It was Leo Tolstoy who said “All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town,” and in the case of Andrew Duhon and his latest album Emerald Blue, released today via Vere, both instances are true. Duhon temporarily left New Orleans, his longtime home and musical muse in 2019, finding himself inspired by the landscape of the Pacific Northwest and notably, its colors—a hue he describes as ‘emerald blue’ for which the album is named, the same shade looking back at him in his partner’s eyes. Had he overlooked the specific shade of her eyes while living below sea level? Or did the change of location open his mind more acutely? The record does just that: examine the familiar in the context of the unfamiliar. Emerald Blue is a probing appreciation of the dailiness of life; a note-taking exercise in living.
Duhon channeled his new perspective into an eleven song collection, calling on friends and collaborators including Jano Rix on drums, percussion, and harmonies; Myles Weeks on upright and electric basses and harmonies; and Dan Walker on keys and accordion. Duhon returned South for the recording process, finding comfort and creativity in Maurice, Louisiana’s storied Dockside Studios with GRAMMY-award winning engineer and longtime collaborator of Andrew’s, Trina Shoemaker, to capture every inch of vibe and beauty and texture each song had to offer. Click here to purchase and to stream Emerald Blue.
More About Emerald Blue: The tracks on Emerald Blue show serious time spent in listening mode—both to himself, and to the world around him. From the rich Americana twang and propulsive, clacking percussion of “Promised Land” to the vintage rhythm-and-blues grooves of “Digging Deep Down,” Duhon meditates on what it means to be present and true, whether that’s to yourself and your ambition (“Down From The Mountain” and “As Good As It Gets”) to a lover (“Southpaw” and “Plans”) or to a wider world whose fraught and violent track record demands meaningful acknowledgment, reckoning, and change. The meditative “Everybody Colored Their Own Jesus,” is an appreciation of some basic wisdom from his church-school days: that faith, respect, and love are boundless and have no particular colors, traits, or rules. These are songs that come from a very particular time and place, when so many of us—often alone with our flaws and feelings, with few of our regular, dependable distractions—were forced to face hard truths. And yet, using the time-tested language of folk, of the blues, storytelling and soul-searching, voice and keys and strings, Andrew Duhon proves himself worthy of heroes like John Prine—who makes a fantasy cameo in “As Good As It Gets,” the album’s closer—by similarly crafting four-minute worlds in song, that feel purely timeless, as old or as young as the chronic condition of stumbling across Earth with a human heart.
That’s true as well of less weighty songs, like the ambling, satisfied title track—or the aforementioned slide-blues love-song romp, “Castle on Irish Bayou,” an ode to a delightfully weird piece of architecture that’ll be warmly familiar to anyone who ever drove East toward the deep blue expanse of Lake Pontchartrain on Interstate 10 out of New Orleans. Emerald Blue shows us the vast worlds that can be discovered and traveled when we sit still, and the breathtaking vistas on view when we look within—or at the people right beside us.
Catch Andrew Duhon On Tour:
7.29 - Lafayette, LA - Grouse Room
7.30 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
7.31 - Mobile, AL - Callaghan’s
8.01 - Birmingham, AL - Dave’s Pub
8.02 - Decatur, GA - Eddie’s Attic
8.03 - Asheville, NC - The Grey Eagle
8.04 - Greenville, SC - Radio Room
8.05 - Charlotte, NC - The Evening Muse
8.07 - Raleigh, NC - Pour House Music Hall
8.10 - Port Townsend, WA - Wheeler Theater
8.11 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern
8.12 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir
8.13 - Kingston, WA - Concerts in the Barn
8.14 - Nine Mile Falls, WA - Live at Andre's
8.17 - New York, NY - Cafe Wha?
8.18 - Wayne, PA - 118 North
8.19 - Syracuse, NY - 443 Social Club
8.20 - South Lincoln, VT - Private Party
8.21 - Exeter, NH - The Word Barn
8.24 - Vienna, VA - Jammin Java
8.25 - Thomas, WV - Purple Fiddle
9.23 - Red River, NM - Red River Folk Fest
10.18 - Venice, CA - Venice West
10.20 - Mill Valley, CA - Sweetwater Music Hall
10/28 - Santa Barbara, CA - Lobero Theatre
For all upcoming tour dates and ticket information, please click here.