Honey Island Swamp Band Great music begins with great songs, and great songs are what the Honey Island Swamp Band is all about. The band came together after Aaron Wilkinson and Chris Mule were marooned in San Francisco following Hurricane Katrina, and had a chance encounter with fellow New Orleans evacuees Sam Price and Garland Paul at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room. They knew each other from having played together in some form or another in various bands, they decided to put together a band. Fortunately, the Boom Boom Room’s owner offered the band a weekly gig on the spot.

Two months into the residency, sound engineer Robert Gatley approached the band with a rare opportunity —to record a Honey Island Swamp Band album at the legendary Record Plant studios in Sausalito. The 7-song eponymous debut “Honey Island Swamp Band” came together beautifully, and was so well received that they all decided to continue the band upon moving back to New Orleans in 2007.

Honey Island Swamp Band‘s music has been described as “Bayou Americana” with timeless songs from Wilkinson & Mulé, anchored by the powerful groove of Price & Paul’s Louisiana stomp rhythm section. The addition of Trevor Brooks on Hammond B-3 organ to the HISB family in 2010 has rounded out the band’s sound, which draws from a variety of influences in the world of roots music, including artists such as Lowell George & Little Feat, Taj Mahal, Johnny Cash, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and New Orleans’ own Dr. John.

This summer, the band prepared for their first nationally-distributed studio recording, Cane Sugar, on Louisiana Red Hot Records  Produced by Grammy-winning producer John Porter, the 12 new songs illuminate the mix of country-inflected rock, New Orleans funky blues and infectious songwriting that makes Honey Island Swamp Band‘s music so familiar yet unique at the same time.  

Back to top

Colin Lake Band Part songwriter, part blues singer, part slide guitar phenom, Colin Lake is paving a musical road all his own. The Pacific Northwest native came to New Orleans in 2009 and it wasn't long before his powerful voice could be heard regularly at venues throughout the city and over the airwaves of WWOZ fm. Marked by soulful, pleading vocals, Lake's music incorporates elements of soul, rock and folk to create a sound and feel that is strongly original and disarmingly familiar.

Shows with his band have become known as high-energy, gospel-infused house-rockers, while Lake's poignant solo performances can silence audiences of any size. In 2011 Lake recorded and released the album "The Ones I Love", which was soon named one of the top ten local releases of the year by Keith Spera of the New Orleans Times Picayune. As his reputation for authentic, down-home presentation continues to grow, Lake can be found on a variety of stages performing for captivated audiences and alongside some of the biggest names in New Orleans music.

Back to top

The Soul Rebels  When eight piece New Orleans band, THE SOUL REBELS, released their debut album ‘Unlock Your Mind’ in 2012, the album immediately charted Top 10 on CMJ radio on their Hip Hop, Triple A, and Jazz ‘Most Added’ charts.

Also that year, The Soul Rebels went on tour with Galactic on their 2012 national tour.  and performed on TBS’s Conan show with Galactic.  The band was selected by PASTE Magazine as a Top 10 Moment Of Bonnaroo and performed at Brad Pitt’s Make It Right gala concert with featuring Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, and Seal.

This year, The Soul Rebels are riding high after three sold out nights at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl, blowout showcases at SXSW and a nationally televised appearance as the House Band for the 2013 NFL Honors Awards Show on CBS Superbowl Weekend. 

Back to top

Mia Borders With her endlessly soulful voice, richly emotional songwriting, and undeniable style, Mia Borders embodies the spirit of her hometown, New Orleans, Louisiana. She is heralded locally and nationally as one of New Orleans’ best talents. The Times-Picayune described her as “confident and cool,” while USA Today characterized both Borders and her music as “deeply funky.”

Borders has released music every year since entering the professional music scene in 2006. Her impressive catalogue features two EPs, five LPs, and one live album. Her newest release, 2013’s “Quarter-Life Crisis” was recorded at Dockside Studio in Maurice, LA. Engineered by Warren Riker and produced by Anders Osborne, the album showcases Borders’ edgier side in a collection of her most personal songs to date.

In support of “Quarter-Life Crisis” and her previous releases, Borders tours the country, while remaining based in New Orleans. She performs at clubs and festivals around the country, most notably: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Essence Festival, Santa Cruz Blues Fest, Chattanooga’s Night Fall, Memphis’ Levitt Shell, Wakarusa, Long’s Park Amphitheater, and The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. With further touring ahead and more new music expected in 2014, Mia Borders shows no signs of slowing down.

Back to top

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue Rare indeed is the artist with the virtuosity to draw the respect of some of the most iconic legends in jazz and the ability to deliver a high-energy funk rock show that mesmerizes international rock stars. Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews is one such artist. Trombone Shorty is equally adept on trombone and trumpet and is a man to be reckoned with on both.

A product of New Orleans' culturally rich Treme neighborhood, Trombone Shorty was a bandleader by the age of six. Since then, he has grown into a performer who commands the stage while emanating an elegance and class gleaned from his successful studies at the prestigious New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts.  As a graduate, he joined the ranks of alums like Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., and Nicholas Payton.

New Orleans' premier music magazine, Offbeat, has awarded Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue Best R&B/Funk Band for two years in a row, while  Trombone Shorty himself picked up an award for Best Trumpet and has been named Performer of The Year twice. His success - and his promise - has been recognized by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on one of the Fest's two annual official posters. 

The seeds for Orleans Avenue were sown at New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, and the group has since evolved into a six-piece touring phenomenon.  With Mike Ballard on bass, Pete Murano on guitar, Joey Peebles on drums, Dwayne Williams on percussion and Dan Oestreicher on baritone sax, their performances transcend the boundaries of generation and classification. Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue have been drawing ever-growing crowds based largely on word of mouth excitement about their knockout shows, night after night. Making the most of limited time off, they are currently recording new songs that capture the band's rare combination of virtuosity and high-energy party intensity - the next accomplishment to watch for in the career of this unparalleled young artist.

Back to top

New Breed Brass Band New Breed Brass Band is a new generation brass band that was founded in New Orleans, La in 2013 by five young men who have a passion for music and wanted to bring something different to the table. The members of New Breed Brass Band were all born and raised in New Orleans, LA. Many of them began playing as a young child. These young men were inspired growing up by family and friends amongst them. They came together and began playing traditional New Orleans brass band music and second line music professionally. Their music is utterly uplifting and hard core leaving fans with countless of key sounds and songs to enjoy. They plan on continuing the tradition of brass bands while at the same time incorporating modern music into their show. After parading around the streets of New Orleans in the traditions of the second line and jazz funerals, and performing at many events around the city of New Orleans, the New Breed Brass Band are destined for success.

Back to top

Irma Thomas and The Professionals Known for her 1960’s hits such as “Time is On My Side,” “It’s Raining,” and “Wish Someone Would Care,” Irma Thomas has won Grammy nominations for her live album, Simply the Best!, and her collaboration with Marcia Ball and Tracy Nelson, Sing It!  Over the years, Thomas became a beloved favorite at the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

With her home, her nightclub and other properties flooded and the mementos, photos and awards from her 40-year career lost, Thomas still managed to find more than a few bright spots in her post-Katrina life.  She appeared on the Big Easy Benefit Concert at Madison Square Garden following Hurricane Katrina; on Jools Holland’s BBC New Year’s Eve telecast; at Switzerland’s prestigious Davos Festival; and on the NBC’s Today show.

Thomas returned to the studio just before her 65th birthday to record After the Rain, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of her collaboration with producer Scott Billington.  Perhaps what is most impressive about this album is that Irma Thomas is now at the very peak of her powers, delivering every song with resonating feeling, honesty and her amazing voice.  You don’t need a hurricane to remind you that she is one cultural icon who is sounding better than ever.

Back to top

Khris Royal Khris Royal was born to be a musician. This young and exceptional New Orleans native began playing the saxophone at seven years old, and producing and writing music at fourteen. Royal's musical talents were nurtured at New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA), in classrooms once shared by jazz greats such as Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Terrence Blanchard, and Donald Harrison. When Royal was only 16, he was granted a full scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and his career has taken off since then.

To date, Royal has played with hip-hop giants and jazz and funk legends alike, from Lettuce, to Ellis Marsalis, Christian Scott, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis, Tony Clifton, and The Sam Kininger Band. The impressive young artist has recorded with Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Goapele, D.J. Quick, and is also featured with the Regiment on Season 2 of The Boondocks. Although Royal continues to expand and develop his craft, from Jazz, hip-hop, rock, soul, electronic, funk, R & B, Blues, and Ska--musically, there is not much Khris Royal has not already mastered and incorporated into his unique style.

This summer, Royal has been on tour with the popular West Coast rock/reggae band, Rebelution, who have been headlining their own national tour on the club and summer festival circuit, as well as providing support for international acts like Steel Pulse.

Back to top

Dragon Smoke Dragon Smoke is a band that formed as part of the New Orleans Jazz Fest tradition known as the “Superjam”. The “Superjam” idea is to put together a band of people who don’t normally play together and see what happens. With the dual vocals of Neville and Lindell, matched with the Galactic rhythm section, the band quickly realized, “We are on to something” and has played every Jazz Fest since its inception in 2003. This inception took place at the famed Dragon’s Den, hence the name of the band. 

Dragon Smoke’s music centers around Lindell’s blue eyed soul, Neville’s funk and R&B, and Galactic’s groove. With everyone in the band being a leader on their own, it is rare to get this band together. But when they do, it shows that these guys are really having FUN! From the interplay between the members, you would think that Dragon Smoke has been playing shows together forever. 

Looking towards the future, Dragon Smoke plans to write and record an album and to tour more outside of New Orleans and the Bay Area. So be on the lookout for the Smoke—IF YOU SEE SMOKE, YOU KNOW YOU WILL SEE FIRE!

Back to top

Pigeon Town Named for a little piece of New Orleans that sits right on the river near the parish line, Pigeon Town makes working–class American music that’s both familiar and unique, like the neighborhood it calls home. The band formed in 2009 as a collaboration of veteran New Orleans musicians with a common love for graceful guitar work, off-kilter rhythms and soulful songwriting. Guitar players Jason Scott and Skeet Stiller (Steve Rucker Band), drummer Paul Santopadre (Deltabilly Boys) and bassist Tommy Stevenson soon began performing original music together, creating a sound that recalls the slide guitar-driven rock and funky, bayou-boogie style of bands like The Radiators, Ry Cooder and the North Mississippi All Stars. Mike Wadsworth joined up on keys and played on the band's first studio album "No Better," released in 2012.

The band’s wide range of influences shows up in its energetic live sets and diverse song selections, which span from classic gospel covers to groove-heavy funk to crashing rock-and-roll. It’s a soundtrack for people who are searching for good times and putting up with bad ones, celebrating the simple struggles and triumphs of honest people living everyday lives.

Back to top

The Revivalists The formation of The Revivalists was all about chance, but everything since then has been a combination of hard work, awesome music, and friendship.  The septet has been playing nonstop since 2007, crafting a genre-hopping sound that rounds out traditional rock instrumentation with horns and pedal steel guitar and mixes the divergent backgrounds of its individual members with the humid, funky undercurrents of the band’s New Orleans home.  The result is like English spoken with an exotic accent: familiar, yet difficult to pin down.

The band has a knack for bringing music to life on a stage, and they have tuned their talents to Swiss-watch precision over years of relentless touring. Their bombastic showmanship is the outgrowth of a desire to connect with audiences on a personal level, and that intimate connection is what elevates their shows above simple entertainment.

True to their name, The Revivalists lean more heavily on the older styles and warmer sounds of the golden age of rock ‘n roll, but the band isn’t afraid to dabble in electronics and sleight-of-studio when it’s right for the song.  The group tends not to bother with questions like “does this sound like us?” or “does this fit with our other stuff?”, instead allowing songs to define themselves and take shape organically, each on its own terms.

To The Revivalists, it doesn’t matter.  They just write songs that they want to play.

Back to top

Papa Mali Papa Mali, born Malcolm Helm Welbourne in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1957, has been a touring musician and recording artist for decades. Yet, he is probably best known as the front man for 7 Walkers, a band formed in 2009 that includes three musical icons: Grateful Dead founding member and drummer Bill Kreutzmann, The Meters’ founding bassist, George Porter Jr. and lyricist Robert Hunter, who penned most of the Grateful Dead’s classic catalog (along with the late Jerry Garcia) and now co-writes much of 7 Walkers material with Welbourne. Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and Willie Nelson collaborator, Matt Hubbard completes the lineup. Their self-titled debut was released to critical acclaim in November of 2010.

When not on tour with 7 Walkers, Papa Mali can usually be found at home in New Orleans, where he regularly performs with his own band, Double Uptown Shotgun – often at his favorite neighborhood watering hole, The Maple Leaf Bar or at nearby Tipitina’s.

Papa knows how far he has come since those early days, and considers himself blessed. Or as he puts it himself: “I am constantly amazed that I get to do what I do. I am astounded that my lifelong dream – to write and play music and travel the globe and make recordings that I can be proud of – has become a reality. Why me? I have no idea, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not humbled and thankful and inspired to keep going.”

Back to top

Voices of the Wetlands with special guest Anders Osborne Louisiana’s #1 roots music export and Grammy Nominee Tab Benoit assembled a stellar ensemble of fellow New Orleans musicians (including N.O. Legends, The Meters and Neville Brothers, Cyril Neville, fiddler Waylon Thibodeaux, influential New Orleans drummer Johnny Vidacovich, harmonica/accordion player Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone, and New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux)  to forge a musical plea for the fragile eco-system that is the increasingly depleted wetlands surrounding their hometown.

In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, the chorus of the group’s otherwise savory, funk-charged opening song "Bayou Breeze"--"Don't let the water wash us away"--now seems like a haunting, unheeded warning recorded eight months before disaster struck.  As well as songs like "Louisiana Sunshine" that continue to focus largely on environmental concerns that grow more urgent with every tropical storm that gathers in the Gulf, it's also a show that is rife with New Orleans' cross-cultural musical joie de vivre, as witnessed by Benoit and Osborne's Cajun-seasoned "We Make a Good Gumbo" and the slinky African rhythms of Monk Boudreaux's "Me Donkey Want Water."  The band’s music sounds like Louisiana Rock, Funk, Soul, and Cajun classics that have risen from years of music history and the environment that the music comes from.

The Voice of the Wetlands All-stars has appeared at both the Democratic and Republican Conventions and appears annually at the Voice of the Wetlands Festival in Houma, Louisiana.  If there is one group that encapsulates the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, it is the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, an improbable cooperative with a cause.

Back to top

Rich Collins Washington, D.C.-raised and New Orleans-based songwriter Rich Collins specializes in straightforward three-chord rock that's inspired by a decades-long love affair with radio across all genres. His new album "That Escalated Quickly" is a collection of timeless, unpretentious, honest and irreverent songs about the heartaches and breakthroughs that define everyday lives.

Collins recorded many demos for "That Escalated Quickly" throughout 2012. Then he asked drummer Kyle Melancon (Movers, Dash Rip Rock) and bassist Rene Coman (Iguanas, Alex Chilton) to help record the best of the compositions at the beginning of 2013 at the legendary Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana with Benjamin Mumphrey at the controls. The results of this collaboration are tracks like "Rain" -- a foot-stomping anthem about second chances -- and "Mazes," which channels Jack Johnson while making a plea for never acting your age. The funky, sinewy "Driving" is an Americana ode to the joy of shirking your responsibilities while "All I Need" is a reaction to all the unnecessary clutter - both metaphorical and literal - that fills our lives.

Back to top

Raw Oyster Cult Raw Oyster Cult is a band comprised of 5 well-known New Orleans musicians. Dave Malone (guitar+vocals), Camile Baudoin (guitar) and Frank Bua,Jr (drums) are from the legendary band, The Radiators, who decided to hang it up after 33+ years with all its' original members. John Gros (keyboards+vocals) is the leader of Papa Grows Funk, who also decided to call it a day. Dave Pomerleau (bass +vocals) has been with Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes from their start and juggles his schedule to play in both bands.

Raw Oyster Cult was put together by Dave Malone to provide an outlet to continue performing classic Rads tunes that so many fans miss hearing. They also plan to write new originals, put a different spin on favorite older songs and hopefully work up brand new tunes written or co-written by Ed Volker, the Rads prolific songwriter.

Malone says, "It's great rethinking Rads songs, tweaking arrangements and even adding vocal harmonies....something the Rads were not really known for. We're all really enjoying playing together and can't wait to see what new tunes emerge. One thing is for sure: a Raw Oyster Cult show will be big time fun and filled with joyful noise!"

Back to top

Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes rocks the house all the time every time! This classically trained New Orleans-based band delivers a smorgasbord of musical genres every time they hit the stage. JSDN defy easy categorization, their irreverent funk is cut with rock riffs, a Gypsy/Klezmer flare, a Latin tinge courtesy of a hard hitting horn section, and a sense of humor.

Formed in 2001, JSDN is a collection of carefully crafted alter egos, mystical musicians hesitant to share their personal selves but collectively ready to funk beyond the call of duty. The ensemble features Johnny Sketch (Marc Paradis) on guitar, electric cello, and lead vocals; Busta Gnutt (Dave Pomerleau) on bass and backing vocals; Dirty Johnny (Andre Bohren) on drums and backing vocals; and Johnny Rico (Omar Ramirez) on trumpet and flugelhorn: Johnny Come Lately (Brad Walker) on Saxophones.

May 2013 marked the band’s 10th consecutive New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival appearance and release of their highly anticipated 6th album. With a live show that is as carefully crafted as their musical arrangements, JSDN want the audience to have FUN!

Back to top

Presented By