Changes

Oh, Autumn! The weather turns cooler (although here in New Orleans it has warmed up again) and pumpkins appear on front porches, harbingers of the season. As a child, I disliked Autumn for the shortened days, the alarm clock going off before the sun had even come over the horizon and the yellow afternoon sun beginning the big yawn as my school bus reached the lane.

As I’ve gotten older I welcome the cooler weather, sweaters and boots coming back out as the social season kicks up. The city seems to revitalize, as folks venture from their air conditioned homes, finding the will to be gracious again. Such is how we follow the seasons as they change around us.

That being said, change and how we adapt to it is a huge part of life, particularly in a nomadic and ever changing career like music. Though not an easy one, the decision has been made to move the Gal Holiday home base back to Louisiana this winter. Our time living in beautiful California has been a great adventure, one I’m glad to have undertaken. With so many new friends made and old connections re-established, we aim to make a West Coast loop at least once a year, hopefully twice. There’s already a trip in the works for next June, with the impending nuptials of some dear friends who are hiring the band for the reception! Plus, David and I will be back in L.A. for Thanksgiving this year. Catch us while you can…who knows where the wind will carry us next.

Our plans to be in NOLA for the fall season have been in place for some time and you can definitely catch us here this weekend:

Thursday 10/11 @ Siberia; 6pm-8pm Facebook event
Friday 10/12 @ Banks Street Bar; 11pm-2am Facebook event
Sunday 10/14 @ Three Muses; 8pm-11pm Facebook event

Happy Fall! We’ll see y’all out on the streets!

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Dangerous Drivers

It’s a known fact, and probability says that the more time you spend traveling in a vehicle the higher your chances for accidents. I’ve had my fair share of fender benders, mostly before my 21st birthday including one particularly horrifying and life changing crash involving a tractor trailer, which left me with a fractured pelvis and one dead in our vehicle. It happened a long time ago and fortunately I was not the driver, having fallen asleep in the backseat which lessened the impact. Nonetheless, I cringe when I see people driving dangerously on our highways and love the signs in TX that read, “Drive Friendly.” On our most recent tour through the American West this June we encountered a driver who was definitely NOT heeding the sign.

We had completed our run, which started in Los Angeles before heading into NM and CO via Phoenix, AZ. Making our way back to Louisiana we were minding our own business, doing the speed limit, (which, in TX is plenty fast for me at 75) when in my side mirror I saw a truck hauling ass. I must say that most truckers are great drivers, having jobs that depend on it and have gotten a bad reputation over the years, mostly from little old ladies. That said, this guy was a maniac, hauling an empty wide load trailer and passing at 85 or 90 by veering onto the shoulder.

Bastard. No offense to his mother intended.

Normally you would just mutter something like “asshole” and drive on, letting the dumbass get his comeuppance at some point down the road, hoping for a Highway Patrol to catch the offending driver. And then he threw a rock. Small. DING! Slow down a little…back off. But then came The Boulder. WHACK! Our guitar player, Chris Adkins who was sitting in the back seat actually ducked. And then gasps all around as we gazed upon the 3 inch, circular crack in the windshield.

Now, common sense would implore that you do something sane, like call the aforementioned HP. But not knowing exactly how much time that would take, we thought it would be much more productive to get the guys’ trucking company info. You’ll recall that he was going much faster than us, but we were about to hit Wichita Falls and more traffic so we hoped he would get slowed, allowing us to catch up.

I put all my driving skills to the test as I followed him, changing lanes (always using my blinkers, mind you) and weaving through traffic. I watched him almost run other cars off the road multiple times. I watched as more rocks were thrown. I knew we had to catch him. And just the other side of town, success! We pulled along his left side and Dave B was ready with the pen and paper to write down the info on the side of his cab. As he looked down and saw what was going on he immediately slowed down to below the speed limit. Ooooooooo, yeah. Sweet satisfaction.

Well the slower speed didn’t last for long. He pulled behind us and we figured it would be safer to follow him instead. The thought of some methed out trucker following us to a rest stop and kicking our asses crossed my mind, as it should. A quick call to his dispatch company in Michigan and ten minutes later he was doing the speed limit. I hope that guy really gets it from his boss.

We had another incident, also in TX with a rather large raccoon on the way back to California a week and a half later. But that’s a story for another time. Let’s just say that one raccoon who decided to cross the road didn’t make it to the other side.

And that folks, is all she wrote.

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Viva Cantina…TONIGHT!

Hi all! We’ve got a show tonight at Viva Cantina in Burbank, CA. This continues our Thursday residency there but please note that the time is now earlier, 6:30-8:30. The Reverend Martini has moved the old Weber’s Rockabilly Night into Viva Cantina and is doing a Thursday thing there after us. Next week…Dave Alvin!

Our set is now nice and early so bring the family for some great Mexican food, tasty Margaritas and good country music!

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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.

New review for “Set Two” by Turnstyled, Junkpiled!

We got a cool new review for “Set Two” by the online L.A. Americana music magazine, Turnstyled, Junkpiled. Here’s the content but please visit their website, too.

Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue
Set Two
By Gerry Gomez, Contributing Writer

Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue’s latest album, Set Two, welcomes the listener with a beautiful grinning picture of Vannesa Niemann (aka Gal Holiday) on the cover. That radiance continues on the inside on the package, as Niemann sings and is accompanied by fiancee Dave Brouillette on bass, with other players thrown in the mix, performing their way through rousing interpretations of “classic country” tunes and one really spirited version of “Plastic Jesus” – a comedic song about dashboard Jesus’ written by Ed Rush and George Cromarty in 1957. They do it with complete sincerity and give it great new life. There are also a few originals that sit perfectly next to the classics.

Niemann and Brouillette are originally from Louisiana, but have relocated themselves to Los Angeles, in hopes of seeing what fortunes may await them in Sin City. That’s good news for local lovers of classic country music: it is Gal Holiday’s credo to play only the real deal. Set Two shines with staples from the hard working groups live set, such as, “Yes, Ma’am” “Jones on the Jukebox” and even a honky tonk version of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice.”

The original “Louisiana Waltz” is a tale that hearkens back to bygone days and departed loves still swaying together, that is reminiscent of the Brian Wilson’s female led pet-project, American Spring’s “Tennessee Waltz” not only in terms of tempo, but also the wonderful sultry sweet female vocals that drive this song. Leading into the other original, “I’m Coming Home” which will get porch swing in motion faster than a V8 on an open stretch of highway. Vanessa’s personality really livens up these old feeling tunes and with Brouillette’s solid bass crossed with overall strong production, the songs leap through the speakers and get the toes tapping. Great music to put anyone in a good mood, done with class and very welcoming, sexy vocals.

Gal Holiday’s star has been rising since coming to La La Land. They’re playing all over town with some anticipated shows coming up most notably, TurnstyledJunkpiled.com’s own sponsored Harvelle’s Holiday Hullabaloo (Friday at 9pm). Catch them and you’ll be two-stepping the night away. Tickets can be purchased here: http://longbeach.harvelles.com/show.cfm?id=70791&cart

The Long Road West

SO. We made it back to Los Angeles after our two months all the way to Ft. Lauderdale and back saga of a trip! While most of our time was spent back in New Orleans with friends, fans and family (read prior blogs for more deets) we’ll pick up The Adventures of Gal Holiday the day after our outstanding farewell show at Old Point Bar in Algier’s Point, New Orleans.

We actually had one more show to do which was a party for a super cool couple, recently married at a lovely Lower Garden District locale on the rainy Saturday night after Thanksgiving. Though the unpredictable New Orleans’ weather moved us indoors to a considerably smaller space, the company was cool, staff included. Great photos, too…

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After packing up and hitting the bottle with the catering staff in the alley behind the venue, Dave and I ventured uptown to visit with a friend before taking off on Monday, two days later. It was then that our van had ANOTHER crucial meltdown. For those of you not following us on Facebook or Twitter you are unaware that we had some electrical problems “fixed” before we went to Florida the week before Turkey Day. Long story short, $450 wasted and still major issues. And now again with the issues and three days before we had to be in Austin for a show.

SO. Major decisions were made and our old clunker of a diesel van was laid to rest. Bye bye, Ol’ Bessie, Hello as yet un-Christened Honda Odyssey minivan. We’ve heard all the jokes by now, about how you’re supposed to have kids and THEN get a minivan, but wait…we DO have kids. They’re called band members. And all jokes aside, the gas mileage is great, the ride is a thousand times more comfortable and we’ll get to where we’re going with more confidence that we’ll actually arrive on time. Many thanks to the fine folks at Superior Honda on the Westbank of New Orleans for their expediency and swell treatment. Turns out, we even played for the wedding reception of the manager’s daughter! (If anyone feels especially generous this Holiday Season, we have a little PayPal donation button on our website to help with car payments. And we love you!)

SO. We finally left for Austin on Monday night after organizing and downsizing, taking with us only the essentials…PA, instruments, amps, clothing and a few other things. All the rest of the crap we brought with us to NOLA stayed in the guest bedroom of Dave’s mom. Thanks Gods for moms! We stopped at ATX to pick up Joe, our L.A. guitar player who had flown home for the holiday after being with us for the duration of the trip. It was great to be back in Austin, see some friends who we’d been out of touch with for a while and make some new acquaintances, too! In particular check out Teri Joyce, a super songwriter who might be in our song lineup coming soon. Love her!

We made the long trek from Austin to Santa Fe in one day, hoping to head off some incoming weather which never arrived. Thankfully we have a great friend in Santa Fe who didn’t mind us keeping him up until midnight and had beds set up for our weary butts. It was another great night in Santa Fe for our second appearance at The Cowgirl BBQ, and despite the freezing temperatures we kept warm by drinking tequila and rocking out.

Departing the next morning it was cold and overcast, freezing rain in the forecast and a decision made. We would travel south to I-10 in lieu of the threat of closures on I-40. Yes, 16 hours instead of a mere 12. We almost killed each other. But we made it back to L.A. safe and sound in one go, arriving home on Saturday morning at about 3:30 am after dropping Joe off in Hollywood.

AND THEN. Dave got sick on Sunday. Like projectile vomit sick. Food poisoning or stomach flu we’re not sure but he was not well for days. I plugged away, unpacking, grocery shopping, organizing. AND THEN. I got sick. Projectile vomit sick. And I threw up on Sunset Blvd which is so rockstar I can’t even begin to tell you. Apparenly it puts me in league with Slash, Paris and many other people who go by one name only. Just call me Gal.

BUT. We’re better now and have done two great gigs back in L.A. with a trip to San Francisco tomorrow. The show must go on.