Sounds of NOLA with Alex

New Wave hits from the ‘80s turned into reggae songs, that’s Jamaican Me Breakfast Club (photo courtesy of: Louisiana Music Factory)

 

Ogden Museum of Southern Art 

Jamaican Me Breakfast Club 

Thursday, April 5 at 6:00pm

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if you took the New Wave hits from the ‘80s and turned them into reggae songs? I know the answer is yes, but I thought I’d ask anyway. Thanks to the Jamaican Me Breakfast Club, your prayers have been answered.

The New Orleans brewed band has done exactly that. The group is full of New Orleans’s best and most creative, including members from Tank and the Bangas, Trumpet Mafia, the Revealers and the Ellis Marsalis Quartet. Together they produce a classic, upbeat reggae sound that may make even Jimmy Cliff jealous.

The group burst onto the local scene in the fall of 2016 after their debut at Tipitina’s. A year later they came out with their first album Pop Rock Steady, consisting of sixteen New wave hits. They’ve got all the makings of that smooth, classic reggae sound: the bass guitar, the reggae guitar, bongos, and the clavinet. Their harmonies are so seamless it would lead you to believe that this cast of characters has been playing together forever. The idea is wonderful, but it would fall flat on its face if not for the perfect execution that this group brings every time. It’s just awesome. Even the way their album cover is designed to be a take on the Jamaican beer, Red Stripe, is wonderfully executed. I’m trying to think of a reason why you shouldn’t go see them this evening at Ogden After Hours and I can’t.

 

Listen to any song on their album Pop Rock Steady:

 

https://open.spotify.com/album/4oU9vNEaqTeofwSncVW76s?si=YbIu166YRAaf-ynDPr7oPQ

        

Tipitina’s

Nigel Hall

Friday, April 6 at 10:00pm

Nigel Hall created his band, The Nth Power, at 3:00 AM one night in 2012 after his performance at Jazz Fest. Soon thereafter he moved to New Orleans to embark on his musical journey. Hall says that moving to New Orleans was, “The best decision I ever made for myself in my life and musically.” It’s hard to argue with that.

Since then, he has built himself up on a foundation of funk. He got his feet wet in R&B with The Nth Power but ultimately left the band in March 2015 to work on a solo record. Ladies & Gentleman…Nigel Hall, Hall’s debut solo album, puts his skills as a creator, pianist, and lead vocalist on full display. The top hit from this album, titled “Don’t Change for Me,” is a prime example of this:

https://open.spotify.com/track/6UzjPRT5j0abnEukKnxFVG?si=uDCphQWhSHKWYGJPn502Og

As a result of Hall’s sound and musical flavor, he caught the attention of big-time funk band Lettuce. What ensued was a collaboration for the ages. Hall’s voice and flare mixed with the instrumental array of Lettuce hit you in all the right places. Maybe that’s why he became a touring member of the group soon after they began performing together. So much about them is reminiscent of the best and funkiest to ever do it: Earth, Wind, & Fire, Ohio Players, Tower of Power…the list is long. The signature horns and the saxophone are out in full force. When you add that to the muscularity of the base and Hall’s vocals, you’ve got a combination that’s hard to beat.

Santos Bar 

Michigan Rattlers 

Saturday, April 7 at 9:00pm

The first thing that comes to mind after listening to the Michigan Rattlers is where can I get more? Unfortunately, there’s not more to listen to right now. With just eight songs released over the last two years, the duo has executed a perfect cliffhanger. In September 2016, Rolling Stone magazine listed them third in their “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know.” While I would technically consider them Americana, (a combination of country, folk, rock, and R&B), it really doesn’t matter what label you want to put on these two.

Graham Young and Adam Reed can flat out play. Rolling Stone compares them to mainstream successes such as Ryan Adams and Wilco. Say what you will but I like these guys better. Frankly, I enjoy everything about them. I like their mustaches, the way that Reed slaps his bass, each different story that Adams’ lyrics tell, and their flawless melodies. The sound that these two are able to create using only a classic guitar and upright bass is remarkable. When I initially listened to their song “Last Week” I thought they had an entire band of people playing with them.

 

https://open.spotify.com/track/2hDneO6d712sv4h4rPrlwp?si=WJoCol1iRviCtDUK_7kKJA

I can’t wait to hear what these guys come out with next. They’re easily in my top five for bands I’ve discovered thus far. For now, you’ll just have to go check them out at Santos Bar this Saturday night.

Here’s a live rendition of my favorite song “Illinois Sky”:

https://open.spotify.com/track/08Up15ZJGckrOrhWDp32yp?si=GJy25OCfQ1GotA_BNXbK4A

 

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