Cris: Once you were in the band, what surprised you about it?
Brian Broussard of clients Cowboy Mouth: I always thought Cowboy Mouth was a great band. But honestly, I never understood the energy that is projected from the band. I was always watching from a far. Now that I am in the band, I completely get it. I look out in the crowd and they are feeding off of us. And I am feeding off of them. And we all become one during the show. It is the most positive, uplifting thing I have ever done in my life.
"I used to walk down the street when I first started playing, and I was humming, kind of humming little riffs. And I thought, man, if I could play that it would be very cool. To play what I'm humming. So instead of copying stuff off records, I would sing or hum into a boom box and then I would copy myself humming on the harmonica on the playback.
"That really made it a lot easier for me to be myself. My influences are always going to be obvious. I always wanted to have the musical command of Little Walter, but in my own way. And that was one way that I got that going." - Kim Wilson of clients The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Check out the new video by client John Papa Gros. “Cocaine and Chicken Fricassee” collects narratives from Papa Grows Funk’s long-running Monday night residency at the Maple Leaf. John offers that the song is “13 years of Monday nights rolled into one song; the good, the bad, the ugly.”
"I grew up playing rock and roll, but my path took me into this world of jazz and swing and rockabilly and all of these classic American styles. What I realized is that, essentially, all of these styles in their day were rock and roll. They were rebellious, young guys playing too loud and pissing off their parents. And that is one of the threads of all of these styles that I try to share with everybody. Even if you are a heavy metal guy or a punk guy, you have a lot more in common with these older styles than you think." - client Daniel Glass
Cris: What do you do with the songs that don’t make the grade, that you worked on but did not release? Do you go back to them?
Huey Lewis of clients Huey Lewis & The News: Well, you try. You imagine you are going to use parts of the song. Trouble is, sometimes you poison them. You write them up and they are not very good. Chris Hayes and I wrote a song called “Sow A Little Kindness” that I thought was the best song we have ever written. And I still do in a way. But we have never been able to capture it. We tried 3 or 4 different times and it just doesn’t work. Sometimes you don’t know why it doesn’t work. It could be your voice or you're not suited for the song. Maybe I am the wrong singer for a song. Maybe it is a song for a different singer. It is complicated. Chris and I have written a couple of songs like that and it just doesn’t make the grade for some reason. And yet, they are among my favorite stuff. You never know.
Cris: You had an intense education, studying jazz and odd time signatures. And now you play more rock and pop. How has your education benefitted what you do now?
Chris Kimmerer (drummer for Thomas Rhett): I do think that all of those years of studying and playing in small jazz combos, playing in big bands, and learning about Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms -- all of that stuff that was a large part of my formative playing years -- I think it really adds a lot of depth for what it is for me to sit and play backbeats now. To do what I am doing now, I really think from the years of playing and exploring dynamics, phrasing, and subtlety of nuance, I think it gives depth to how I can treat a backbeat kind of gig. And I still feel that that rings true even though that was 10 years ago.
"This is what's important about New Orleans music: It's always important. It's always relevant. No matter what age group. Today's kids are still going to Mardi Gras parades and hearing second line rhythms and songs like “Hey Pocky Way” in the streets. It is a part of our upbringing. That's how I grew up. That's how my mom and dad grew up. That's how I raised my kids. It's one of the ways our culture renews itself every year." - client John Papa Gros