King James and the Special Men are Singles Again

[Updated] “‘Eh La Bas’ is one of the oldest songs in the New Orleans repertoire,” Jimmy Horn told Talia Schlanger on WXPN’s “World Cafe” recently. “You’ve got recordings and recordings and recordings of it going back to the beginning of recording history. It’s a New Orleans song, but it’s a Creole song. That’s Haitian Creole. That’s the islands.

Deadline for LA Artists to Apply to Play Folk Alliance Nears

Folk Alliance International is a major folk and roots music showcase, and it will come to New Orleans January 22 to January 26, 2020. It attracts not only musicians but members of the industry from around the world—agents, managers, bookers, media, and label reps. So far, few local artists have applied to play showcases, and organizers hope for a robust Louisiana contingent. Cajun, zydeco, and folk blues also get under the Folk Alliance umbrella, so there is room for a variety of styles and genres. 

Essence Festival Bets on Itself for 25th Anniversary

This past weekend, Essence Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary, and thinking about how differently it handled the occasion from the way Jazz Fest celebrated its 50th is instructive. Like Jazz Fest, Essence Festival played to its base—African-American women. Two of the three headliners—Mary J. Blige and Frankie Beverly and Maze—are Essence Festival regulars, and Friday’s headliner—Missy Elliott—performed a confused set in 2015 that ended with the power cut on her before she had finished. 

Harris, Booker and Warren Courted Voters at Essence Festival

The African-American woman’s vote is so important to the success of any Democratic presidential nominee that seven candidates made appearances at the Morial Convention Center at the Essence Festival last weekend. Bill DiBlasio, Michael Bennett, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg all made their pitches to the crowd before being interviewed briefly by Rev. Al Sharpton, Essence publisher Michelle Ebanks, and Essence owner Richelieu Dennis. 

Anderson .Paak Didn't Need the Weather to Generate Heat at Champions Square

Anderson .Paak knows that his face is his money. He named the tour that brought him to Champions Square Saturday night “The Best Teef in the Game Tour,” and he showed off his fine set of choppers all show. His face is so important that he mounted a camera on his drum kit so that even when he was playing, we could see him. 

Julia Jacklin Is Comfortable In New Orleans

Julia Jacklin ended where she started. Her last stop of tour was in New Orleans at Gasa Gasa on Thursday, and she revealed to the packed venue that New Orleans holds special significance for the blossoming of the Australian songwriter's musical career. She also showed how well she understands her own talents as she performed to her exact vocal and emotional range. The Gasa Gasa audience allowed her to fill the space exactly as she needed.

Dr. John and the Importance of Making Groceries

Dr. John’s most enduring mode was translator of New Orleans. He covered a few careers’ worth of musical ground and was never simply anything, but after 1972’s Gumbo, that was his gig—to help the rest of the country understand his hometown. Its history, its reality, and its romance. That role resonated in a way that psychedelic explorer of the alternative spiritual planes didn’t, and it was a role that left him room to grow.

Paul McCartney Still Goes to Work

[Updated] I give Paul McCartney credit. He doesn’t have to try this hard. He’s wealthy in ways few of us can imagine, and he has been knighted. He’s 76 and only Bob Dylan among his contemporaries tours as frequently. McCartney could lay out on the island of his choosing for the rest of his life, but instead he’s on yet another world tour, and flew from Brazil to New Orleans to play the first show of his North American tour Thursday night at the Smoothie King Center. 

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