The summer in Baton Rouge can seem like lean time for the discerning concert fan; even rock stars are smart enough to wait until school is in session to hit the college circuit. But there is plenty of Louisiana roots music to dig into. Boudreaux & Thibodeaux has become a hotspot of swamp pop and zydeco. Franklin's Johnny Firmin has been keeping the swamp pop torch lit for years, having played with folks like Conway Twitty and Billy Preston throughout his career. Sure swamp pop relies heavily on the Brown-Eyed Girl standards, but it's the way these bands deliver it with an injection of New Orleans funk that sets them apart.
The same can be said about R&B singer Ernest Scott, who has a rasp that cuts through the thick groove of his band Real Time like it's hot, buttered soul. Technically proficient R&B cover bands are a dime a dozen, but Scott is one of those rare performers who gets it, that you have to rise above just playing songs people know and embody them. He'll be setting The M Bar on fire Saturday night.
Rockabilly is about as rootsy a music as there is, and one of its legends Bill Kirchen will be performing a Sunday show at the Red Dragon. Kirchen is most famous for being the guitarist for Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, contributing the iconic lead on their 1972 "Hot Rod Lincoln." This video of Elvis Costello performing with Kirchen at the 2006 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco will indicate the kind of resume this guy has in rock circles, and a taste of his timeless guitar mastery.
Modern ska bands tend to keep their foot firmly on the pedal for their whole set, which makes the chilled, rock-steady reggae and ska of The Stellaphonics so refreshing, bolstered by Alex Faucheaux's harmonica and Danny Nixdorff's sax. Their low, easy summer throb will be in effect at North Gate Tavern on Wednesday. Also, the Myrtles will come tearing through their whiskey-soaked ballads and distortion-saturated covers at the Chelsea's stage.
Finally, the Warlocks, a Los Angeles troupe of atmospheric psychedelic true-believers will bring their trance-inducing clouds of heaviness to the Spanish Moon on Tuesday night. Now that I look back across it, it is not a bad weak for a lazy summer season.Link to story, with local events calendar