CALEB ELLIOTT: The Nature Of His Plan Is To Believe
CD: Where You Wanna Be
At their best, pop songs conjure exactly what it’s like to be young. The stories are often simple. But they’re not so easy to write.The best pop songs take on the same themes as a great epic poem or a Wagnerian opera. Pop is about the loss of innocence.
Caleb Elliott is a singer-songwriter in Lafayette, Louisiana whose debut pop album is called, Where You Wanna Be. (Check out the video for “Speaking Of.”) He’s new to pop music, but as a classical cellist Caleb Elliott has already played Carnegie Hall.
He’s got a rarefied fan base. Collaborators on Elliott’s album include singer-songwriter Susan Cowsill and members of the reknowned bands Better Than Ezra, BeauSoleil, and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.
Here’s a recording of Bon Rêve (Sweet Dream) we recorded while in the studio with Caleb Elliott, but weren’t able to include in the broadcast. It’s a really wonderful performance of a song written by Sam Broussard of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.
Our thanks to the staff of KRVS/Radio Acadie in Lafayette.
Let’s Give New Louisiana Music A Fair Hearing
Marcia Ball: Get You a Woman
CD: The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man
It’s easy to imagine yelling the lyrics to Marcia Ball’s Get You a Woman at the male lead in a Judd Apatow movie (The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up). The song seems tailor-made for a man-child who’s wasting his best years on the sofa playing videogames. Or perhaps the song’s admonition is for someone who’s slipped into a funk and can’t quite make it out. Either way, Get You a Woman is hectoring and funny and a mighty good time. Expect nothing less from Ball, who is the piano queen of the blues, the boogie woogie and the boogaloo. Other notable songs on the album include, The Squeeze Is On, Human Kindness and The Last to Know.
Kristin Diable: Eyes to the Horizon
CD: Create Your Own Mythology
Critics have rushed to compare her to Dusty Springfield, Amy Winehouse and even a young Aretha Franklin. But Kristin Diable probably sounds so good because she sings like Kristin Diable. Create Your Own Mythology is her second album. Diable is an Americana singer-songwriter who communicates a refreshing creativity in her lyrics, (I’ll Make Time for You, Honey Leave the Light On). And her voice, while young, is relaxed and confident. Don’t expect Leonard Cohen when listening to Bird on a Wire. She’s not Cohen. She’s Diable.
Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers: Put Your Right Foot Forward
Kermit Ruffins is a clever man. He always has a brilliant marketing strategy — whether it’s selling barbecue to his many fans at club appearances in New Orleans or synchronizing his latest album with an ingenious social media campaign. Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers know how to accentuate the positive. Put Your Right Foot Forward reminds listeners of Ruffins’ lifelong association with the Rebirth Brass Band and the many miles he’s walked along parade routes in the city:
Put your right foot forward,
Drag your left to the beat
Put your right foot forward
And get on down the street!
There’s also a universal message here to get moving and take care of business, whatever your business might be.
Germaine Bazzle: Be Anything
CD: It’s Magic
Germaine Bazzle is an extraordinary jazz singer from New Orleans who releases far too few albums. So now’s the time to appreciate her latest effort, which features a dozen jazz standards. Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and the writing team Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn are clear favorites and Bazzle’s versions of their songs create quite a bouquet. Be Anything (but Be Mine) was written by Irv Gordon. It became a minor hit in the 1950s and 60s for Doris Day, Petula Clark and Connie Francis. But the song has legs. More recently, Dana Owens, a.k.a. Queen Latifah, recorded a version. But Bazzle and her band — Lawrence Sieberth on piano, bassist Peter Harris and drummer Simon Lott — make more of an impression. They’re transcendent.
King Mulhacen: El Camino
CD: King Mulhacen
Mulhacen is a mountain in Spain. We don’t know much more than that, except to say that it’s been an inspiration for this four- piece Americana ensemble, based in New Orleans. Sean Lemkey and Henry Bartholomay lead. El Camino showcases great harmonies and exceptional lyricism.