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,’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:

Auditioning for America’s Got Talent

Last Sunday we auditioned for America’s Got Talent in New Orleans. Being that the Crescent City wasn’t an open call location, like Tampa or Anaheim I was curious to see who the talent scouts for the show had dug up. It turned out to be quite a scene of some of the city’s finest, mostly as yet “undiscovered” talent. I’m not naming names, but there was a singer from a top burlesque troop, a well know trombone based band and a crazy Ukranian band just as a tantalizing wink, wink.

We showed up at the Hyatt Regency at 1:30pm for our 2pm audition and finally turned in our paperwork at 2:30. They asked all kinds of questions about why we think we’re America’s next great talent, who our heroes are, events that have impacted our lives, struggles we’ve faced keeping the act going, etc. When we finally got called for our audition at 3:30 we were more than ready to head in.

Now, you will recall that this songbird was battling laryngitis. My nerves were steeled to push through, and the whole performance was to be only 90 seconds anyway. Since we were allowed only acoustic instruments, we decided two guitars were better than one and invited Chris Adkins, a guitarist and singer who’s been playing with us in New Orleans and who came with us to Colorado last summer to round out Joe Ransom on guitar and of course, Dave Brouillette on upright bass. We did “Satin Sheets”, a song made famous by Jeanne Pruett in 1973 and has a powerful vocal melody, gets right to the chorus and has a great harmony part. I should also mention that they specified that the selection should be a cover song. Here’s a good video of her version:

We walked into the room and there was a woman on her laptop sitting at the table who didn’t even look up. The handler who led us in took a picture of us holding our number and then another guy came in and sat at the table. First things first…we performed, my voice held up although I wish it had been stronger but all in all I think we did a great job. Then there was the Q&A with the fella at the table. So here are answers to those questions like, “What happens next?”

They don’t make any decisions until January and basically, if they call you back for the second round, that’s when you audition in Los Angeles in front of the celebrity judges from the show. Then if you make it through THAT it’s a week long process in Vegas and the final round is the show where you spend four days in Los Angeles for rehearsals and the taping of the show. And they let you know ahead of time to make sure that’s all something feasible for you to do. If you get selected they want to make sure you’re not going to bow out unexpectedly because you can’t get time off from your “real job.” So now you know how it works.

They also asked what we hoped to get out of the process. Although my joke usually goes something like, “people die from exposure” there didn’t really seem to be any better answer. And apparently there was a band a few seasons back who only made it to the second round, got 30 seconds of tv time and were able to parlay that into upping their asking price and tons of new fans. The first round judge also seemed quite impressed when he asked if we were on iTunes and we replied “yes and we’re also on Pandora.” Eyebrows went up. Our impression is that the foks at American’s Got Talent are interested in working with acts that already have something going for themselves and know how to translate any exposure into tangible results. Do we fit the bill? Only time will tell.

My Halloween in New Orleans

“Halloween is finally over” I said with mixed feelings of relief, longing and fond rememberence. Until last week we had been staying in Marrero with our bass player Dave’s mom. It (mostly) kept us out trouble but we needed to be closer to downtown so that we could be walking (er, stumbling) distance from all the festivities. We took a friend up on her generous offer and spent the weekend right outside the French Quarter in the Marigny. And use the facilities we did indeed. So much so that it took me two days to recover. Literally.

New Orleans is, of course a well known destination for Mardi Gras madness and the Jazz and Heritage Festival, but throngs of party goers have been flocking to the Crescent City for All Hallows Eve for years. And for good reason. The city has ghost stories gallore going back hundreds of years and even some more recent ones that would curdle your blood. (Keep your ears peeled for a new Gal Holiday song based on the American Murder Ballads of yore.) And now that the Voodoo Music Experience has become such a popular music festival, the city is even more swollen with folks itching to kick up their heels.

And it was a night of ghosties and ghoulies in abundance on the steets along with plenty of young gals proud to show off a little skin. In fact, our show on Saturday at Banks Street Bar got a little shaken up by a posterior flasher and her mud flap girl tattoos. Truck driving songs always seem to get ’em going and it’s not every day a woman pulls her pants down for us.

Where was I? Oh yes, Halloween. To brass bands galore, we walked down the overflowing Frenchmen Street, a favorite of locals and tourists alike and we popped around the corner to Checkpoint Charlie’s. It’s a place where bikers, hippies, boat captains and people who need to do their laundry while drinking tend to congregate. It’s also the place where Gal Holiday first got our feet wet, way back in 2004 and where we learned how to deal with obnoxious drunk people during our show. And nothing much has changed of course. Although the clienele has changed slightly over the years, as has the management they still know how to make a damn good late night burger and pack in the crowds.

I had my introduction to Spoonfed Tribe this year, and they were great but the real treat of the evening was Voodoo Town, the band who played before them. Our friend, trumpeter and loop master extraordinare, Trace Barfield and his bandmates were in fine, improvisational form and they left me wishing I’d gotten there earlier to see more of their show. All in all it was a wild time in the French Quarter but we had places to go, people, places to go.

My ultimate destination was Mimi’s in the Marigny ( where we’ll be playing one more time on Nov. 10th) and a very special lady named, Meschiya Lake. She’s the ultimate siren of song and occasionally of debauchery, too. She and dem Little Big Horns really make my feet go tippety tap and my heart go pitter patter with their jitterbug, classic jazz sound. They were a joy to listen to as was Meschiya’s friend from New York who sang a couple numbers with the band. Wish I gotten her name and BOY do I wish I had gotten more pictures of the night. I took about two and they stink. So much for a photo blog.

Most of the rest of the night is a blur but as I said, we were stumbling distance to home. Until next year, New Orleans. Oh wait, we’re here through Thanksgiving. More time for trouble. Except that we’re back in Marrero…and headed to Mimi’s tonight.