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Wednesday February 24
LMC Takes Stance in Support of Low Power Radio
The LMC is working in support of an FCC proposal to increase the number of low power radio stations. The proposal is opposed by powerful Louisiana Congressman Billy Tauzin who Chairs the House Commerce Committee's telecommunications subcommittee. "I believe Louisiana music will benefit greatly from an increase in the number of low power radio stations," said LMC executive director Bernie Cyrus. "Without the many college, high school and independent nonprofit stations around the country, many great Louisiana artists would never get radio airplay. Low power stations are the best available outlet for independent artists to reach the public." The LMC is preparing a letter to Congressman Tauzin.
An organization called the Low Power Radio Coalition is working in Washington DC to lobby in favor of the new proposals. For more information, visit their website. To help, please write to Congressman Billy Tauzin 2183 Rayburn House Building Washington DC 20515. You can also contact him via a service provided by the House of Representatives website called Write a Rep. The FCC is seeking public comment on the proposals and the deadline for submitting letters is April 12. Information is available at this website.
In this era of media consolidation where radio, television and newspapers are all owned by fewer and bigger corporate conglomerates, low power radio is bringing the airwaves back to the public, the rightful owners of public airspace. The LMC urges the Louisiana music industry to learn more about the low power radio proposals and get involved in support of these initiatives. More access to radio means more record sales, more gigs and better exposure for independent Louisiana artists and labels. This is an important fight affecting the future of the Louisiana music industry.
LMNOP will be staging two free workshops this Sunday, February 28 at Carrollton Station 8140 Willow Street in New Orleans. At 1PM a forum called "Doing Business Internationally" will feature producer Kim Fowley whose music history begins with surf music in the late 50s and early 60s, a stint with the original Mothers of Invention, and mega hits by artists ranging from Helen Reddy to Kiss to Joan Jett and the Runaways. Fowley will be joined by Poul Martin Bonde of SONY Music Denmark. At 2PM a Song Lab will be held to work on songwriting skills. Songs will be written on-site and performed at 6PM during a special New Orleans Songwriters Night featuring Kevin Welch and David Olney of Nashville, Poul Krebs of Denmark and Gina Forsyth of New Orleans. There is a $5 cover for the concert. For more information on the upcoming LMNOP music conference which takes place April 25-28 and this workshop, visit the LMNOP website or contact them via email. This event is co-sponsored by the LMC.
Police Harass Jimmy's During Lundi Gras Show
Jimmy Anselmo has operated his club Jimmy's on Willow Street in uptown New Orleans for 21 years. The list of great artists who have performed in his venue is a who's who of the music industry. He is truly an asset to Louisiana's music live music scene. So it is with a heavy heart that we report, once again, (see previous story) that the Quality of Life patrol of the City of New Orleans police department harassed Jimmy on Lundi Gras night, held 350 patrons in the club and arrested a member of the opening act who was then held in jail for 3 days in lieu of a $15,000 bond. The incident in question involved the band's use of Silly String, which the band member, dressed as a clown, fired while holding the can at his crotch area. There was no organ exposed, either fake or real, and the police officer witnessing the so-called incident was standing at the bar, more than 60 feet away from the stage which was shrouded in fog. The two Quality of Life officers present shut the show down, locked the doors and called in reinforcements which resulted in more than a dozen police cars, including state police and K-9 units responding to the nonevent. Anselmo was handcuffed and one of the officers reportedly told him "I'm gonna make you put a 'for sale' sign on this building."
Upon his arraignment, prosecutors dropped the charges against Anselmo, calling them "constitutionally vague." The band member, from Houston, was not so fortunate and we are unsure whether the charges are still pending. We do know that he spent 3 days in jail.
This incident, happening on the one of the busiest days of Mardi Gras festivities, is another questionable action by the NOPD Quality of Life squad. Jimmy's was filled with paying, adult patrons who were acting in an orderly manner, especially considering the relative pandemonium of Mardi Gras on the streets of the French Quarter. We hope that Jimmy will again get an audience with the Mayor and Chief of Police to straighten out this misappropriation of police resources at such a busy time of the year and finally put an end to the continued harassment of this venerable music club and its owner.
We've updated our Studio News page. More and more studios, labels and bands are utilizing our services to help announce upcoming recording sessions and record releases. We are sending out weekly press releases with the information we gather each week to every newspaper in Louisiana and national music industry press. Help us keep our data current and accurate by including the LMC on your promotional mailing and press lists.
A 20% increase in the number of revelers made Mardi Gras in New Orleans the biggest ever. Anecdotal information--and personal observation ;-) of festivities in Cajun country around Lafayette and Eunice indicate that the scale and scope of festivities increased in those areas as well. Perfect weather combined with the federal holiday Monday (President's Day) are credited with the additional numbers. However, we like to think that it's because everyone wanted to party in Louisiana with Louisiana music!
We've updated our Studio & Recording News page.
LAAE Recognition & Fellowship Nominations Deadline March 12
The Louisiana Alliance for Arts Education (LAAE) announced a March 12 deadline for nominations for three important programs, the Kennedy Center/National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute, the Creative Ticket Schools of Excellence Awards and the Arts Ambassadors Awards.
The Kennedy Center/National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute is a fellowship program that will be awarded to a student from Louisiana to attend the institute this summer in Washington DC. This is a 3 week program at the Kennedy Center for serious student instrumentalists and will provide round trip transportation, housing, meals, local transportation, private lessons, master classes, participation in the Music Institute Orchestra, performance opportunities in the DC metro area and more. Eligible students can be from: grades 9 through 12 or college students up to sophomore level and be permanent residents of Louisiana. For more info visit the LAAE website.
The Creative Ticket Schools of Excellence Awards are granted by the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network in recognition of schools that have demonstrated excellence in arts education through themes and strategies promoted in its national grassroots campaign, the Creative Ticket for Student Success. Review criteria can be found on the LAAE website.
The Arts Ambassadors Awards are granted by the LAAE to students who exemplify not only accomplishments in an arts discipline, but also success in other areas of life to which the arts have contributed. Candidates must be currently taking an arts class--music, dance, theater, visual art, literature or creative writing--on a regular basis in school during school hours and maintain a GPA or 3.0 or higher. They must also show a willingness to participate in activities to showcase Arts Ambassadors. See the LAAE website for more details.
If you wish to receive printed information on any of these programs contact JoAnn Eiswirth at 225-216-7929.
HEY, IT'S MARDI GRAS TIME!
UPDATES START AGAIN ON WEDNESDAY
Monday February 8
"Jazz at the Sandbar" Spring Series Announced
The renown "Jazz at the Sandbar" series continues this spring at the University of New Orleans venue that Downbeat magazine called "one of the best places to hear jazz." The series, sponsored by OffBeat, UNO Student Government and New Orleans Jazz Centennial Celebration is done in cooperation with the UNO Jazz Studies program for the benefit of its students. The Spring schedule is as follows:
Feb. 10 Irvin Mayfield
Feb. 24 Lenny McDaniel
Mar. 3 Matt Perrine
Mar. 10 Frank Morgan
Mar. 17 Bill Huntington
Mar. 24 Germaine Bazzle
Apr. 7 Ricky Sebastien
Apr. 14 Nancy King & Steve Christofferson
Apr. 21 Carlos Malta
Apr. 28 Charles Neville & the UNO Big Band
The schedule of artists for the upcoming New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is now available. Check out their site for the all the details.
Ellis Marsalis and Bernie Cyrus have rescheduled their appearance before the Orleans Parish School Board for Monday, February 22. We'll post more details about their presentation soon.
Thursday February 4
Hot on the Charts
Louisiana artists sold lots of records in 1998 according to the January 30 issue of Billboard which lists the Best-Selling Records of 1998. Of course, No Limit Records artists hold the majority of slots with Master P's "Da Last Don" at #29 with 2 million units sold. He's followed by Snoop Dogg's "Da Game is to be Sold, Not to be Told" which chalked up 1.7 million. Silkk the Shocker's "Charge It 2 Da Game" sold 1.4 million (his latest debuted at #1 in this week's Billboard 200 charts) and Master P's "Ghetto D" hit 1.2 million, just above Louisiana country star Tim McGraw's "Everywhere" which sold 1.1 million. In singles sales, No Limit had three songs sell a total of 3.2 million copies! Newcomer Britney Spears, in just a few weeks sold more than 600,000 copies of her still #1 single "...Baby One More Time" which is also one of MTV's Top 5 Most Requested videos. All together, that's 11,200,000 records sold by only 5 artists on 3 labels. We'll be doing more research to determine the overall sales of Louisiana artists and labels and will post the results soon. We estimate that more than 20 million records were sold by the biggest sellers and nearly 30 million records were sold by all Louisiana artists and labels combined in 1998 worldwide.
The January 23 issue of Billboard features two full page ads highlighting Louisiana artists. Britney Spears fills page 2 (the inside cover) with an ad touting her single which has now gone platinum (1 million in sales) and her album which has gone gold in two weeks (500,000 sales). On page 7 is a full page color ad from Giant Records featuring Grammy nominee Kenny Wayne Shepherd whose latest album, "Trouble Is..." was recently certified as platinum.
Louisiana artists currently charting include all the artists mentioned above plus Better Than Ezra, Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Sammy Kershaw, Cash Money artist Juvenile, Mia X, Brooks & Dunn, Lucinda Williams and more. You can't read a major trade magazine without seeing ads, stories and lots of chart positions featuring Louisiana artists!
Former LMC college intern Ashley White is now a local reporter for the MTV website. Look for Ashley's stories in the local section, just select New Orleans from the popup menu on the page and look for her work. Congratulations Ashley, we knew your time spent here would be good for something!
We've again updated our Studio/Recording News page.
Congratulations to former OffBeat writer Scott Jordan who will now be practicing his craft at Gambit Weekly. Scott is a dedicated and knowledgeable writer whose skills will only be expanded by his new job. Best of luck to you, Scott.
We received disturbing news today about the City of New Orleans and the Amusement Tax. It seems that city auditors have told a prominent French Quarter restaurant that they owe an unimaginable amount of money because the restaurant features a piano player and an occasional combo. Though the establishment charges no cover and is known more for the food than the music, they city says they have to pay up. The owner is very upset, he says that he only has music because he loves to expose his diners to great New Orleans musicians and that in reality it is an added expense that he does out of love for the music. If he is unable to resolve this problem, the restaurant will have to close and the owner, a lifelong native, will take his business out of Louisiana all together. Once again, the city is failing to nurture its most valuable resource. We'll keep you updated on this one.
2nd Annual Jazz King Competition Set for Lundi Gras
The 2nd Annual Jazz King Competition is set for Lundi Gras from 3:45 PM to 5:35 PM, just prior to the arrival of Rex. The performances will take place in the plaza at the foot of Canal Street near the Riverwalk and the ferry landing. Sponsors again this year include the Riverwalk Market Place, the Le Meridien Hotel and NoiseLab Recording Studio. The competitors are selected from participants in the Le Meridien Jazz King auditions which have taken place every Thursday at the Canal Street hotel's noted jazz club and featured young performers, many of whom are students in the UNO Jazz Studies program. Winners of the competition will be crowned by the Mayor and will receive a four night stay at the Le Meridien in Toronto as guest performers at the hotel. Additionally, they will perform one Friday per month for six months at the New Orleans hotel, be given a weekend stay with Sunday brunch and will get three days of studio time at NoiseLab. Bernie Cyrus will again be the Master of Ceremonies for the competition.
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) this week approved a plan to spend $300,000 on arts programs for Louisiana schools. The proposal was offered by board member Dr. Richard Musemeche and was strongly supported by the Louisiana Alliance for Arts Education (LAAE), a member of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network. The LMC is represented on the board of LAAE by Steve Picou and on the Honorary Board by LMC Chairman Ellis L. Marsalis Jr. In 1997-98, funding for arts education was eliminated from the funding plan. The monies are from the Louisiana Education Trust Fund, known as "8g" funds. These funds are heavily dependent upon state oil revenues which have declined sharply in the past 12 months resulting in significant shortfall projections for the coming budget year. The money to be distributed for the arts is already available, however, from previous revenues. Last year, funding for arts education was $400,000, with half coming from the regular budget and half from a one-time budget surplus. The $300,000 represents only 1% of the $29 million 8g budget and is the only funding set aside for the arts. For more information on LAAE, an organization we highly recommend you join, contact JoAnn Eiswirth.
UPDATED 2/8/99: RESCHEDULED FOR FEBRUARY 22.LMC Chairman Ellis L. Marsalis Jr. and Executive Director Bernie Cyrus are scheduled to appear before the N.O. School Board on Monday, February 22 at 6 PM to appeal to the board to maintain funding for whatever music programs still remain in the beleaguered Orleans Parish School System. Several years ago, music was completely cut from school funding, breaking a chain of music education history that produced many of this city's world renown musicians, including Ellis Marsalis. Portions of funding for music were reinstated in the following years, but never at the level at which music was once supported. Details of the proposal Marsalis and Cyrus will be offering are not available at this time. However, we will keep this story updated. Please help us support music in the schools of Louisiana.
We've updated our studio/label news page with info about several more releases. We've received a few CDs lately, one of the best being "I Believe in My Soul" by Lafayette singer/saxophonist Willie Tee. Swamp pop lovers will likely swoon over this disc's rich tapestry of classics and a couple of originals all sung in Willie's deep baritone and punctuated with lush piano and group sax (hey, the metaphor works, ok ;-) choruses. The recording is another quality product from Gulf Coast Records in Lafayette, Rick Lagneaux and Philip Knowlton are the producers and called upon some of the Lafayette-area's best musicians.
Another Louisiana artist debuts at Number 1 on the Billboard 200 album charts. Silkk the Shocker's "Made Man" on No Limit tops the chart while newcomer, 17 year old Kentwood native Britney Spears drops to Number 3 on the album charts, but she remains at Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts with "...Baby One More Time."
Louisiana artists are faring well in the awards nominations of two venerable organizations. Tim McGraw dominates the Academy of Country Music awards and Louisiana artists have a high profile amongst the nominees for annual W.C. Handy awards given by the Blues Foundation. See Greg Hardison's Louisiana Music Archive for details on these stories.
Wednesday January 27
Double-Shot of Louisiana Music Tonight on PBS
As we noted in a previous story, tonight the conclusion of the Smithsonian-produced PBS series River of Song, Louisiana: Where Music is King, airs at 9PM central standard time. However, preceding that show is a special Kennedy Center program honoring Muddy Waters, King of the Blues and appearing on that show will be Louisiana blues artist Mem Shannon. So set your VCRs or set yourself down for two hours of music tonight. The LMC assisted the producers of River of Song, so we're expecting to see a credit fly by at the end of the show. Regardless, we're excited to see so much Louisiana music hitting the airwaves and on such a venerable network as PBS. (Update: Ok, so we didn't make the credits, but it was a great show!)
New Orleans lost another great Gospel keyboardist with the passing of Sammy Berfect, 56. Sammy was a master of the B-3 organ and probably the most in-demand Gospel organist in town. He suffered from a kidney ailment and had received two kidney transplants over the years. He was considered by everyone who worked with him to be the most outstanding organist in town and was a staple at the Gospel Tent at the N.O. Jazz & Heritage Festival. His loss, and that of the great Raymond Myles recently, have dealt the New Orleans Gospel scene a serious blow. Our condolences to his family.
Monday January 25
Jimmy Domengeaux, Guitarist with Steve Riley &
the Mamou Playboys,
Killed in Motorcycle Accident
UPDATE: 1/26/99: Jimmy Domengeaux, lead guitarist with the acclaimed band Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys was killed last night in a motorcycle accident on US 90 near Breaux Bridge. He reportedly struck something, fell and then was hit by two cars and killed. He was 44 years old.
Domengeaux won several awards for his guitar playing with the Mamou Playboys. As a member of Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, he shared in past Grammy nominations. Prior to his five year stint with that band he played in several rock bands, most notably Blac Dog. He was born and raised in Breaux Bridge and is survived by his parents and a 12 year old daughter.
From an email sent by the band: The wake will begin Tuesday January 26 at 12:30 PM at Pellerin's Funeral Home, 211 Berard Street, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517 tel (318) 332-2199. The wake will continue overnight until the funeral, which will be at 11:00 AM on Wednesday January 27th at St. Bernard's Church in Breaux Bridge.
The family has asked that anyone wishing to make donations (for a trust that will be set up for Jimmy's daughter Javen) please send to: Murphy or Annie Domengeaux, 210 East Bridge Street, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517.
Louisiana: Where Music Is King to Air Wednesday Night on PBS
The Smithsonian production, The Mississippi: River of Song concludes this week with an entire hour devoted to the music of Louisiana. Louisiana: Where Music is King is the title of the final episode which airs this Wednesday night at 9PM Central Time on PBS stations nationwide. The show features Louisiana artists Irma Thomas, Geno Delafose, Henry Butler, David & Roselyn, D.L. Menard and many more. (See previous story)
Music Fundraiser Helps Burned Jeff Parish Officer
A fundraiser held yesterday to assist the family of Sgt. Eddie Benoit, who was badly burned in a fireworks explosion that killed his brother and another worker on New Year's Eve in New Orleans, raised more than $52,000. Featured artists included Irma Thomas, Lenny McDaniel, Leslie Smith & the Cleminists, and Jeff Chaz & the New Orleans Blues Band. The event was hosted by LMC executive director Bernie Cyrus and his New Orleans After Midnight co-host, former Miss Louisiana, Erika Schwartz. The event was held at the Harahan Lions Club and was staged by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department assisted by hundreds of volunteers.
Britney Spears Debuts on Billboard 200 Album Charts at Number 1 and Tops Hot 100 Singles Chart Simultaneously!!
A Kentwood native, 17 year old pop sensation Britney Spears has debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard 200 album charts with her record "...Baby One More Time." At the same time, the title cut from the album is Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100! No Louisiana musician has ever hit the top of both charts so quickly and at such a young age. The teenager was interviewed on CNN yesterday by Bill Tush who noted that this is indeed a very rapid rise to the top. Spears has a video in regular rotation on MTV and has already spawned numerous fan clubs and websites. Her official site is maintained by BMG Music which oversees her label, Jive Records. Wow!
Charles Brown Dead at 76
Though he wasn't a Louisiana native, singer and songwriter Charles Brown, best known for writing and singing "Please Come Home for Christmas," influenced dozens of Swamp Pop musicians in Louisiana. Brown died in his sleep last week from congestive heart failure at the age of 76. "Please Come Home for Christmas" has long been a staple of bands plying the club scene in South Louisiana and East Texas. In the 1960s, radio stations in Louisiana held annual contests based around the tune, which stylistically fit perfectly into the Swamp Pop psyche. Brown was a significant influence on many Louisiana musicians, and his death is worth noting. Brown was scheduled to attend his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during ceremonies later this year.
Musician's Friend Store Opens in Harahan
Musician's Friend a large music instrument retailer which bills itself as "The World's Largest Direct Mail Gear Company" has opened in the New Orleans area. The store is located in the old Home Depot building in the Elmwood area of Harahan at 1000 S. Clearview Parkway near the Huey P. Long bridge. This is the Oregon-based chain's 9th location. Other stores are located in so-called "secondary markets" such as Washington, Utah, Las Vegas, Denver and Knoxville. The Harahan store is large and well stocked with guitars, amps, electronic keyboards (no acoustic pianos), recording gear, PA and lighting and other modern music instruments and staging gear. According to established local retailers, the presence of this large, deep discount store will have a beneficial affect on the price customers pay. But in many cases, older stores such as Werlein's and Zeagler Music which are more diversified and include school band instruments and accessories and pianos, likely won't be hurt by the new store. However, other stores that carry a similar mix of items as Musician's Friend will probably see a dip in their revenues.
Besides a huge selection of gear, which necessitated the hiring of some 30 employees, Musician's Friend will also feature in-store performances by notable artists and will offer a service to up-and-coming bands to cut live music on the in-store stage and burn CDs in-house. This aspect will be an interesting addition to what most people expect from a musical instrument store.
Such large musical instrument stores are a relatively new phenomenon, especially in this area. The largest music retailer superstore is MARS Music a Florida-based company with more than 20 superstores in 9 states--but offers no catalog. Music retailing in Louisiana is up even without the new superstore. Smaller local dealers have opened in several areas, especially on the Northshore in the Mandeville-Covington area which is experiencing significant population growth.
Chicago Radio Show Needs La. Music
The Ragin' Chicago Cajun Radio Show airs on WJKL 94.3 in Elgin, Illinois on Fridays from 8 to 9 PM. Hosted by Tony Menotti, the show focuses on blues, R&B, Cajun, zydeco and the roots of rock and roll. Tony needs music. Send your records to: The Ragin' Chicago Cajun PO BOX 64142 Chicago IL 60664-1423 or email Tony for more information.
Louisianaradio.com has expanded its offerings and now features Spotlight shows highlighting the careers and history of specific Louisiana artists. This program has great potential to become an important archive of historical information on Louisiana artists and the LMC is prodding the Fuller brothers, who design, operate and give up their lives to the webcasting site, to keep up the good work and expand their efforts to do programs on more Louisiana artists. One person deserving of an in-depth documentary is legendary saxophonist and mouthpiece manufacturer Santy Runyon, now going on 92 years old. Santy's life needs to be documented and the LMC encourages anyone looking to do something good for Louisiana music history to do the right thing and tell the Santy Runyon story! Additionally, Louisianaradio.com now has the most complete listing of web linked Louisiana studios, record stores, record labels and more on the web. Check out their site and let them know what a great job they are doing.
We've updated our La. Studio News page. We need more information on record releases and studio activities. Don't be shy. Let us know what's going on and we'll help promote your efforts.
Kentwood native Britney Spears is the first pop star from this state in a long time. The 17 year old now holds down the #4 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Congratulations!
LMC Launches Studio News Page
OK, it's still a work in progress, but we've received enough responses to start a page we're calling Louisiana Recording Studio and Label News (we're open to suggestions for a better title). It's hardly comprehensive at this time but reflects listings from around the state. The site is still UNDER CONSTRUCTION (so lighten up on the criticism, OK ;-). Of course, we need information and listing and more, so if you know someone with an upcoming record release, plans to record or any other relevant studio news, make sure they contact us.
Congratulations to Master P for last night's American Music Award for Best Rap Artist.
Congrats also to Mulebone for the success of their new CD "5 Shakes 7 Spirits" which is the second best selling record at the Louisiana Music Factory.
Speaking of the Louisiana Music Factory, their online site is now active. Check out their listings which include many sound clips. The store stocks the largest inventory of Louisiana music in the state and likely in the world.
Jam*Band*Laya a new compilation CD produced by the New Orleans Music Convention Association has just been released. The disc, which includes songs by Professor Longhair, Sammy Harris, Jeff Chaz, the Zion Harmonizers, the Mahogany Brass Band, J. Monque'D, David & Roselyn, Clifton Chenier, Joel Simpson, John Plauche, Rhino & the Safari Men, Lloyd Daly, Miguel DeAnda, Allen Fontenot, Andy Hoffman & B-Goes, Randy T., Will Rivers, Native Sons, The Perils of Glamour, Alpha Rhythm, and 80 Arpent. The CD is to be distributed at this month's MIDEM conference in Cannes, France. For more information, contact David Eidler at 504-822-2344.
Caffeine Music is holding another New Orleans Songwriters' Night at Carrollton Station on Sunday, January 31 as part of its ongoing series. Featured songwriters include Anders Osborne, Larry John McNally (a writer who has penned several top hits), Kim Carson and Lenny Jorns. The event starts at 8:30 PM. Call 504-865-9190 for more information.
New Orleans Video Access Center is holding an open house Thursday, January 21 with a patron party starting at 6 PM, tickets cost $35, call 504-486-9192. A free open house follows at 7 PM at NOVAC's new location, 4840 Banks Street New Orleans, LA 70119. NOVAC is a great resource that provides access to cameras and video editing equipment at greatly reduced cost to individuals and groups. For more info, email NOVAC@neosoft.com.
Etc., a monthly guide to entertainment and the arts published in Lafayette, has upgraded its Louisiana Festivals page by adding a search engine. You can post announcements and press releases on their site as well. Check it out and get your event listed.
River of Song PBS TV Series Now Airing,
Louisiana, Where Music is King Airs Jan. 27
The Smithsonian Institution teamed with a collective of organizations to create a television series called River of Song, a four part series airing on PBS. The final episode, called Louisiana, Where Music is King, airs on January 27. The final episode feature a variety of musicians from the state, including Irma Thomas, Geno Delafose and New Orleans street performers David & Roselyn, along with several others. The series was filmed last year and was debuted in a special viewing staged by Riverbarge Excursion Lines in September. The series also spawned a companion book and 2 CD set on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. For more information check out the River of Song website. The show began airing on January 6 and subsequent episodes air on January 13, 20 and 27.
Spending Freeze in La. State Govt. Affects LMC
A broad spending freeze imposed by Governor Foster is directly affecting the operations of the Louisiana Music Commission. The freeze will prevent the LMC from spending funds on nearly all purchases, travel and hiring. The freeze will not affect the LMC's plans to participate in the upcoming LMNOP Music Conference or the work we are doing to improve promotion of the state's music industry. We are prohibited, however, from supporting any new projects until further notice. The freeze might remain in effect until the end of the fiscal year which is June 30.
The LMC is following-up on a recent mail survey of Louisiana recording studios and record labels in an attempt to better assist these companies with their marketing and promotional efforts. A phone survey is now underway to directly contact these entities to determine each company's role in Louisiana's music industry. The LMC is asking all studios to communicate regularly with the LMC with information about who is recording and pending record releases. In addition, the LMC is contacting Louisiana record labels seeking the same general information about upcoming releases. The LMC plans to issue regular press releases to the international music industry press regarding recording activities and pending record releases. If you have information of this type, please contact us.
Look for a revamping of our Links page to include information we are gathering as a result of these surveys.
Music at the Mint Series Returns
The Louisiana State Museum at the Old U.S. Mint is staging another round of its popular Music at the Mint musical performances. Starting this Saturday, January 9 and concluding April 3 the performances begin at 2PM and are as follows: Coco Robicheaux, Sat. Jan. 9; John Sinclair and Kalamu ya Salaam, Sat. Feb. 6; Willie Tee and Earl Turbinton, Sat. March 6; and Walter Payton, Sat. April 3. The Old U.S. Mint is located at 400 Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans.
La. Artists Snag 12 Grammy Nominations
UPDATED 1/11/99: Eleven Louisiana artists fared exceptionally well in today's Grammy nominations. Kenny Wayne Shepherd received his first-ever nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for his album "Trouble Is..." which is only the second record release for the young Shreveport guitarist. Other nominees include Aaron Neville for Best Traditional R&B Performance for "To Make Me Who I Am," Wynton Marsalis for Best Instrumental Composition for "The Midnight Blues," Irma Thomas with Marcia Ball and Tracy Nelson for Best Contemporary Blues Album for "Sing It," legendary Baton Rouge pianist Henry Gray (a former member of Howlin' Wolf's band) as part of a group of musicians for Best Traditional Blues Album for "Tribute to Howlin' Wolf," Shreveport's Kix Brooks (as part of the country duo Brooks & Dunn) in collaboration with Reba McIntire for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for "If You See Him/If You See Her." Brooks is competing in the same category with Delhi, Louisiana's Tim McGraw (and his bride Faith Hill) for "Just to hear You Say That You Love Me." Lake Charles-born Lucinda Williams, whose mom reportedly lives in Mandeville, scored two nominations for her highly acclaimed "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," one for Best Contemporary Folk Album and for Best Female Rock Performance for the song "Can't Let Go." Additionally, the band Wilco--whose bassist John Stirratt calls New Orleans home-- is also nominated for Best Contemporary Folk album for "Mermaid Avenue," a collection of previously unrecorded Woody Gutherie songs (Billy Bragg shares the nomination for this album). Two blues artists with Louisiana connections, the legendary Buddy Guy and the up-and-coming Keb' Mo' each received nominations for Best Contemporary Blues Album, Guy for "Heavy Love" and Mo' for "Slow Down." This is the largest number of Louisiana artists nominated in recent memory; however, for the first time in years, there are no Cajun or zydeco artists in consideration. Nonetheless, a great showing for Louisiana reflecting geographic, cultural and musical diversity.
La. Starts New Year With Abundance of Live Music Venues
A peek at this month's OffBeat Magazine (the print version) reveals more ads for more clubs than ever in the memory of this writer. Several new music venues in the New Orleans area have opened recently, including Levon Helm's American Cafe & Music Bar and the Quint Davis/Ralph Brennan Bourbon Street club called Storyville District. Along River Road in Jefferson Parish, just up the street from the legendary Maple Leaf Bar, two new venues, Live Bait and the historic Southport Hall (being developed by the owners of the Rivershak Tavern, another great River Road bar) are adding the sound of music to the river front. There are more than 50 venues and additional restaurants and other sites that feature live music in the New Orleans area. In the coming days, the LMC will be surveying clubs and venues around the state to help us keep tabs on how much live music there is in Louisiana. Of course in Louisiana there is more music than even OffBeat can track, so be sure to get your copy of the 1999 Louisiana Festivals & Events Calendar from Huli Publishing which lists more than 500 other places where you can experience music and more. 1999 is certainly starting well!
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Louisiana Music Commission
3330 N. Causeway Blvd. Suite 438
Metairie LA 70002
Phone: 504-838-5600 Fax: 504-838-5280