This week I tuned up the vocal cords and played at being a co-host of the It’s New Orleans podcast with my ole buddy, Grant Morris, formerly of The Zephyr radio, and the event really brought home to me the amazing variety of New Orleans’ music culture, a major subject at Rick Olivier Photography. We all met up at The Columns Hotel, sat down, ordered a round of drinks, and just began to talk. Grant, in addition to having one of those perfect ‘pear shaped’ radio voices, also has a great laid back style of questioning that reveals his curiosity of others’ lives.
First up was New Orleans’ own DJ Bomshell, one of the city’s hottest club & hip hop deejay’s. Bomshell spoke eloquently about how she defied the intense misogyny of local hip hop promoters by asserting her forceful personality and mad turntable skills. Six years shedding in her room with the 1200’s have left her with an uncanny mastery of skratching, cutting, and beat-matching.
She carefully explained the origins of New Orleans Bounce to us, another real eye opener, and spoke fondly about her best friends in the “sissy bounce” movement. Here’s a successful, confident young New Orleans woman who has mapped out her own territory in the tough male-dominated world of hip hop. And she has amazing dimples!
The featured musical performers for the show were Alexis Marceaux and Sam Craft. Alexis is a classically-trained vocalist who describes her music as “a collision of eclectic acoustic alternative and mellow intoxication” and when she and Sam played a song from her new CD, “Orange”, I felt like everyone in the room must have had goosebumps like I did. In the space of five minutes they were able to transport us all to a wondrous place through harmony and songcraft. They also have another band, Glasgow, who are hard at work on a rock opera called “1986” that creatively mines the story of Christ’s birth and mixes metaphors that are arresting, funny, and visionary.
Then Grant and I struck up a conversation about my current musical outfit, Creole String Beans. Grant put me on the spot when he asked what my “favorite New Orleans song” was and I think I must have stumbled a bit and said something about “anything written by Allen Toussaint and sung by Ernie K-Doe”. Before I knew what was happening I was halfway into K-Doe’s spectacular “Here Come The Girls”, a mainstay of String Beans’ sets for the past year or so. I combined an intense need to stop playing with the fact that I couldn’t remember the second verse and, whew! I was done.
The whole show was a great example of the variety of music to be found here. Thanks to the whole It’s New Orleans crew for making it possible.