.
DJ Soul Sister’s rare groove dance party
 


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.

Managing Editor

Stephen Babcock

Editor:

B. E. Mintz

Published Daily by

Minced Media, Inc.