4 posts

Remembering Walter

Walter Wolfman Washington

Walter “Wolfman” Washington (1943 —2022) was the first Music Inside Out guest who arrived with his own cocktail. He was wearing a red ensemble and gorgeous red shoes, and he carried his instrument quietly, the way a samurai might carry his sword. That guitar was the reason we were in the studio — the reason why he entered most rooms. And, like any warrior, he was in total command of himself while, at the same time, easy peasy about doing whatever might be asked of him. He seemed … satisfied. When the mic opens, there’s the distinct sound of him chuckling and ice cubes tinkling.

Back then, Mr. Washington’s latest album, My Future Is My Past, had just been released and he could not have been more pleased. And when he began to play his chords, solo, singing “I’ve got to see you, somehow, Not tomorrow, but right now,” we couldn’t help but feel the same way. “Steal Away” was a Jimmy Hughes hit, but it was Mr. Washington’s song. Mr. Washington also gave new life to David Egan’s tear jerker “Even Now,” performing that ballad so beautifully on record with Irma Thomas and later on the road with Erica Falls.

The My Future is My Past album — produced by Ben Ellman of Galactic — as well as Mr. Washington’s previous albums, Blue Moon Risin’, Doin’ It the Funky Way, and Howlin’ Live at d.b.a., bespoke an emotional range that made him as easy to believe in song as he was in life. His vulnerabilities and curiosities and strengths were for all to hear, making him essential to Johnny Adams and so many other New Orleans treasures who wanted him by their side.

Gwen Thompkins with Walter “Wolfman” Washington.

He told us that as a young man, he used to sleep with his guitar — hoping that they might continue their conversation on yet another level of consciousness. If they were as close as all that, then the guitar was lucky. When Mr. Washington talked with us in the studio, he spoke like a man who had lived fully, loved deeply and met his moment in time with grace. Listen to everything he ever recorded. There won’t be another like him. 

Gwen Thompkins

New Year’s Eve in New Orleans

New Year’s Eve in New Orleans

Remember going to New Year’s Eve parties? (Remember going to any parties?) Recall those glory days when we had our pick of three or even four events to attend — and carefully weighed how long to stay at each one and in which order? Ah, youth. Well, we’re not going to ask what you’ll be doing New Year’s Eve 2020 … but Tipitina’s has a suggestion. And it might be better than what many of us have in mind.

It’s “NYE in NOLA” — not one but five virtual concerts from five different New Orleans venues, all live-streaming on Tipitina’s TV. There’s a different show to usher in the new year for most of the time zones in the U.S. (sorry, Alaska and Hawaii) and Canada (sorry, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.) But we digress.

Samantha Fish kicks it all off, live from Chickie Wah Wah, at 9:00 pm CST (or this time in your area.)

Galactic lineup 2020

After that auspicious start, Anders Osborne brings in the New Year for the East Coast at d.b.a. Then the mighty Galactic takes the stage at their very own Tipitina’s to welcome 2021 for the Central Time Zone. For those setting their clocks to Mountain Time, Rebirth Brass Band counts down to midnight from The Maple Leaf. And the West Coast can watch Dumpstaphunk bring this dumpster fire of a year to a close from The Howlin’ Wolf.

Our favorite host and former Tulane English professor, John Goodman, will oversee New Year’s Eve in New Orleans. In addition to the amazing entertainers we’ve mentioned, special guests Ani Di Franco, George Porter Jr., Kermit Ruffins, and Big Sam are also expected to drop by.

Should be a (virtual) blast.

d.b.a front door-cropped

Where Did The Live Music Go?

The pandemic has hit the world of live music harder here in New Orleans, it seems, that almost anywhere else. When a city like ours, whose identity comes in large part from a vibrant music scene, shuts its bars, restaurants, hotels and other performance spaces — well, it’s like a punch in the gut.

Fortunately, live music itself isn’t going away without a fight. It’s just going on-line.

Over at Tipitina’s, Galactic (the club’s owner and its house band) experimented with Tipitina’s TV. Season 1, which just ended, offered up six live shows featuring a spectrum of New Orleans talent: Rebirth Brass Band, Anders Osborne, Tank & The Bangas, Samantha Fish, The Radiators … and Galactic themselves.

From what we saw and heard, production values were first-rate. Tip’s partnered with the streaming platform, which enabled those who bought a full series pass to watch any show they’d missed.

No word on the success of Tipitina’s TV, or whether there will be a Season 2

d.b.a. … Usual?

Meanwhile, on Frenchmen Street, the proprietor of d.b.a. is working on his own streaming solution to bring back live music. Tom Thayer says “d.b.a. Live” will be a partnership with the live-streaming platform

The first show streamed Wednesday night and featured d.b.a. stalwart Walter “Wolfman” Washington. As you might imagine, the music was smooth and bluesy. The technical quality, though, was a bit glitchy … not nearly as seamless as the offerings on Tip’s TV. It’s possible there was just so much interest in the Wolfman that the StageIt stream ran out of bandwidth.

Speaking of offerings, one nice feature of StageIt is the opportunity to tip the musicians. Thayer says they get to keep 100% of those tips, plus a share of the “virtual ticket sales.”

Unfortunately, if you miss a d.b.a. live stream there’s apparently no way to watch a rerun. Kinda like life: once it’s gone it’s gone. But the good news: the Wolfman will be playing each Wednesday night … just like he did before the pandemic.

You can read more about d.b.a.’s comeback at

Stanton Moore

Stanton Moore: 5 Surprising Facts

In honor of his birthday, we thought we’d share a few interesting facts about Stanton Moore — one of our favorite New Orleans groove-masters.

1. He’s a respected instructor

Many of us know Stanton Moore as the pulsating heart of Galactic … and if you don’t know Galactic, now’s the time to catch up on their music.

But how many of us also know that Moore is passionate about teaching a new generation of drummers? He writes for drumming magazines, gives master classes and has dozens of instructional books and videos. In 2011 Moore’s Groove Alchemy topped the Modern Drummer Readers Poll for best Educational Book and Educational DVD.

Stanton Moore’s Drum Academy continues this passion, with online instruction and one-on-one training.

Stanton Moore Drum Academy

2. He’s part owner of Tipitina’s

We’ve been playing at Tipitina’s for a quarter of a century now. I started going there when I was 16 years old, literally 30 years ago. Tipitina’s is our favorite place in New Orleans, we’ve all been on record many times over the years saying that it’s one of our favorite venues to play in the whole world. In the last 20 years, Galactic’s played there for Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, New Year’s Eve, Halloween and many other events on an annual basis. We’ve even been nicknamed ‘The House Band’ at Tipitina’s; our name is outside in the sidewalk in the Walk of Fame.

It’s the most iconic music venue in New Orleans. [Former owner Roland] Von Kurnatowski wanted to sell it to us because he knew we would carry on its legacy. He has owned it since 1997. That’s 20 years of history; we’re honored to know he trusted us to do it justice.

Stanton Moore in 2018
Galactic in front of Tipitina's
Galactic in front of Tipitina’s
Photo: courtesy Stanton Moore

3. Stanton Moore uses double bass pedals

Stanton Moore drum kit
SM’s kit
Photo: Stanton Moore/Facebook

4. Stanton Moore plays around

To date Stanton Moore has appeared on ten albums with Galactic … but what about all his other gigs? Did you know he’s also recorded with his own band, Garage A Trois (my vote for best band name)? Or that he’s played with the likes of Joe Jackson, Walter Wolfman Washington, Eric Lindell, Irma Thomas, Trombone Shorty, Anders Osborne, Bonearama, Johnny Sansone and many others?

5. With You In Mind

In 2017 Stanton Moore turned an album project with his trio into a tribute to the late Allen Toussaint. Co-produced by David Torkanowsky, With You In Mind features a galaxy of New Orleans talent.

Tom McDermott reviewed the album for OffBeat magazine.

For now, Toussaint is New Orleans’ Great American Songbook and Beatles combined; let’s hope the cover trend continues, and as creatively as it’s done here.

Tom McDermott, OffBeat

This album is one of our favorites. Check it out on Stanton Moore’s website (scroll down on the home page). And don’t miss Wendell Pierce with a unique reading on “Southern Nights,” along with a fine Nicholas Payton solo.

Wish I could

Stop this world from fighting

Allen Toussaint, “Southern Nights”