We, The People

This week was a rough one for all Americans. I’ll not say too much about the Boston terror bombings except that no matter what happens, we’re all in this crazy life together and as a strong people, will make it through. Our thoughts are with all the Bostonian Buckaroos and their families.

On a more positive note, this year’s 30th Annual French Quarter Fest weekend was spectacular as usual and we were honored to be included for the sixth year in a row. Y’all came out in force for our show on the river and from all over the world, too. Hey, St. Louis! Hey, Colorado! And hello, San Francisco! Still though, we have yet to see one single picture from our performance, if you can believe it. (Post facto note: there are actually two cell phone photos up on my personal page…thanks Roblynn and Ron!) Please share the love by posting any photos on our Facebook page. If you’re not on social media you can email photos to the band by simply replying to this email. We’d really appreciate it!

I wanted to send a HUGE “Thank You!” to everyone who expressed your support both in person and financially to the family of Allison Pitcher, our friend and long time fan who passed suddenly a few weeks ago. The turnout at the benefit was awesome! You can still make a donation to the family online by clicking here to go to the website.

Tonight brings the Big Easy Entertainment Awards at Harrah’s Casino, and while Gal Holiday was not nominated, I was asked to be a presenter again this year. I’ll be wearing another beautiful dress from Trashy Diva, the fabulous New Orleans dress shop who sponsored the New Orleans Nightingales this year for French Quarter Fest. (Did you see the picture of the ‘Gales FQF performance yet? Now THERE’S an eyeful….) Trashy Diva has graciously sponsored me for both the awards show tonight AND our JazzFest performances. Too bad the guys in Gal Holiday don’t wear dresses. Great…now I’m picturing them all in frocks and it’s a little frightening!

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Photo courtesy: Eliot Kamenitz

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Photo courtesy: Babs Evangelista

20130422-141925.jpgFais Do Do @ The Maison – Photo courtesy: Vanessa Murphree

And that of course brings us to the upcoming New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and all the build up prior. We’ve got some great shows lined up this season! Unfortunately we had one cancellation due to ongoing noise ordinance issues in the city. Mimi’s in the Marigny has been served with a court injunction to cease and desist from all music. As far as I know that includes all Deejays, too.

This issue is a many sided one and you can find tons of extra reading on the subject by doing an online search. Being a musician and having lived in the boisterous French Quarter, I certainly have my opinions, of course. My feeling is that if you need peace and quiet you shouldn’t be living in this city. That said, there ARE quiet neighborhoods here. Shocking, I know. I do however, agree that too much noise can be downright annoying and that there should be rules and regulations. (All of which Mimi’s have complied with, FYI.)

Anyway, we’re trying to find a replacement show for the cancelled one next Thursday 5/2. Does anyone feel like hosting a house party? If you’re curious how that would work, please contact me. Also, keep an eye on our online schedule. Stuff pops up last minute all the time!

This week we’ll do a pre-Fest show at Rock ‘n’ Bowl for Swing Night on Wednesday 4/24. If you still haven’t been to this local insitution I will not chastise but simply encourage you to check it out! Friday 4/26 you can find us in the CBD at The Rusty Nail, which is the old Mermaid Lounge for those of you who go back that far. The fellas who own the bar have done a really beautiful renovation and it just keeps improving over the years.

On Saturday night 4/27, the ever tiny and super stellar Three Muses is the destination with our four piece band. Get there early and don’t be scared to squish…the food is superb and the service is, too. Then we have a few days off to fest with the rest and for me at least, celebrate a birthday! I feel like such a lucky gal to have my birthday during JazzFest each year. All the bulls in the house say, “Oh yea-yer!”

I’ll try to get another email out before the second weekend and our performance out at the fairgrounds on the second Friday. “Try” being the operative word. Once we get started we might just roll straight on through. We’re VERY excited about our slot this year, opening the Gentilly Stage for the great Willie Nelson! So please make sure to check our website, like us on Facebook and even follow me on Twitter. Plus, all the dates through both JazzFest weekends are below so keep scrolling.

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 4/24 @ Rock ‘n’ Bowl 3000 S. Carrollton Ave. (NOLA); 8:30pm-11:30pm
Friday 4/26 @ The Rusty Nail 1100 Constance St. (NOLA); 10pm-1am
Saturday 4/11 @ Three Muses 536 Frenchmen St. (NOLA); 9pm-12am
Wednesday 5/1 @ Siberia w/ opener Gregory Good 2227 St. Claude Ave. (NOLA); Gregory Good opens solo acoustic @ 9pm; Gal Holiday 10pm-1am
Thursday 5/2 @ TBA
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 @ TBA

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JazzFest: Week One!

JazzFest started off with a bang last Thursday and just kept right on until yesterday. One day of rest today and then we get thrown back into it. There’s so much to write about and you folks who didn’t make it into town have been asking, so here goes my recap of Saturday and our performance.

Our set on the Gentilly Stage was an amazing experience. Dave and I had made a goal a few months back to do a mostly original set this year, which we met. Before leaving out from Los Angeles in late March we uploaded six new, original demos for free download on our website. Go get you some! Four of them made it into the line-up along with our originals on Set Two, one from our first release and some popular covers we play. Deciding to take a chance, we closed out the show with a cover of Pat Benetar’s song, Love is a Battlefield which the very talented guitar player, Chris Adkins did a killer arrangement of. We were asked to learn it for The Big Easy Awards and it was so much fun that we decided to add it in! Someone caught the last couple of minutes on camera, too which is super cool. Click here to view it! And here’s another video of our version of, Plastic Jesus.

Joining on stage was my long time musical, business and all around partner, David Brouillette (upright bass) as well as Chris Adkins (guitar), Dave James (guitar), Steve Spitz (pedal steel guitar), Clyde Thompson (fiddle) and Chris Pylant (drums).

JazzFest 2012 Gal Holiday set

Cryin’ Over You
Give Up Honky Tonkin’
Rainy Nights, Sunny Days
Not The One For You
Don’t Think Twice
The Long Black Ribbon
Louisiana Waltz
You Mean The World To Me
Send Me Away
Plastic Jesus
I’m Coming Home
Love Is A Battlefield

After out set was over I had a quick word with festival promoter, Quint Davis and then booked it to the CD tent for a signing. This is the first year I was asked to do one and I felt quite honored! Three sisters, all under 10 came with their mom toward the end and I have never been so entertained. They were all dressed in hot pink and chatted with me, telling jokes and generally cracking me up. What a time!

Then Dave picked me up and we went back to the Gentilly Stage where an air-conditioned trailer awaited. By this time the backstage area was starting to become a literal circus with the arrival of the New Orleans Bingo! Show. I got a cute snap of Dave with our good friend, cellist Helen Gillet and he took one of me with another friend, vocalist extraordinaire Debbie Davis.

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It’s a shame to go to JazzFest and not eat the food…and I’m not talking about the sandwich plate in the trailer. I dashed off to get some crawfish bread and a couple of beers while Amanda Shaw was setting up. The festival provides awesome viewing stands in the wings at the two biggest stages and we took full advantage while eating our snacks. We have two friends in the band, Tim Robertson (guitar) and Ronnie Falgout (bass) and the show was really great. I’ve been watching Amanda for years, as we all have in New Orleans and as she grows up (21!) she is really becoming one hell of a performer. She’s got the moves down and puts on a super show.

Want more? Because there’s more…

Having a four o’clock interview scheduled with WWOZ in the Hospitality Tent, I popped into the paddock and the Lagniappe Stage for a shady seat to watch Meschiya Lake and dem Little Big Horns. She is one of my favorite singers in New Orleans and has been picking up steam in NOLA and far beyond. If you like traditional style jazz singing you HAVE to check her out.

I also made sure to get to the Fais Do Do Stage to see the Carolina Chocolate Drops who I have loved ever since hearing a piece on NPR years ago. They are dedicated to creating fresh takes on African-American songs that helped to shape popular music in America. Y’all know how much I love the history of music, so of course I love their band! They are so terrific on stage; fiddle, banjo and guitar all singing and stomping. They added a cellist, too which I was happy to hear included on their album that I received as a birthday gift on Sunday.

The craziest thing about walking around JazzFest after our set this year was that I felt like somewhat of a rockstar, which is a new thing to me. I can’t tell you how many times during the day I was stopped to sign autographs, take photos or chat. It’s really amazing, totally humbling and we have you guys to thank for it. Lots of love to all our fans and here’s to JazzFest Week Two!

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Photo: Ed Treece

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Photo: Lucas Davenport

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Photo: Ron O’Connor

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Photo: JonGunnar Gylfason