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Labor Day weekend in New Orleans

September 2, 2010

J.D. Hill at Mother-in-Law Lounge. Photo by Barry Yeoman.

If you live anywhere near New Orleans, or if you’ll be visiting this weekend for Southern Decadence, pull yourself away from the city’s other offerings and treat yourself to some of its blues and R&B. This will be a banner weekend for music.

Some possibilities:

  • Friday at 9:30 p.m. : Blues harmonica player J.D. Hill and his Jammers will play at the Old Point Bar, 545 Patterson in Algiers Point. You can drive there or take a ferry across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter. Hill, a resident of New Orleans’ Musicians’ Village, has played harmonica since early childhood and has often played with Deacon John (see below). Below is a great video of him performing and talking about his new house.
  • Saturday at 8 and 10 p.m.: Deacon John and the Ivories will headline  Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, 626 Frenchmen Street. Deacon John, who played a small but endearing role in the HBO series Treme, is a snazzily dressed R&B veteran who earned the nickname “The Creole Chameleon” for his ability to adapt to the times. If you catch the early show, you can wander down the block afterward and catch the talented accordionist Bart Ramsey at the Spanish restaurant Three Muses, 536 Frenchmen Street, at 10 p.m.
  • Sunday at 8 p.m.: Mother-in-Law Lounge, 1500 N. Claiborne Ave. in Treme, will be throwing a Labor Day party. The headliner band is Ernie Vincent and the Top Notes, whose blues and funk will keep the dance floor trembling, we promise. Also playing is R&B favorite Guitar Lightnin’ Lee.
  • Monday at 3 p.m.: Catch Coco Robicheaux at Yellow Moon Bar, 800 France in the Bywater neighborhood. Robicheaux, the son of Choctaw and Cajun French parents, will also be familiar to Treme viewers: He’s the one who sacrificed the chicken in the WWOZ studios in the first episode. The musicologist (and cowboy rumba musician) Ned Sublette described Robicheaux as “a blues growler to the bone, a real true voice of the Louisiana spirit, colloquially cosmopolitan in the way that denizens of the South’s great port city have historically been.”
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