Last night I attended a live musical event which was much different than the concerts that I am used to. I went to my second live broadcasting of the national radio show called etown.
The first etown that I went to I had the pleasure of seeing the young and flourishing southern blues slide guitarist Derek Trucks. That show was great, but the New Orleans magic of Dr. John captivated all of my attention last night. Dr. John is known for the embodiment of the deep culture and heritage of New Orleans, which pours out of his fingers and voice like no other living musician. His music career started in the 1950's when he played guitar with some of the most famous musicians of his time: Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Joe Tex, Snooks Eglin. Throughout the interview he talked about reuniting with Snooks, who currently plays weekly at a bowling alley in New Orleans called the Rock n' Bowl, which is a must see for Jazz Fest goers. He went on to describe the neighborhood he grew up in, and the racial issues which both plagued and enhanced the jazz musical "gumbo" of the time. His life is an interesting one, full of history and voodoo enchantment. He discussed the alure of voodoo and made it sound commonplace to the audience by comparing it to superstitions. Finally, it was time for him tickle the ivories. I was most impressed by how amazing his voice still sounds.
He played about four beautiful songs before he shared the stage with up and coming singer Billy Miles. She is described as an "organic fusion of musical sensibilities that happily pays no heed to any clear-cut stylistic genre boundaries. Her voice was soulful, but I found myself constantly craving more Dr. John. When he finally came on stage again to play the crowd showed their appreciation with a huge round of applause. He played four more songs and then did an encore with Billy Miles and some of etown players. It was a rare and special occasion to see Dr. John on stage alone with only his piano, and I highly recommend seeing him at any of his future shows listed below. Unfortunately, I do not have a setlist from the show, but expect to see them in the future. Stay tuned for a review of String Cheese Incident with Perry Farrell (former leader of Jane's Addiction) tomorrow night at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver. Dr. John proudly stands along side of Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino as one of New Orleans' all-time distinctive voices. Not only is the Good Doctor's dry, gravel cackle one of the most infectious sounds in both jazz and popular music, but he is universally celebrated as the living embodiment of the rich musical heritage exclusive to the Crescent City.