For our first mixtape, we felt it appropriate to have a theme. A tribute to a city that has become so near and dear to our hearts. New Orleans. It’s hard not to fall in love with New Orleans. A city so rich in culture and pride. A city with such a palpable passion for music, I would put the NOLA local musicians up against any other in the nation, even NYC, Nashville, Austin, or LA. You don’t see the trendy rockers from Hollywood or Brooklyn parading through the streets with their instruments. The country boys from Nashville and Austin don’t have the angst and anguish of generations of ancestors having to rebuild a city over and over again oozing out of every note. Disaster, crime, love, passion, family, community, pride, celebration – all very present themes in NOLA music.
If you only listen to one track in this playlist, it should be the first – Knock With Me – Rock With Me by Lil’ Rascals Brass Band featuring Glen David Andrews on vocals. Where do I start with this song? This may be the finest embodiment of NOLA street music in the past 20 years. The first few bars do all but force you to start grooving and feeling good with the dirty up beat horn melody and swinging drums. But not only is it a great song, but it touches on so many of the subjects that are so present in the lives of the locals – crime, violence, drug use, the brass band communities, and staying positive when everything else is dragging you down. Despite some of these, this song has a very uplifting and positive feel. I can’t even begin to count how many times we heard this song played during Mardi Gras. Another important piece of this song is the aforementioned Glen David Andrews. In our few trips to NOLA, Glen has become one of my favorite NOLA local artists. Granted he has seen his fair share of ups and downs in life and his career, but damn does he know how to bring energy to a show. He also comes from an interesting family of musicians with relatives such as the Neville Brothers and Trombone Shorty.
The rest of the playlist consists of some classics as well as what I hope will be some welcome surprises. Of course you’ll here tunes from Dr. John and Allen Toussaint who are NOLA staples in history and genre, but you’ll also here from bands like Royal Teeth and Soul Project NOLA who are the modern stewards of the scene. We’ve also included tunes from other artists like Brandi Carlile and Patrick Sweany who may not have a direct tie to NOLA other than our personal experiences and feeling that they just fit in.
So there you have it – our first mixtape of many. I hope this helps you learn about the culture, and also conveys the feelings we had while in that great city. I’m not sure if our next mixtapes will be themed or not, but NOLA deserved one for itself