My name is Piggly-Wiggly, and I swear you can help yourself And I’ve got to have your greenback, and it don’t take nothin’ else. —Lucille Bogan, “Groceries On The Shelf,” 1933
It is going to be a long day. Week two of Jazz Fest starts on a Thursday. The weather is hot and sunny and, still, luckily no humidity.
Pat picked us up around 10:15 for the drive out to the fairgrounds. Today is locals’ day which is a terrific innovation. If you live in the area you can buy a discounted ticket. Cara and Taylah are off to get their weekend wristbands.
In the years I have been coming over to New Orleans I have often frequented a Middle Eastern restaurant, Monas. They had a presence on Frenchman St. The building they were in has been condemned. Luckily they have a concession food outlet at the festival. I enjoyed a plate of shawarma, hummus, fresh salad, and pita bread.
Today’s music fare starts with an unknown (to me) Bluesman, D.K. Harrell. He was fantastic and worked very hard to get the crowd involved. Check him out as he is well worth a listen. It is always a pleasure to hear a new artist plying their trade
Next up is a long-time favorite, Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns. Her music takes you back to a bygone era. Dan Braum of the New Yorker said – “Meschiya Lake rocks back on her heels, lifts her chest, and opens her throat like an air raid siren to croon in a thrilling pre-microphone style that…can make you feel by turns as though you were shivering around a campfire in a railroad yard or drinking in a Budapest nightclub in 1938”.
The Blues Tent has a good enough line-up to keep me there for most of the day. Next on the bill is John Mooney a hard-working traditionalist who moved to New Orleans in 1976. As with many older bluesmen, he has had his share of past addiction issues. He is looking road weary but does not let the crowd down.
The Johnny Sansone band is next up. The sound for the first song was way too loud but the sound techs eventually got it right. The crowd is with Johnny all the way. Another great set of music.
Cara and Taylah are off to the main stage to see the legendary Buddy Guy. See what happens when you have a positive influence on your children!
We headed off to the Allison Monor stage to see a band that was new to me. Loose Cattle, described as Americana Cowpunks! Very enjoyable.
As I headed back to the Blues Tent I ran into Johnny Sansone and his partner Michelle. We talked for a while. Johnny told me how proud he was to be featured in our 20th anniversary WOW book. He also said he is working very hard to come back to tour Australia. While we were chatting it was amazing to see how many people said to Johnny. “awesome set” as they passed him by.
I caught the end of the tribute to Walter ‘Wolfman’ Washington. Walter was an institution in the music scene of New Orleans. He sadly died Dec of 2022. His photo now adorns the Blues Tent along with many other past legends. He was so revered in this town that a park is being renamed in his honor.
When the Jazz Fest line-up was first announced I had earmarked a “must-see” as Larkin Poe. Two very talented sisters. “Rebecca & Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe are Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist sisters creating their own brand of Roots Rock ‘n’ Roll: gritty, soulful, and flavored by their southern heritage. Originally from Atlanta and currently living in Nashville, they are self-producers of an electrifying, critically acclaimed body of work and are known for constantly touring across the globe with a fiery vitality.” Indeed they were a featured act at this year’s Byron Bay Blues Festival. I thought their show was great, full of energy and the enthusiasm of youth. I even put them at the top of the ‘best of the fest’ to date. When I caught up with Bernie, Hoff, and Wendy they were not so enamored with their performance. Oh well, we all have different tastes in music I guess.
Before we left for the ‘Last Hurrah’, Bernie had booked our tickets to see the Mississippi All Stars at the iconic Tippatinas. I sadly am just too tired to go to the show which starts at 9 PM. A full day at Jazz Fest is all I can manage these days.