2016 Band Bio's by Bob Adamek
Art Neville and George Porter Jr. of the funky Meters were pioneers at the center of the creation of funk. Their legacy has inspired countless bands from New Orleans and around the world, many of whom are repeat performers at Crawfish Fest such as Galactic, Bonerama and Dumpstaphunk. That legacy is kept alive and well by Neville, Porter Jr. and their band mates Terrence Houston and Brian Stoltz.
True stylistic innovators, their songs like Cissy Strut, Hey Pockey A-Way and Fire on the Bayou have become standards that cross genres and can be heard by bands that play Cajun, zydeco, brass band and traditional jazz. They have moved the cultural needle in New Orleans, greatly helping to shape the music scene in a city that is largely defined by its music scene. The funky Meters will be closing the Main Stage on Sunday, June 5th this year, a set that is not to be missed.
George Porter Jr. will also be doing a music workshop on the Workshop Stage!
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, a Crawfish Fest fan favorite, will be closing the Pavilion Stage on Sunday, June 5th and doing one of the wildly popular music workshops on the Workshop Stage.
From Good Homes
Formed in the late 1980’s by high school friends in northwestern NJ, From Good Homes enjoyed major success through the 1990’s, playing gigs with fellow 90’s rockers Dave Mathews, Hootie and the Blowfish and Blues Traveler. Their blend of folk, jam band and Celtic music won them a large following until their break up in 1999, when each of the members went on to successful solo careers, most notably principal songwriter Todd Sheaffer, who formed the hugely successful Railroad Earth.
From Good Homes annual concerts at Stanhope NJ’s Waterloo Village were a staple during the 1990’s, and on Saturday June 4th they return to Northwest NJ, their third appearance Crawfish Fest.
Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen
Jon Cleary won a long awaited and well deserved Gammy this year for his newest release GoGo Juice, his 8th album. 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 and his Absolute Monster Gentlemen closing the Pavilion Stage on Saturday. Jon will also be doing a music workshop on the Workshop Stage!
Cowboy Mouth’s 2011 set at Crawfish Fest left the main stage fans absolutely buzzing. As they closed out their set with their biggest hit, “Jenny Says,” drummer and lead singer Fred LeBlanc started to invite kids that were close to the front, up on stage to play drums with him. Five kids were lifted up onto the stage, given drum sticks and the chance of a lifetime, to play drums at the peak of a huge rock-n-roll show. The crowd was inspired, the kids were psyched and when they finally got to join in, the fairgrounds exploded. You couldn’t find someone that wasn’t smiling.
Cowboy Mouth returns to Crawfish Fest on Sunday this year, right before the funky Meters closing set. The band is simply an adrenaline injection, touring behind 10 studio albums, the most recent being 2014’s Go!
Amanda Shaw was a child prodigy, releasing her first record in 2001 at the age of 11. She is still only 25 and has an amazing wealth of experience and savvy, having toured the country again and again for over 17 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.
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 closing out the Friday night Campers and King Crawfish Krewe sets.
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 maintained.
Big Sam will play for the campers and King Crawfish Krewe on Saturday night this year.
Samantha Fish’s debut album “Runaway” won a Blues Music ”Best New Artist Debut” award in 2012. Fish came back this past September releasing “Black Wind Howlin’” which was produced by former Royal Southern Brotherhood guitarist Mike Zito and has had her blues trio out on the road in Europe and the United States ever since. 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 last year during a campers set and a sit in with the John Papa Gros Band. This year she hits the Pavilion stage on Sunday, June 5th.
Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas
Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas won the 2015 Clifton Chenier Lifetime Achievement Award, owing to 30+ years of excellence in Zydeco touring and recording. The award is especially fitting since Clifton Chenier is Nathan Williams biggest and earliest inspiration. Zydeco is soulful, fast paced music designed to get you up off your feet and dancing with the band. Nathan’s relentless pursuit of this has made him an international star. You can check out Nathan closing out the Dance Hall on Sunday, June 5th.
David Greely Trio
David Greely was the founding fiddle player in the Mamou Playboys while touring folk festivals around the world for 23 years with them. He was nominated for four Grammy Awards and has received the Louisiana Artist Fellowship Award for Folklife Performance. Traveling with his trio David is bringing Cajun music to a new level, born from a lifetime of study. You will have two chances to see the worldliness that David brings to all forms of Cajun music on Saturday and Sunday June 4th and 5th in the Dance Hall.
The Revelers are made up of founding members of the Red Stick Ramblers and the Pine Leaf Boys. Their second album Get Ready was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Regional Roots category. Combining Swamp Pop, Cajun and Zydeco the Revelers get to rock the Dance Hall stage on Saturday June 4th and Sunday June 5th at this year’s Crawfish Fest.
Papa Mali has been writing, playing and touring since the 70’s, amassing an impressive list of bandmates and musical credential. He recently led the 7 Walkers with Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead), George Porter Jr. (Meters) and Matt Hubbard (Willie Nelson), in which he wrote much of the group’s material with long time Grateful Dead collaborator, Robert Hunter. Papa Mali will bring his own band to the Crawfish Fest Main Stage on Saturday, June 4th.
Mike Zito and the Wheel
Mike has played Crawfish Fest before as a member of the star studded Royal Southern Brotherhood. This year Mike brings his band, the Wheel, to Crawfish Fest for a campers and King Crawfish Krewe set on Saturday night. The Wheel has been playing together since 2012 and has Mike’s handpicked dream lineup of Jimmy Carpenter on sax, Scot Sutherland on bass and Rob Lee on drums. The vocals are powerful and soulful while the band plays with the well-worn tightness of highly experienced veterans.
The band Flow Tribe is making its Crawfish Fest debut at a campers and King Crawfish Krewe set on Friday, June 3rd. The six man unit, made up of New Orleans natives has played the main stages multiple times at Voodoo Fest and Jazz Fest. The band plays live with ferocious energy, basing their music in deep grooves, they effortlessly move between funk, R&B, Reggae and the special gumbo that permeates all of New Orleans music. Flow Tribe’s high energy stage shows are not to be missed; they engage the crowd, sometimes play out in the crowd and leave their fans happy.
Since 2010, the Brass-a-Holics have been taking their unique sound around the world. Steeped in the deep musical culture of New Orleans, the band brings a heavy dose of go-go funk to the New Orleans brass sound. In a blending of musical cultures stemming from cities separated by more than a thousand miles, a Brass-a-Holics live show takes the New Orleans brass band culture and infuses it with the electricity of Washington D.C.'s go-go. The resulting sound is both captivating and unique. The band consists of core New Orleans brass elements- trumpet, trombone, saxophone- and adds a full drum set, percussion, keyboard, bass and electric guitar, giving the band limitless options to explore new sonic territory. Whether performing their original music or using the framework of hit pop songs as springboards for fiery improvisations, there is something in the set to appeal to every music fan. Once the music starts, the demographics blend and a brand new experience is created- one that leaves one-of-a-kind memories that live on long after the last note. Catch them on the Main Stage on Saturday, June 4th.
Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes
Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes is about to pass their 15th anniversary, a feat which caused front man, Johnny Sketch (Marc Paradis), to reflect “We have pretty much the same line up, especially since Hurricane Katrina. That is a pretty big milestone to me. The best part of this band is the drive to move forward”.
This is Johnny Sketch’s third trip to Crawfish Fest. Marc spoke about his excitement to play this festival again “I was ready to come back about the minute it ended last time. There aren’t too many festivals like this throughout the country, where there are so many bands from New Orleans, and the bands and the fans are all on the same page”.
Cha Wa provides a most unique opportunity to see masking Mardi Gras Indians performing outside of New Orleans. Cha Wa is fronted by Honey Banister, Big Chief of the Creole Wild West tribe and J’Wan Boudreaux, grandson of Big Chief Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles. The band, led by drummer Joe Gelini, is recording their first album Funk’n’Feathers, produced by Galactic’s Ben Ellman. This is a serious Mardi Gras Indian funk band in the tradition of the Wild Tchoupitoulas and Wild Magnolias. They hit the Pavilion Stage on Saturday, June 4th.
The five piece Zydeco Revelators have the honor of kicking off Crawfish Fest this year with a Friday night campers and King Crawfish Krewe set on the Pavilion Stage on Friday, June 3rd. The Revelators have delivered Louisiana styled Cajun and Zydeco music to festivals clubs all over NJ for the last couple of years, get there early and don’t miss out!
Alexis P. Suter Band
The Sunday morning main stage opening slot at Crawfish Fest has been the territory of many great Gospel bands over the years, and this year the Alexis P. Suter Band has that honor. Known for Gospel influenced blues, Alexis was a favorite performer of the late great Levon Helm. Suter opened for Helm on many dates and played at Levon’s famous Midnight Ramble, which resulted in an acclaimed CD/DVD Live at The Midnight Ramble. This will be the bands third Crawfish Fest appearance.
King James and the Special Men
Plying original New Orleans R&B, as well as like sounding originals,King James and the Special Men have gained the reputation of a “Must see” act when visiting New Orleans. That reputation has been spreading through the rest of the country now and they even landed a gig at Lincoln Center in New York City. King James established themselves by playing a regular Monday night gig at BJ’s Lounge in New Orleans, which lasted over five years. The regular Monday nighter has since been moved to Sidney’s Saloon and the demand for the band has taken them on the road. You can check them out at Crawfish Fest on Sunday, June 5th on the Pavilion Stage.
Naughty Professor is a six man power house of instrumental music. Based in a fusion of funk, soul, R&B and jazz, different combinations of members and instruments will play deeply written melodies, constantly providing different looks to the audience. There is no time to rest, the band hits their music hard and leaves their fans buzzing. Naughty Professor closes out the Saturday night campers and King Crawfish Krewe set starting at 10:30 and playing until…
Quimby Mountain Band
Based in NJ, the five piece Quimby Mountain Band has been touring the mid-Atlantic’s best venues such as the Stone Pony in NJ, Gypsy Salley’s in Washington DC, 8X10 in Baltimore and Daryl’s House Club in NY. They combine many different influences from rock to reggae to jam band to funk, gathering them a dedicated following. Quimby Mountain Band kicks off the music on the Pavilion Stage on Saturday, June 4th.
Atlanta Café Band
Some member have performed together for 35 years, and as a band the Atlanta Café blends Chicago and Delta blues with a southern rock feel. They will be doing a workshop and performance on the Workshop Stage on Saturday, June 4th.