Today is Mardi Gras in New Orleans, (and elsewhere) but here in New England it's hard to find a parade on a cold Tuesday. But we celebrated Mardi Gras on Saturday at the annual party at Rhodes on The Pawtuxet, courtesy of Lagniappe Productions.
Music by the Hot Tamale Brass Band, Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys, Steve Riley and CJ Chenier put all of us fest-starved new Englanders in a party mood! The Creole Cowboys kicked it off with their hard driving Boozoo-style zydeco, and it's always fun to watch the ultra cool Classie Ballou on bass. Steve Riley was equally dazzling on fiddle and accordion, then invited some of the Hot Tamale horns up on stage for a few songs, including a great version of Fats Domino's "Be my Guest". CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band were as good as ever, reunited with their old rubboard player, Clifford.
Every year when we first see the initial announcement in the Rhythm and Roots program, it's hard to get excited about something that seems so far off, when we are, after all, in the midst of one of the best festivals of the year. But when that weekend in February finally rolls around , it is so much fun to get together with all of our festival friends, some of whom we haven't seen since Rhythm and Roots. Everyone I talked to seemed so happy to be on the homestretch towards spring, looking forward to better days. I may not even know everyone's last name, or where they work or live, but when we are all dancing in the front row, grooving to Hot Tamale Baby for the thousandth time, "I feel like I'm home", (yeah you right)
* Nathan Williams, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Cha's