Travers Geoffray Disbands Mississippi Rail Co., Makes Solo Debut at Jazz Fest

Mississippi Rail Company took a game stab at classic New Orleans R&B along with a number of related southern, piano-driven R&B styles. The band got warm but never hot, so when I received an email announcing a new album by Travers Geoffray, the leader of Mississippi Rail Company, I wasn’t surprised.

Allen Toussaint Plays His Final Songs

When Allen Toussaint’s The Bright Mississippi was released in 2009, the admiration for it came with an undercurrent of suspicion. How could Joe Henry, a musician not from New Orleans, really represent a musician so quintessentially New Orleans? And how could someone who wrote, recorded and released so much joyous music come away with something so self-consciously straight-faced? 

Toussaint for Two

New Orleans has lost more than most know in the passing of Allen Toussaint. He passed away in Madrid from a heart attack at the age of 77. We know the hits he wrote and produced, but it was only through talking to George Porter Jr. about working Toussaint-produced sessions and reading Daniel Phillips’ Home of the Groove blog that I appreciated how remarkably productive Toussaint was.

Classified in the Studio

In many music documentaries, live performances grind the narrative to a halt, and as good as the performances may be, they leave viewers with the suspicion that they’re why the movie exists - to show them, and that the whole project is an extended, very public act of fandom. When Lily Keber’s Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker screened at this year’s New Orleans Film Festival, the vibe was far less indulgent. Sequences of Booker in concert were more than See? Look! Wasn’t he great?! moments.

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