Huka Entertainment Presents
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
The Record Company
6 South Joachim Street
Mobile, AL, 36602
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Trombone Shorty's new album opens with a dirge, but if you think the beloved bandleader, singer, songwriter and horn-blower born Troy Andrews came here to mourn, you got it all wrong. That bit of beautiful New Orleans soul—"Laveau Dirge No. 1," named after one of the city's most famous voodoo queens—shows off our host's roots before Parking Lot Symphony branches out wildly, wonderfully, funkily across 12 diverse cuts. True to its title, this album contains multitudes of sound—from brass band blare and deep-groove funk, to bluesy beauty and hip-hop/pop swagger—and plenty of emotion all anchored, of course, by stellar playing and the idea that, even in the toughest of times, as Andrews says, "Music brings unity."
As for why it's taken Andrews so long to follow 2013's Raphael Saadiq-produced Say That to Say This, the man simply says, "I didn't realize so much time passed. Some artists don't work until they put a record out but I never stopped going." Truly. In the last four years, Andrews banked his fifth White House gig; backed Macklemore and Madonna at the Grammys; played on albums by She & Him, Zac Brown, Dierks Bentley, and Mark Ronson; opened tours for Daryl Hall & John Oates and Red Hot Chili Peppers; appeared in Foo Fighters' Sonic Highways documentary series; voiced the iconic sound of the adult characters in The Peanuts Movie; inherited the esteemed annual fest-closing set at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in the tradition of Crescent City greats like the Neville Brothers and Professor Longhair; and released Trombone Shorty, a children's book about his life that was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 2016.
Adding to that legacy, his Blue Note Records debut Parking Lot Symphony finds Andrews teamed with Grammy-nominated producer Chris Seefried (Andra Day, Fitz and the Tantrums) and an unexpected array of cowriters and players including members of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Meters, Better Than Ezra, and Dumpstaphunk. Considering Andrews' relentless schedule, it's all the more surprising that this LP began with him in a room, all alone, back in New Orleans.
"I had two weeks at home so I went to the studio and set up the 'playground,'" he recalls. "I had everything in a circle: tuba, trombone, trumpet, keyboard, Fender Rhodes, Wurly, B3 organ, guitar, bass, drums—and me buried in the middle." He recorded an album's worth of ideas and then, well, walked away for a year. Not because he was too busy, but because he wanted to hit the road and see how the music changed on him. When Andrews came back with a full band, the songs came to life.
Take the album's two covers, a pair of NOLA deep cuts: there's "Here Comes the Girls," a 1970 Allen Toussaint song originally recorded by Ernie K-Doe that here (with Ivan Neville on piano) sounds bawdy and regal, like something from a current Bruno Mars album; and The Meters' lovesick "It Ain't No Use," which swirls a vintage R&B vibe with resonant choir vocals and upbeat guitar from The Meters' Leo Nocentelli himself to transport the listener to the center of the jumpingest jazz-soul concert hall that never was.
The story there is almost too good. The session band—guitarist Pete Murano, sax men Dan Oestreicher and BK Jackson, and drummer Joey Peebles with Dumpstaphunk's Tony Hall in for Orleans Avenue bassist Mike Bass-Bailey—were in the studio to lay down "It Ain't No Use." Hall even had the vintage acoustic he bought from Nocentelli years ago, which was used on the original Meters session. On the way to the bathroom, Andrews saw Nocentelli coming out of a different tracking room: it was meant to be.
But that's not unusual for a man raised in one of the Tremé's most musical families. Andrews got his name when he picked up his instrument at four ("My parents pushed me toward trombone because they didn't need another trumpet player," he laughs). By eight, he led his own band in parades, halls and even bars: "They'd have to lock the door so the police couldn't come in." Promoters would try to hand money to his older cousins, but they'd kindly redirect them to the boy. In his teens, Andrews played shows abroad with the Neville Brothers. Fresh out of high school (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts) he joined Lenny Kravitz' band.
Across that time, three Trombone Shorty albums and many collaborations since, Andrews nurtured a voracious appetite for all types of music—a phenomenon on fluid display with Parking Lot Symphony. On "Familiar," co-written by Aloe Blacc, they practically mint a new genre (trap-funk?) while Andrews channels his inner R. Kelly to spit game at an old flame. Meanwhile, the instrumental "Tripped Out Slim" (the nickname of a family friend who recently passed) bends echoes of the Pink Panther theme into something fit for James Brown to strut to. And if you listen closely to "Where It At?," written with Better Than Ezra's Kevin Griffin, you may even hear a little Y2K pop. "I know it wasn't cool to listen to *NSYNC or Britney Spears in high school," says Andrews, "but those bass lines and melodies are funky." They pair astonishingly well with all the Earth, Wind & Fire that bubbles beneath these songs.
It's worth noting that Andrews' vocals sound better than ever (he credits Seefried for that), because Parking Lot Symphony might be the man's most heartfelt offering yet. The breezy title track, which Andrews wrote with Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros), is as much about walking the Tremé, being uplifted by the music that seems to seep from every surface, as it is about moving on from a broken heart. And the shuffling, bluesy "No Good Time" reminds us, with a world-weary smile, that "nobody never learned nothin' from no good time."
But Andrews is clear that this isn't some kind of breakup record. "It's a life record," he says, "about prevailing no matter what type of roadblock is in front of you." That message is clearest on "Dirty Water," where over an easy groove, Andrews adopts a soft falsetto to address just about anyone going through it—personal, political, whatever. "There's a lot of hope turning to doubt," he coos. "I've got something to say to them / You don't know what you're talking about / When you believe in love, it all works out." Amen. Now let the horns play us out.
The Record Company
L.A.-based buzz band The Record Company has signed with Concord Music Group, which is releasing its debut album Give It Back to You on February 12, 2016.
The rock/roots trio of Chris Vos (guitar, lead vocals, harmonica), Alex Stiff (bass, guitar, vocals) and Marc Cazorla (drums, piano, vocals) has already been hailed by LA Weekly for "making bluesy music that would sound more at home in a sweaty, backwoods Mississippi juke joint," while Time Out Los Angeles has described their sound as "reminiscent of some of the best acts of the '50s and '60s—like if John Lee Hooker and the Stooges had a well-behaved love child."
The comparisons are apt.
"We have been influenced by early electric blues, so some of that influence certainly shows," acknowledges Vos. "But we're just as influenced by bands like the Stones and The Stooges as we are by blues legends like Hooker, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed."
Wherever it comes from, Vos, Stiff and Cazorla have clearly come up with a fresh take on classic rock 'n' roll that has proven appeal: Their music, well ahead of a record deal, has been featured in over 30 commercial, film, and television placements including the theatrical trailer for Last Vegas and ads for Coors Light, Subaru, Showtime's Shameless, ABC's Nashville, CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and a current ad for Miller Lite.
Meanwhile, The Record Company has developed a reputation as a live act worthy of sharing the stage with such top attractions as B.B. King, Grace Potter, Trombone Shorty, Buddy Guy, Charles Bradley, Robert Randolph, The Wood Brothers, Social Distortion, and Blackberry Smoke—with whom they toured the U.K. and Europe. On the strength of two EPs (Superdead, released in 2012, and Feels So Good, in 2013), the band received strong college and Triple A radio format airplay and performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, Milwaukee's Summerfest, NAPA Valley's Bottlerock, Ottawa Folkfest, the Quebec City International Summer Festival and the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.
"Our sound has a lot of early rock n' roll but with a greater emphasis on the drums and bass," says Vos. "We aim to make the speakers move with our recordings."
The group writes, rehearses, records and mixes all of its music in the same living room in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz where it originated.
"It all comes from our desire to write the best songs we can–and the most honest music that we can," says Vos. "We try to mix in different elements to keep it fresh. For example, our song 'On the Move' has just harmonica, bass, and drums with no guitar. 'Don't Let Me Get Lonely' has all acoustic instruments–including acoustic bass–to capture more of the rockabilly vibe that we dig, that is in so much of the stuff we listen to."
The themes and stories in the lyrics of the songs are all draw from the threesome's collective experiences.
"They are just stories we wanted to tell," Vos continues. "They can be simple or complex, depending on what the music is calling for. Music and melody usually precede the lyric for us."
He notes, too, that each of The Record Company members play several instruments both live and on record.
"We work hard to incorporate them into the music as creatively as possible," he says. "So besides the typical guitar, bass and drums, we also mix in harmonica, dobro slide, lap slide, pedal steel, piano, etc. It's about making the right choices for the songs and keeping things as engaging as possible throughout the album–without compromising the integrity of the song."
"Off the Ground" is the first single from Give It Back to You.
"It was one of the last songs we wrote for it," continues Vos. "The opening riff is Alex playing slide on a bass with a little delay on it, then Marc comes in with the drums, and I come in with my old junky lap steel guitar that I love so much. I was trying to capture a Hound Dog Taylor-esque sound on the slide guitar. We wanted to give the bass a fresh approach so Alex started playing the riff with a slide and we loved the way it sounded."
The song is already making noise, thanks to a music video and its usage in the Miller Lite commercial.
"It's cool to have a song in a commercial for my dad's favorite beer!" says Vos, who like Miller beer, hails from Wisconsin.
"I grew up on a working dairy farm in Wisconsin that my family still owns and runs. It is something I am very proud of: I grew up milking cows, driving tractors, and bailing hay. Then I moved out to L.A. in 2010 to chase the dream of writing and playing music full-time."
Not knowing anyone in his new hometown, Vos started jamming around.
"I was jamming with some good people but I wanted a full-time thing, and ended up getting in touch with Alex. We hit it off as friends and he invited me to his pad to listen to some old vinyl records and hang out. It was there that I met Marc."
They immediately recognized that they shared the same music tastes, and enjoyed jamming together. One night they listened to the classic John Lee Hooker-Canned Heat album Hooker N' Heat, and were galvanized.
"Later that week I came back to Alex's with an amp," Vos recalls. "The three of us set up some microphones in the living room and recorded ourselves running through some songs. We were listening to the playback and decided right then and there that we had to be a band."
After recording a few tunes, "we hunted down every email address we could and started mailing stuff out to everybody basically saying, 'Hey! We just formed this band in our living room. Listen to this for five seconds.' Out of those first recordings we got booked into the Montreal Jazz Festival and Harvest Festival in Canada, and got on our first tours."
They settled on the band's name after discovering that The Record Company was somehow available.
"We all agreed right away that it had to be the name," says Vos. "Given the way we started, where we are from, and what we love to play, it makes perfect sense."
But making records notwithstanding, it's playing live that sets this Record Company apart.
"I always think of a performance as one less time on stage–not one more," Vos concludes. "Nobody can say how many shows you get to play in your life. So we try to play our guts out, leave it all on the table, and have fun doing it."