Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue. Last To Leave.

Here’s a fantastic review of our latest album by Scottish blogger, Blabber ‘n’ Smoke. Read on and make sure to pick yourself up a copy on our website at http://www.galholiday.com.

Blabber 'n' Smoke

Isn’t the internet wonderful? A few months ago I happened on a video that stood out for two reasons. First was the one take approach to it as the camera panned and dollied around the band playing, nice. Second however was the band itself. A Patsy Cline like singer with an intriguing look sang wonderfully over a magnificent blowsy Spanish inflected twang laden backing. The band was Gal Holiday And The Honky Tonk Revue and the song was To Make Amends. It stuck with me so Blabber’n’Smoke eventually acquired a copy of their latest album, Last To Leave, and lo and behold, To Make Amends is but one of the gems contained therein.

New Orleans residents, Gal Holiday And the Honky Tonk Revue are fronted by Vanessa Niemann, a wonderful singer, fired by the likes of Cline, Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn. She’s a formidable looking lady, the…

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JazzFest Week 2

Okay! I survived my birthday again! It was actually quite tame by comparison and was the perfect segue into JazzFest Week 2 here in NOLA. We been seeing SO many folks from out of town and made some new friends at our shows last week. Which, by the way were all AMAZING thanks to you guys. Really amazing actually.

Today we have a big rehearsal for our JazzFest sets out at the fairgrounds and we’re getting so excited! We’re out there on Friday morning, but if you’re festing this year you already know that. AND we’re opening the stage for Willie Nelson, whose birthday happens to be today. Yes, one day from mine. Tau-rus!!!

But I jump ahead…

There are some great things happening on St. Claude Avenue this week. If you don’t feel like fighting the crowds on Frenchmen there are some awesome alternatives, which I will tell of here. Firstly, Gal Holiday band will be playing Wednesday 5/1 (tomorrow) at Siberia with Gregory Good opening the show with an acoustic set. Although the venue is outwardly punk rock, I like to refer to them as the Mimi’s adjunct where all music and all people are welcome. Plus they have really fantastic Eastern European and Russian food…pierogi, cabbage rolls and blini, OH MY!

There are a couple of other events that I’d like to let y’all know about, other than our shows. Both tonight and tomorrow (Tues 4/30 and Wed 5/1) there is a country fest going on at Allways Lounge, across the street from Siberia and connected with the All-Star Covered Dish Country Jamboree that happens there on Tuesdays. The Wasted Lives, who host the night are keeping country music alive and thriving here in New Orleans! They have a stellar line-up planned for both nights, including one of my all time favorite New Orleans’ bands, By & By String Band who will make a rare appearance tonight. Also Wednesday is ChazFest, the 9th Ward Music Festival hosted by the man with the washboard, Mr. Chaz Leary. It’s an all day and evening thing so swing by there early and then come see us at Siberia!

In my last email I told y’all that our Thursday night show at Mimi’s was cancelled due to a court ordered injunction against the neighborhood bar. We’re so sad for the loss of a favorite music venue and hope that they can return soon. The venue is still open so stop for some fabulous food and support them! Also, we decided not to do a house party that night in lieu of promoting the heck out of our Siberia show on Wednesday. We did get an offer though, so thanks for that!

Friday 5/3 we’re out at the Fest opening up the Gentilly Stage for Willie as well as closing out the Kids’ Tent with a raucous set. And picked up a show this Saturday 5/4 at The Prytania Bar on Prytania Street for their Homegrown JazzFest. They’re a new-ish music venue uptown and we’re always glad to have more of those! We hope some of you will venture out to see us and openers Something Burning, a local band who are riding the cello’s wave of popularity in modern music.

I think that’s all I need to tell you this week in this quick email. I’m glad I found a minute to sit down and write to you amidst all the craziness! (I did think of one more thing that’s happening tonight. The New Orleans Nightingales will descend on the tiny Three Muses to sit in, one at a time with the band. I’ll be there for a short time, but if you happen to be on Frenchmen Street, pop your head in for a drink!)

Once again, be safe, be smart and look out for and love each other. Until we meet again…

Your gal pal,

Vanessa

“Without the courage to fail there is no progress.”


Wednesday 5/1 @ Siberia w/ opener Gregory Good 2227 St. Claude Ave. (NOLA); Gregory Good opens solo acoustic @ 9pm; Gal Holiday 10pm-1am
Friday 5/3 @ New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival: Gentilly Stage (NOLA); 11:10am-11:55am
Friday 5/3 @ New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival: Kids’ Tent (NOLA); 5:15pm-6pm
Saturday 5/4 @ The Prytania Bar w/ opener Something Burning 3445 Prytania Street (NOLA); Something Burning @ 10pm; Gal Holiday 11:30pm-1am
Thursday 5/9 Innocence Project Gala @ Generations Hall 310 Andrew Higgins Drive (NOLA); 6:30pm-11pm
Saturday 5/11 Crawfish Mambo @ UNO (NOLA); Gal Holiday 12:15pm-1:15pm
Saturday 5/11 @ Mojitos 437 Esplanade Avenue (NOLA); 7:30pm-10:30pm
Sunday 5/12 @ Warehouse Grille 569 Magazine Street (NOLA; 4pm-7pm
Thursday 5/16 @ Chickie Wah Wah w/ Washboard Rodeo 2828 Canal Street (NOLA); 8pm-11pm
Friday 5/17 Friday Night Music Camp @ Big Top 3 Ring Circus 1638 Clio Street (NOLA); 5pm-7pm
Saturday 5/18 @ The BMC 1331 Decatur Street (NOLA); 9pm-12am

Truly

I’m struggling with how to start writing this tonight as my heart is heavy with the news that Allison Pitcher from New Orleans has passed. She was a music lover, friend and fan of the Gal Holiday band from the start and leaves behind a lovely daughter who is graduating from high school this May. I just hung out with them this past Mardi Gras on Bacchus Sunday and we had some laughs between parades. Her passing was a true shock, as she had been improving after slipping into a coma right after a routine surgery.

There were already plans being made to hold a benefit to help cover aftercare expenses and now sadly, the benefit will cover funeral costs. Many of the bands that Allison supported will be playing and we hope to reach beyond our goal and donate to her daughter’s college fund as well. I’ll have more details soon but the tentative date is Thursday April 11 and we hope you’ll mark your calendars if you plan on being in New Orleans during French Quarter Fest this year.

Our weekend schedule is three shows long with a variety of venues for you to choose from. Thursday night we’ll be at Siberia with the always fabulous Lynn Drury who starts out the night at 10pm. Friday we head across the river to Old Point Bar from 10pm-1am and on Sunday you can find us again on St. Claude Avenue at Kajun’s Pub for an Easter Sunday soiree from 5pm-7pm.

Kajun’s is not a usual spot for our band and I’m excited to try a show there. For you foodies, Chef Chris Smedley just reopened their kitchen, naming it Borracho! and serving up delicious housemade sausages and other bar food delights. It should prove to be a fun evening and we’ll have Steve Spitz on that pedal steel, too!

Beyond the sadness, life carries on and so with spring in our hearts we enter out of Lent and Passover to Easter and the festival (and food) season close at hand.

Your gal pal,

Vanessa


“Without the courage to fail there is no progress.”


Thursday 3/28 @ Siberia (NOLA) w/ Lynn Drury; LD 10pm, GH 12am
Friday 3/29 @ Old Point Bar; 10pm-1am
Sunday 3/31 Easter Sunday show! @ Kajun’s Pub (NOLA); 5pm-9pm
Tuesday 4/9 The All-Star Covered Dish Country Jamboree @ Allways Lounge (NOLA); GH set TBA
Friday 4/12 French Quarter Festival (NOLA); Pavilion Stage 12:30pm-1:45pm
Friday 4/12 @ The Rivershack Tavern (Jefferson, LA); 10pm-2am
Saturday 4/13 @ Mojitos Rum Bar (NOLA); 7:30pm-10:30pm
Wednesday 4/24 Swing Night @ Rock ‘n’ Bowl (NOLA); 8:30pm-11:30pm
Saturday 4/20 Cajun/Country Fais Do Do @ Maison (NOLA) w/ T’Canaille; 4pm-7pm
Saturday 4/20 @ Circle Bar (NOLA); 10pm-1am
Saturday 4/27
Gal Holiday Quartet @ Three Muses (NOLA); 9pm-12am

F**k You, I’m Folk

Some of our long time New Orleans fans might remember back more than a few years ago to a Gal Holiday show at d.b.a. when yours truly had a Jameson fueled microphone moment in which I tried to explain why we’re not a country band. As everyone now knows, the “establishment” has ceased categorizing bands like ours as Country and started using the broadly generic term Americana. While there are many groups, like online magazine Turnstyled, Junkpiled who continue to campaign for the return to proper classification in the genre, I fear that we will be lumped in with Folk music for many years to come.

Two events transpired which added to the steaming brew in my brain which so erupted as previously mentioned. The first of which was a phone conversation with one highly respected female manager, “Jane” who is the driving force behind her well known Louisiana musician husband. Jane mentioned that if we ever decided to submit our work to the Grammys, we would NOT fall under the Country category but rather submit as Americana/Folk. This was my first concrete assertion of something I had been suspect of for a while.

The second event that set the wheels of our new movement in motion was something funny that happened to Domenic, a fellow musician who at the time was our roommate when Dave B. had his recording studio in the French Quarter. Dom was looking for a dobro guitar in a catalog and having difficulty finding one. Maybe it’s listed in guitars? No. They’ve GOT to have one somewhere in here! Hmmmm. He flipped the pages and there it was, nestled amongst the mandolins and banjos under FOLK instruments. WELL.

*On a side note, I can certainly understand the dobro being classified as a folk instrument. Without going into a deep discussion of what Folk music specifically IS as well as its history, suffice it to say that I guess ALL instruments of the stringed variety are “folk” instruments. And all that said, Domenic’s music would most likely be considered “Folk Rock” or as he says, “Cosmic Rock’n’Roll for the Soul.”

We had a good laugh about it and the thoughts kept stewing in my noggin. And then Dom had a t-shirt made that gave a name to our new movement…F**k You, I’m Folk. That phrase hilariously sums up all the frustration and the resignation to what I find an interesting subject. Yes, we are most certainly Americana. But technically aren’t jazz, blues, zydeco and even rap? It just seems like such a BROAD generalization and the grouping with Folk seems a bit odd to me.

So why talk about this now, years later? I’ll tell you why gentle reader. Because recently, another incident came up that made me think about what the differences actually are. But first a little back story…

On our last trip to New Orleans this past fall, we introduced our new sound which we are calling, The Recessionaires featuring Dave B. driving the rhythm section with his slaps and popping of strings. Born out of necessity on the road during these tough economic times, we’ve stripped the band of drums for our smaller shows, a la Wayne Hancock who totally rocks this style. Our intention was not to change the sound of the band so drastically that our status as a “dance band” would be affected and so far we’ve gotten a positive response. In a look to the future with a simultaneous nod to the past, we’re taking things back to the real roots of the style with great songs and solid playing. It has been a highly rewarding decision all around in choosing to experiment with this new “drummed down” sound. Here’s a video of us debuting this sound at Mimi’s in the Marigny in New Orleans, taken by Andrew Evans, Nat Geo’s roving blogger.

A couple of weeks ago we showed up to a gig in California without drums and a comment was later made that we had scared the promoter half to death. He’d heard the band before WITH drums and thought we were going to “Folk Out” on his dance night. I wish I’d had Domenic’s t-shirt on that night!

After hearing a few songs he quickly felt relief and mentioned that he didn’t even miss the drums. Which is a comment we’ve been getting a lot. Nothing against you drummers out there, but y’all are LOUD. Which is why we’ll reserve our use of drums for festivals and larger rooms and stages like Rock ‘n’ Bowl and Tipitina’s in New Orleans. And because I truly do believe that we’re stuck being categorized where we are for quite some time, I will embrace it and proudly announce to world…F**k You, I’m Folk.