Los Lonely Boys
Since their worldwide breakout two years ago, Texican trio Los Lonely Boys—brothers Henry, JoJo and Ringo Garza have achieved multi-platinum album sales, a Grammy Award (their monster hit ‘Heaven’ won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group in 2005), and widespread acclaim from critics, fans and other musicians. All those experiences and more inform their commanding, propulsive new album, Sacred.
As a producer, bandleader, arranger, songwriter, session musician and all-around musical eminence, Allen Toussaint has left his stamp on New Orleans’ contemporary R&B scene. Many listeners heard New Orleans-style piano for the first time thanks to Toussaint’s playing on Ernie K-Doe’s #1 hit, “Mother-in-Law”, while “Fortune Teller,” written pseudonymously by Toussaint, became a virtual standard among British Invasion bands like the Rolling Stones and the Who. Last year Toussaint released The River in Reverse, an acclaimed collaboration with Elvis Costello.
A formidable boogie and blues pianist with a lovable growl of a voice, Dr. John is a New Orleans maverick who has come with his own brand of what he calls “voodoo” music while also playing purely traditional forms of blues and R&B. Gris-Gris, his 1968 debut, is a mix of New Orleans R&B with a tinge of psychedelia, and is considered a classic.
One of the blues world’s greatest treasures, James Cotton boasts a storied career dating back to the 1940s. Cotton has assumed legendary status over the years, playing with Muddy Waters and other greats before striking out on his own and becoming a leader of the blues-rock movement in the ’60s that saw him share stages with the Grateful Dead, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Janis Joplin. In the ’70s and ’80s, Cotton’s accomplishments were recognized with Grammy nominations and finally, in 1996, an award for his Verve release, Deep in the Blues.
“James is one of the best voices, and best kept secrets, in British R ‘n’ B and Soul. Check him out.” So says legend Van Morrison of James Hunter. People Gonna Talk, Hunter’s Grammy-nominated 2005 record, features a wonderfully rich, classic soul sound and a musical style harkening back to classic ’50s and early ’60s R&B. Hunter’s voice is smooth and brilliantly controlled, recalling great soul singers like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding.
Garrison Keillor, of the Prairie Home Companion, has called BeauSoleil the “World’s Greatest Cajun Band” – and for good reason. For 30 years BeauSoleil and Michael Doucet have been keeping traditional music alive in Louisiana. After studying with the Cajun and Creole fiddlers on the bayou, Doucet, determined to keep their styles alive, formed the trailblazing band. The result is a spicy jambalaya of flat-picked guitar solos, fiery fiddle, accordion duels, and funky interlocked percussion workouts.
One of the premier deep soul and gospel singers working today, Otis Clay began his career singing gospel with groups before launching his career as a soul singer with his first recordings made in the mid-60s. The intensity and passion of his live shows are captured on albums like Soul Man: Live in Japan and Respect Yourself. His raw, fiery vocals drive an energetic and danceable blend of soul, R & B and blues in the tradition of such deep soul singers as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Solomon Burke.
The Mud Bay Blues Band
For three decades the Mud Bay Blues Band has been electrifying audiences with its exhilarating brand of hard-edged rhythm and blues. Enduring more than their share of troubles and tribulations along the way, these soul survivors have earned a well-deserved reputation as “The Band That Won’t Go Away”-much to the delight of their legions of devoted fans.