Jazz Fest: Clapton, Bruce, Phish, Arcade Fire

By Jim Stanford on January 14, 2014

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Trey Anastasio at Jazz Fest 2005. Anastasio and Phish will perform during the first weekend.

Is it Jazz Phest yet?

Phish, exiled from the Fairgrounds since 1996, returns for the 2014 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, joining the likes of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Robert Plant, John Fogerty, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, Alabama Shakes and the Avett Brothers.

These headliners will perform along with dozens of Big Easy luminaries such as Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Rebirth Brass Band, Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Aaron Neville, The Radiators and Dumpstaphunk with Art Neville. The 45th annual festival takes place April 25 to May 4.

Ticket prices start at $50 per day. More details and daily music lineup are available here.

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Louisiana flavor comes north

By Jim Stanford on June 22, 2012

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An authentic taste of New Orleans.

Hey, now. In New Orleans, even a queen dressed in red must be able to suck a crawfish head, as Art Neville sometimes sings. Jackson’s summer hatch will get its chance Saturday, when 307 Live presents its seventh annual Crawfish Boil.

Organizers Harper Hollis, Billy Cormier, Trey Davis and friends have ordered 1,000 pounds of the freshwater crustacean for the occasion. The crawfish will be seasoned, boiled and served with red beans and rice, boudin and more.

Stooges Brass Band will close out the festivities, capping a day of eating and music under the sun. The party starts at 1 p.m. on the Cutty’s lawn and runs till dark or thereabouts; Stooges is slated to take the stage at 7.

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Toots, Robinson, Truckers round out Targhee Fest

By Jim Stanford on May 1, 2012

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Let there be rock: Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers plays alongside keyboardist Booker T. Jones at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz Fest. The Truckers will close Saturday night of Targhee Fest.

The 2012 Targhee Fest will have a decidedly Southern rock flavor.

Drive-By Truckers, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Lucinda Williams and Trigger Hippy are among the artists added in recent weeks. In addition, reggae icon Toots and the Maytals will perform.

The eighth annual festival will be July 13-15 at the base of the Alta, Wyo., ski resort. Already announced performers include Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, J.J. Grey and Mofro, and Paul Thorn.

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in memoriam: Levon Helm

By Jim Stanford on April 20, 2012

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Levon Helm raps the skins with help from Galactic drummer Stanton Moore.

Back in 2010, I wrote about the anticipation of seeing Levon Helm perform at Jazz Fest. I had just watched The Last Waltz for the first time.

Helm and his band gave a set at the New Orleans Fairgrounds that was practically a mini-Last Waltz, with guest after guest coming out on stage to lend support and play with the revered drummer and mandolinist. Pianists Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, participants in the original farewell concert by The Band, were among the cast, along with Galactic drummer Stanton Moore, who pounded the skins alongside Helm for nearly the entire set.

Then 69, the gravelly voiced Arkansan had been battling throat cancer and looked frail, but his spirit was inextinguishable. His smile shone from behind the drum kit, and he played with an intensity that belied his condition.

“Oh, you don’t know the shape I’m in!” he bellowed to start the set. The Band classic was fitting on many levels, not only given his health, as the grin on his face suggested, but, this being a Sunday after a long weekend in New Orleans, for the audience as well.

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Jazz Fest comes to Victor

By Jim Stanford on March 20, 2012

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Galactic arrived in Teton Valley to a spring snowstorm yesterday and enjoyed a day off. “Hanging in lovely cold Victor ID,” the band Tweeted.

Things will get considerably warmer tonight when the New Orleans funk ensemble takes the stage for a sold-out show at the Knotty Pine. The log cabin club will resemble a sauna straight out of Frenchmen Street in the Big Easy.

With an extra day of rest, band members could ride some of the nearly 2 feet of powder that has blanketed the Tetons, or delve into the Kansas City barbecue served by Knotty Pine owner Brice Nelson — “the best food we’ve ever eaten at a venue,” saxophonist Ben Ellman proclaimed during the group’s last visit in 2009.

Either way, the band is likely to come out roaring. On this tour Galactic again is joined by trombonist Corey Henry, along with singer Corey Glover, former frontman for Living Colour. The group just released a new album on Mardi Gras Day, Carnivale Electricos, featuring a host of guest musicians.

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