2018 Band Bio's by Bob Adamek
Taj Mahal Trio
Three time Grammy winner Taj Mahal will be headlining the Main Stage on Sunday this year! Taj has released 27 studio albums over his 50-year career and brings to Crawfish Fest a literal lifetime of experience that has seen the entire world as a road musician. Crawfish Fest is incredibly proud to present this blues legend; this is a set you do not want to miss!
Tab Benoit, as a performer, is many things at the same time. He can be a captivating storyteller, a comedian, a shredding blues guitarist, a drummer, or any number of other things, and many times you can see all of that in one show. But what he always is, is an honest and soulful performer, a great writer selling his songs with emotion that’s as plain to see as his well-worn arsenal of road weary Fender Telecasters. Tab is a long time Crawfish Fest favorite and is the Saturday Main Stage headliner. With so many of Tab’s NOLA friends on site, this might be the type of set to draw a festival favorite, the sit-in.
Jon Cleary Trio
Jon Cleary won a long awaited and well-deserved Gammy in 2016 for his newest release GoGo Juice, his 8th album and is currently recording a new studio record. After 35 years of playing funk and R&B piano, Jon has become respected as an important cog in New Orleans’ lineage of piano geniuses. Jon has written songs for such musical heavy weights as Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal and John Scofield as well as touring with them and many more like Dr. John and B.B. King. This year Crawfish Fest is proud to have Jon Cleary and his trio headline the Friday night Campers and King Crawfish Krewe ticket holders set on the Bulleit Bourbon Stage.
Samantha Fish’s debut album “Runaway” won a Blues Music ”Best New Artist Debut” award in 2012. Fish came back this past November releasing her sixth studio album, “Belle Of The West” which was produced by Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars. Samantha is a gifted guitar player that went to school on the old masters of blues and rock-n-roll alike, infusing those influences into her own song writing. Fish set the crowd on fire her first year at Crawfish Fest during a campers set and a sit in with the John Papa Gros Band, and again on the Pavilion Stage the next year. This year she hits the Main Stage on Sunday, June 3rd, right before the Sunday headliner, Taj Mahal!
George Porter Jr. and Runnin’ Pardners
George Porter Jr. is a beloved treasure of the Crescent City. George is the funky bass backbone of the Meters, a seminal funk band that changed the scope of music and influenced so many of the acts that will be at Crawfish Fest. George’s band, Runnin’ Pardners, play tail waggin’ funk that covers the music he wrote and played on over his entire career including the music he is writing now. Always smiling, Porter Jr. and Co. headline the Bulleit Bourbon Stage on Sunday this year.
The Stanton Moore plays straight jazz with three world class musicians and New Orleans giants, Stanton on drums, David Torkanowsky on piano and James Singleton on bass. Stanton has graced the Crawfish Fest stages several times with Galactic and a previous version of his trio, but this time he brings a band that has been playing steady gigs at Snug Harbor on Frenchmen St. and recorded two albums together. This band has a long lifetime of experienced musicians that know how to listen and react. There set will be the closer on Saturday night for campers and King Crawfish Krewe ticket holders only.
The accolades for blues singer/pianist Marcia Ball have stacked up substantially over a career that saw her first recording in 1972. She has been nominated five times for a Grammy and won five Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year awards, while being nominated 16 times. Marcia was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame (2012) and the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame (2010). Marcia tours on the strength of 14 studio records. A Crawfish Fest fan favorite, Marcia will be playing two sets this year, opening the Main Stage and closing the Bulleit Bourbon Stage, both on Saturday.
Bonerama makes every music festival they play better! Whether by their own tightly honed sets or when they sit-in with other bands like their 2012 Crawfish Fest sit-in with the Radiators, only 4 shows from the end of the Radiators career, or their equally amazing sit-in in 2007 with the New Orleans Social Club. Bonerama has helped redefine how music can be played, using three trombones to front a rock band. They can turn on a dime, funking up a Meters song one minute, then rocking a Led Zeppelin tune the next.
Bonerama, a perennial Crawfish Fest fan favorite, will be playing on the Main Stage right before Tab Benoit’s headlining set. Watch out!
Big Sam’s Funky Nation
Big Sam’s Funky Nation is one of New Orleans premier funk acts. Big Sam Williams, formerly of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, is a trombone player and MC styled front man extraordinaire. His audience call and response, and commands to dance will squeeze every bit of energy out of a crowd. During a Big Sam set there is little time for people to rest, put their arms down, or stop singing and screaming, and in the end everyone is left smiling or shaking their heads in disbelief at the level of energy of the band.
Big Sam will play for the campers and King Crawfish Krewe ticket holders on Saturday night this year and on Sunday on the Main Stage.
Amanda Shaw was a child prodigy, releasing her first record in 2001 at the age of 11. She is still only 27 and has an amazing wealth of experience and savvy, having toured the country again and again for over 19 years. A Cajun fiddle player, Amanda is not pigeon holed into only Cajun music as she has found ways to cross over her signature sound with all the gumbo that is New Orleans music. Amanda’s shows are super energetic and you have two chances to catch her this year on Sunday, as she opens the Main Stage and closes the Dance Hall!
Mike Farris, former lead singer of the Screaming Cheetah Wheelies, has been on his own since 2001. His voice is soulful and his music is a sweet mix of Gospel and blues. He won a Grammy in 2015 for his album Shine For All People. This is Mike’s first time at Crawfish Fest and he will be playing on the Bulleit Bourbon Stage on Sunday right before George Porter Jr and Runnin’ Pardners.
Ryan Montbleau Band
Ryan Montbleau has been playing, recording and relentlessly touring for around 18 years now. He comes to Crawfish Fest on the strength of his latest album I Was Just Leaving, which has Anders Osborne producing as well as playing drums, guitar, bass, percussion and harmonica. Ryan’s voice is unique and soulful. This is Ryan’s first trip to Crawfish Fest and you can catch him on Saturday on the Bulleit Bourbon Stage right before headliner Marcia Ball.
Brandon “Taz” Niederauer
Looking at the career of Brandon “Taz” Niederauer seems like it is a glance at a long career for a top level pro, not a tiny slice of time for a 14 year old. Taz started playing guitar at 8, by the time he was 12 he was cast in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Broadway Production of School of Rock. Along the way his soulful playing has put him under the wing of many of today’s top pros. Taz is a regular guest of many New Orleans bands like Dumpstaphunk, Galactic, The Revivalists and George Porter Jr. as well as playing with Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Buddy Guy, Stevie Nicks, Lady Gaga, Slash, Gary Clark Jr., Dr. John and many many more. Yes he is really 14 and is well worth your time to check out. His amazing performance at Crawfish Fest last year on the Workshop Stage earned him a slot on the Main Stage this year on Saturday.
Honey Island Swamp Band
Honey Island Swamp Band are Crawfish Fest veterans who show off some of the great diversity of New Orleans music. Their hall mark is great song writing, blending Americana with a New Orleans gumbo of country, folk, funk and R&B. The principal songwriters are guitarist Chris Mule` and Mandolin/guitar player Aaron Wilkinson, backed by a rhythm section of bassist Sam Price, drummer Garland Paul and keyboardist Trevor Brooks. Honey Island have been growing fast in popularity ever since their start in post Katrina San Francisco. Getting prime slots at music festivals all over the country, they are longtime Crawfish Fest fan favorites and will be opening up the Saturday night festivities for campers and King Crawfish Krewe ticket holders.
Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys
Rosie Ledet is the sultry Queen of Zydeco music. Rosie has filled 11 albums with soulful grooves and double entendres, something she has become quite well known for, including her most recent album RAW! (2015). She and her band have been stretching far from their roots in southwest Louisiana, touring all over the U.S. and Europe. There are two chances to see Rosie this year, on Friday night for campers and King Crawfish Krewe ticket holders, and closing the Dance Hall on Saturday evening.
& The Creole Cowboys
Jeffery Broussard was born into the Zydeco tradition, his father being accordion player Delton Broussard. His band, The Creole Cowboys put a modern take on Zydeco classics as well as their own songs. Jeffery was voted "Accordionist of the Year" - Zydeco Music & Creole Heritage Awards 2007, and will be playing in the Dance Hall on Saturday this year.
Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone is an amazing harmonica player, singer and front man. In his previous trips to Crawfish Fest it seemed like he managed to sit in with everyone, as well as crushing his own sets. He has 9 studio albums to draw from including 2012’s The Lord Is Waiting And The Devil Is Too, which was nominated for four Blues Music Awards, and walked away with Song of the Year for the title track. Johnny plays the Bulleit Bourbon Stage on Sunday this year.
Cutting their teeth on NYC stages, multi instrumentalist Katie Henry and her band are excited to grace the stage at this years Crawfish Fest. From fiery guitar duals between Katie and her guitar player, to her sultry vocals over her soul influenced blues tunes, her performance is reminiscent of Susan Tedeschi, Bonnie Raitt, and Ruthie Foster. Katie jokes that she never had a choice in getting into music because she has been going to music festivals since she was kid, Crawfish Fest being her favorite. Katie is looking forward to play the Crawfish Fest for the second time.
Katie will be kicking off the entire Crawfish Fest schedule on Friday for campers and King Crawfish Krewe on the Bulleit Bourbon Stage.
Brother Joscephus and the Love Revolution
Brother Joscephus and the Love Revolution will be making their third appearance at Crawfish Fest this year. Brother Joscephus and company draw their influence from several places well known by the Crawfish Fest faithful, Gospel, R&B and New Orleans. It is not uncommon to hear all three in one of their well thought out arrangements. The band is large and horn driven, with lead vocals and tight harmonies coming from several members, helping to keep a fresh sound in tune after tune. The band is soulful and funky, highly energetic and leaves it all out on the stage.
Terry and the Zydeco Bad Boys
Formed in 2001 in Duson Louisiana, you can catch Terry and the Zydeco Bad Boys in the Dance Hall on Sunday this year, playing their brand of traditional Zydeco with a little funk, right before the Sunday headliner, Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys.
The five piece Zydeco Revelators kick off the Sunday Dance Hall sets at Crawfish Fest this year. The Revelators have delivered Louisiana styled Cajun and Zydeco music to festivals and clubs all over NJ since around 2014. There set hits right after the free Cajun/Zydeco dance lessons, get there early and don’t miss out!
Jenny and the Felines
Jenny and the Felines are a four piece rock and roll band from the home state of New Jersey. They will open up the festival’s Dance Hall on Saturday, coming to Crawfish Fest on the strength of their second album, 2017’s Don’t Judge Me.
Anthony Morgan’s Inspirational Choir of Harlem
Formed by Anthony Morgan in 2008, Anthony Morgan’s Inspirational Choir of Harlem has played concerts and festivals all over the world. They have been at Crawfish Fest in the past and this year they will be performing one of the most favorite sets at Crawfish fest, the Sunday morning Gospel set. The group has performed and recorded with some of our nation’s best-known talent such as Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and Gladys Knight. Be there early, you don’t want to miss this!