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!

Photo courtesy: Eliot Kamenitz

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,

“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

Springing: Get the News, Buckaroos!

Has it been almost a month since I last wrote to y’all? It has indeed and what a month it has been. I feel that time is flying by at such a rapid pace that I can scarcely keep up. Although I’m trying to get ahead of the wave, it’s definitely been a wild 2013 so far.

My trip to South America with the Squirrel Nut Zippers was intense and a lot of fun. It was nice to have someone else doing the “work” part of the job. All I had to do was show up to sing and dance! I’ll post a link to the pictures from the group on the SNZ Facebook page if anyone cares to take a look see. There are tons of comments, pictures and videos up there already, too.

It is GREAT to be back home though, and performing with the Gal Holiday band again. The last few shows in February were totally fun and I missed our musical family while I was gone! We’ve already had one show in March, last Saturday at Mojitos and there are many more on the books (and the website) since I last wrote. We start TONIGHT, Tuesday 3/12 at the Hard Rock Cafe with a our first show on Bourbon Street EVER. Their new location is hiring local acts on Tuesday nights and we’re happy to pop our Bourbon Street cherry. Come be a witness to the carnage, if you dare.

We’ll also be at Rock ‘n’ Bowl’s Swing Night again this week on Wednesday 3/13 and are making a return to the Circle Bar on Friday night, 3/15, Dave James in tow. Many great memories were made there over the years, including a Gal Holiday fueled introducion resulting in a Gal Holiday wedding reception!

This Saturday afternoon, 3/16 is a very special event on the westbank benefitting Cafe Hope, where they help at-risk young adults get training in the restaurant and hospitality industries while serving the public great food. There is to be a BBQ contest and live music all day long, so bring the family out for some daytime fun!

Again, sorry for any delay in my communications resulting in any missing of Gal Holiday shows. Please note that the best way to get the info is to check our website regularly. I write these newsletters when I can but I’ve been writing music, too! There are only so many hours in a day which brings me back to my opening lines.

Here comes the tidal wave…

Your gal pal,

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

Tuesday 3/12 @ Hard Rock Cafe (NOLA); 10pm-1am
Wednesday 3/13 @ Rock ‘n’ Bowl; 8pm-11pm
Friday 3/15 @ Circle Bar (NOLA); 10pm-1am
Saturday 3/16 @ Westbank BBQ Cookoff to benefit Cafe Hope (Marrero); 2pm-3pm (Gal Holiday set)
Friday 3/22 @ Chickie Wah Wah (NOLA); 10pm-12am
Saturday 3/23 @ The BMC (NOLA); 9pm-12am
Thursday 3/28 @ Siberia (NOLA) w/ Lynn Drury; order TBA
Friday 3/29 @ Old Point Bar; 10 pm-1am
Sunday 3/31 Easter Sunday show! @ Kajun’s Pub (NOLA); 5pm-9pm

Post Carnival “Normalcy”

It’s Friday night and I’m sitting at home, keeping an eye on a sick kitty who is sleeping on the sofa next to me. The past few days have been spent catching up on things that fell through the cracks over the past week or so, mainly dishes and booking. No one in New Orleans functions “normally” during Mardi Gras, and unless you’ve been here to experience it firsthand there’s no way to relate it to anything else in terms of how much you have to rearrange your priorities. We had a great time this year though, even if it WAS more than a little weird to take a week off for SuperBowl. Below are a few pictures of our magical and foggy Mardi Gras, two I captured and one taken by our friend, Thaddeus who is the fella dressed as Star Trek crew with Dave in photo #1. Brian “Big Country” Ayres of our brother band, Country Fried and his lovely family are the subject of the third photo.

Vanessa and Dave - Mardi Gras 2013

A Foggy Mardi Gras

The Ayres' FamilySO, now that we’re “back to normal” here in New Orleans let me just say “PHEW!” and reconnect on a couple of things. Firstly is the previously mentioned Kickstarter campaign, still in limbo for a new album we’re writing for. With festival season fast approaching we’ve decided to push our deadline back until June, which will allow more time to do everything we need to get done. Please look out for the announcement of the Kickstarter, which I should be able to make active by mid-March.

Also, some of you may be aware that I was invited to sing leads with the acclaimed band, Squirrel Nut Zippers, albeit on a very part time basis. I’ll be heading to South America (!) with them in a little over a week for a short, three day trip to Ecudor and Colombia. After only one show with their band last September it’s a little nerve wracking, but also quite an honor as I’ve been a huge fan since the mid-90’s. Wish me luck! I’ll take pictures…

Before I head down south though, there are a few more Gal Holiday shows here in Louisiana and I’m looking forward to playing again! We’ve definitely been playing less shows that we’re used to and I’m
getting antsy.

There’s only one chance to catch us this weekend and that’s Saturday 2/16 at our old haunt, The BMC or Balcony Music Club. If you’ve been seeing us for a while you might have come to one of our Sunday evening shows that we played there for two years. While this isn’t going to turn into a weekly show again, it IS still a great room and we hope you’ll join us if you’re in town.

Next week we’ll be back at Mimi’s in the Marigny on Thursday 2/21 with our quartet and then a return to Mid-City Lanes Rock ‘n’ Bowl on Friday 2/22. We’re FINALLY making a return to Baton Rouge on Saturday 2/23 for a show at the new, and apparently super cool new venue, Mud and Water in downtown. As always, check our website for more info!

And now that we’re done with “Super Gras” we move on to festival season. I’m proud to announce that we’ll be making appearances at both French Quarter Festival and JazzFest again this year! If you’re headed to New Orleans for the fests, we hope to see you.

Keep dreaming of spring…

Your gal pal,

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

It’s Carnival Time

It’s Mardi Gras time in New Orleans. And yes, the Super Bowl has just landed here. Welcome to any of our fans who are visiting us this week. It’s a crazy world out there! This email will be brief and then I’ll let you get on with more important things…

Thanks to everyone who came out to our one and only show last week at Mojitos on Friday. Up until today the weather has been so lovely in New Orleans and it was truly a perfect night for a little courtyard concert. I was also reminded that it’s been a while since my last email, a couple of fans finding out about the show last minute. Please remember to check our website regularly for updates to the schedule. New stuff sneaks in all the time!

We’re getting in on the Super Bowl action this week and playing two shows on Friday at the Super Bowl Boulevard, staged on the riverfront at Woldenburg Park. There’s more info on the band line-up as well as a downloadable map HERE. This is a FREE event and New Orleans knows how to make a party, so join in the revelry!

Also this week is our return to the Rock ‘n’ Bowl TONIGHT (Wednesday) for swing night and on Thursday we strip it down for Mimi’s in the Marigny. Then it’s Mardi Gras week and three chances to see us, starting with a Tuesday night show with Jayson Wayne Knox at Siberia. We have an exciting show next Friday, February 8th at Chickie Wah Wah. We’re calling it “The Hillbilly Ball” and we’ve teamed up with our friends, The Haunted Hearts. They don’t have a website but you can read about their experience meeting Hunter S. Thomson at the Circle Bar by clicking that link. And check out the poster I “designed.” It’s no professional job but you get the idea.

And just a quick mention of a new, monthly show at Mojitos we’ll be doing called Second Saturdays which starts on February 9th and continues through the spring. Now you know where to find us every second Saturday! As always, please check out our website for more info on all the upcoming shows.

This is me, signing off. A Happy Mardi Gras to everyone. And Happy Super Bowl…may the best team win. Down here we’ll be wearing our Black & Gold, but secrectly I’ll be rooting for Baltimore. I am a Maryland girl, after all.Be safe, be smart but most of all…have fun!

Your gal pal,

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

Please join and share the Facebook events to help us spread the word!

Wednesday 1/30 @ Mid City Lanes Rock ‘n’ Bowl (NOLA); 8:30pm-11:30pm Facebook event
Thursday 1/31 @ Mimi’s in the Marigny (NOLA); Gal Holiday Quartet 9pm-12am Facebook event
Friday 2/1 @ Woldenberg Park (NOLA); Verizon Super Bowl Boulevard 12:15pm-1:30pm (AFC Stage) AND 3:15pm-4:45pm (South End Zone Stage) Facebook event
Tuesday 2/4 @ Siberia (NOLA); w/ Jayson Wayne Knox 9pm-12am Facebook event
Friday 2/8  @ Chickie Wah Wah (NOLA); The Hillbilly Ball 9:30pm-1am Facebook event
Saturday 2/9 @ Mojitos Rum Bar (NOLA); 7:30pm-10:30pm Facebook event
Friday 2/16 @ The BMC (NOLA); 9pm-12am Facebook event
Thursday 2/21 @ Mimi’s in the Marigny; 9pm-12am
Friday 2/22 @ Mid City Lanes Rock ‘n’ Bowl (NOLA); 9:30pm-1am Facebook event
Saturday 2/23 @ Mud and Water (Baton Rouge); 10pm-11:30pm Facebook event

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.