Release date April 2015
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Peter Novelli: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
Chris Senac: electric bass
Brian Brignac: drums, percussion
Kevin McKendree: piano, Hammond B3 organ, Wurlitzer
Chubby Carrier: triple row accordion, frottoir (I-10 Boogie, Zydeco Ride)
Elaine Foster: backing vocals
Bobby Henderson: tenor sax (Story In Your Mind, Thinkin’ or Drinkin’), backing vocals
Sonny Landreth: slide guitar (Louisiana Sunrise)
Sammy Naquin: single row diatonic accordion (Je Ne Sais Quoi, Thinkin’ or Drinkin’)
Produced by Peter Novelli and Brian Brignac
Recorded at Brignac’s Sound Shack in St Amant, Louisiana (Engineered by Brian Brignac)
Sonny Landreth was recorded by Tony Daigle at Electric Comoland in LaFayette, Louisiana
Kevin McKendree was recorded at The Rock House, Nashville, TN
Mixed and mastered by Tony Daigle at Electric Comoland in LaFayette, Louisiana
Joseph Crachiola: cover and centerfold photos Pedro J. Bonilla Foto Casual: as credited
design/manufacturing by Diana Thornton, crescentmusic.com
©2015 chaletmusic, llc / peter novelli. all rights reserved.
Friends, these are some hard ass times in the music bizness. So many wanna-bes cloggin’ up the recording pipeline just because they have a Garage Band app, barely passable skills and a few hundred bucks to press up whatever they can get down on some digital tracks. But as sure as the sun will rise to shine down on us another day, the cream is always going to rise to the top.
Peter Novelli is a player, writer, singer and all-around Blues guitar scholar. He can tell you all about the real deal players – leaders and sidemen – that represent the music at Ground Zero. How do I know? `Cuz I kicked it with him on a deserted beach in Sosua, Dominican Republic and got a passionate earful about it all between swigs from tall boys of Presidente. I’m not talkin’ `bout just the big world-renowned guns. Novelli name-checks dem players you have to get out a Thomas Guide and a compass to locate at the crossroads of Texas and Louisiana and all tributaries of raw divine connection. He knows these dudes, their singular styles and strengths, and how best to integrate their essence into what he does for the most fiery-authenticity possible.
Novelli also played in a number of bands as a backup musician. In no way would he ever describe that time as “paying dues.” He relished the quality time of marinating in the all-natch’l roux that constitutes the real swamp funk, soppin’ up every drop of nocturne nuance.
The CD you’re holding in your hands is not Novelli’s first go `round the racetrack. His self-titled Peter Novelli debut (2011) and its follow-up Louisiana Roots & Blues (2012) were both strong efforts revealing his heart and his mission. But Novelli stays steady `bout gettin’ things mo’ righteous. What was once a lil’ too clean he’s gettin’ dirty-dirty. What was once proficiently tight he’s gettin’ 3AM French Quarter-loosed.
Novelli has kicked thangs up several notches on this new CD thanks to his dream drummer, Brian Brignac, who brought along bassist Chris Senac to form a power trio with Peter that sets and sustains the fi-ya. Then there’s the raw Louisiana studio voodoo harnessing the energy of the basic rhythm tracks and the Nashville crackle of Kevin McKendree’s keys. From the instrumentals to the vocals, Novelli has all the pots burnin’ for a set that locks you in from end to end.
Listen at the lyrics of “(Write a Story) In Your Mind,” arguably some of the finest from his experiences that he has put from Bic to bar napkin yet. “Je Ne Sais Quoi” and “Thinkin or Drinkin’” feature Novelli’s old “boss” and Cajun accordionist, Sammy Naquin. Raised up in a French-speaking family so far southeast in Montegut, Louisiana that he practically grew up in the Gulf, Sammy blends the authentic cultural brew of his sound cut with hi-octane Bourbon Street.
And check out the ingenious audio verité of “I-10 Boogie,” ol’ Pete takin’ you to school (as always) with a groove glossary of four distinct styles of music you’d hear cruisin’ through the I-10 Blues Junket from Houston to New Orleans.
The great slide guitarist Sonny Landreth – a cat Novelli has been chasin’ since his first CD - sits in on the album-opener, “Louisiana Sunrise.”And Chubby Carrier, son of Novelli’s old friend - legendary Zydeco musician Roy Carrier - adds triple row accordion. Novelli is so humble he ain’t even pickin’ on the closer, “Zydeco Ride,” a mean insider’s peek of just frottoir (rub board), accordion and drums. That’s about as roots as it gets.
I tell ya, the best thing for you to do right about now is to stop readin’ and start listenin’. Peter Novelli stays steady on The Path and will never steer ya wrong. Just hand over the keys, keep your ears open and your mouth shut…and kindly keep those ice cold beers and daiquiris comin’. “Yeah, you rite naw, bay-bee!”
– A. Scott Galloway
Official release date June 12, 2012
with Chris Chew, bass
Darryl White, drums / percussion
Chris Thomas King, slide guitar
Joe Krown, B3 / piano
Chubby Carrier, accordion
Shamarr Allen, trumpet
Foster Sisters, backing vocals
Gordon Minette, piano
Chart positions: over 5 months on Roots Music Report, reaching No. 3 Louisiana chart, No. 32 national Blues chart and No. 15 national Internet blues chart
Nominated for BEST ROOTS CD 2012, Jimi Awards, Blues 411 / B.B. King's Bluesville
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Following his critically acclaimed debut release, Peter Novelli has recorded a dozen new songs (including a John Hiatt cover) that range from blues to rock, funk to zydeco, cajun to country. Peter calls it "that whole Louisiana blues and roots thing." Novelli, with Chris Chew on bass (North Mississippi Allstars) and drummer Darryl White (Tab Benoit, Chris Thomas King) tracked the session at Dockside Studio in southwest Louisiana, over three days in February, with multi-Grammy Engineer David Farrell. Sessions were completed in New Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana (with additional engineering by Ivan Klisanin), mixed by David Farrell and mastered by Alex McCollough, Yes Master, Nashville. The project was produced by Peter Novelli, with David Farrell and Darryl White.
Joe Krown played B3 / piano on most tracks. Joe, now himself a New Orleans icon, toured and recorded with Clarence Gatemouth Brown until Gate's death 12 days after Hurricane Katrina. Joe makes a repeat appearance; he guested on Novelli's debut CD.
Chris Thomas King (Grammy Oh Brother Where Art Thou) adds lap slide guitar to two tracks. This is special because Novelli's first CD included a tribute to the Baton Rouge blues of Slim Harpo, and Chris literally grew up in the legendary Tabby's Blues Box in Baton Rouge where Slim and many other legends including Raful Neal and Lazy Lester took the stage. Peter was especially grateful to work with Chris because of the way Chris has taken traditional Louisiana blues into the future with his own contemporary interpretations.
Chubby Carrier, also a Grammy winner, added his bluesy, funky triple row accordion -- and some lyrics!! -- to Zydeco Lady, a Novelli-Carrier original. Chubby also played frottoir (rubboard) which was his very first instrument as a child. This session was indeed special for Peter, because he had worked a few times with the late Roy Carrier, Chubby's dad, who for a time was known as the "King of Zydeco." Chubby was recorded in LaFayette, Lousiana by Ivan Klisanin, who produced Chubby’s CD that won a Grammy in 2011.
Finally, for the edgy, haunting "Treme 3 AM" (with both instrumental and vocal versions) Novelli was looking for an innovative New Orleans trumpet player. During a late night at Snug Harbor on Frenchmen Street, the legendary New Orleans drummer Raymond Weber suggested Shamarr Allen, who walked into The Music Shed studio on a late Friday afternoon with five children in tow and laid down some brilliant trumpet lines.
The Foster Sisters, Elaine and Lisa (known as ELS) made a repeat appearance on Novelli's second CD and added their vocal magic.
Peter's longtime collaborator, NYC's Gordon Minette, added some fine piano to the White-Novelli ballad (This is Our) Last Goodbye.
As the CD is being released on June 12, the Peter Novelli Band will begin an extensive tour ranging from New Orleans, through Tennessee and Ohio, to Detroit, Buffalo, New York, New England; then west through Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas to Colorado; then back east all the way up to Maine and Canada, and back to New Orleans in early October.
The first time I heard the Peter Novelli Band play, I was on the run.
It was a desperate, despairing sprint away from Bourbon Street—once the pride of musical New Orleans, now little more than a Disneyland for grown-ups, with dull, staid cover bands drowning each other out in a noisy face-off. The deep, rich, and heady heritage of New Orleans music, the birthplace of jazz, lies dead there.
Then I heard Peter make his guitar sing. It was Nawlins music with the N spelt in big bold neon lights—bluesy, jazzy, a smattering of rock, some seriously swampy boogie, a bit of swing—all of it liberally spiced with Cajun rhythms, and rounded off with R&B. He and his band were rocking a little joint on Frenchmen Street, where the 19th Century prettiness of the French Quarter melts into the atmospheric and historic streets of Treme.
Peter has been a blues guitarist for more than three decades, and has worked and played with the who’s who of cajun, zydeco, blues, and R&B music. He brought all these influences and alliances to play in his colorful debut album.
And now Peter has made that leap again, with a second album that resonates with the melodies of Louisiana and New Orleans, and is shot through with edgy Texas blues. This is a sweeping album, effortlessly jumping from easy-going bluesy ballads like Eyes Talk; the solid, swaggering riffs and virtuoso solos in Voodoo Baby; to the tight, slow burn blues of Dyin’ By Numbers. Dig the infectious grooves in Zydeco Lady. Lose yourself in the haunting horns that cut over a gently swaying riff in Treme 3AM—this is pure New Orleans, pure blues.
Evocative, catchy, firmly rooted in tradition and full of soul, Louisiana Roots and Blues has one foot in the past, one foot in the present, and its heart in exactly the right place.
Rudraneil Sengupta writes on music, travel and sports for Mint (www.livemint.com). He has been a journalist and a feature writer for 8 years, and grew up with the cats, dogs, and the blues.
Nominated for best debut blues CD, 2011, Blues 411 / BB King's Bluesville Radio
Since The Hurricane voted winner: Coolest Blues Song of the Year 2012, Big City Blues Magazine
Chart positions: over 6 months on Roots Music Report, reaching No. 2 Louisiana chart, No. 46 national Blues chart, No. 25 Real Blues Canada
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Peter's debut CD covers blues-roots-rock-funk with a Louisiana/New Orleans/Baton Rouge vibe, along with a bit from Peter's background in zydeco-cajun music. Core session musicians include: David Peters, drums (Gatemouth Brown, Tab Benoit); David Hyde, bass (Delbert McClinton, Gatemouth Brown, Bobby Charles, etc); Nelson Blanchard, keys and backing vocals (LeRoux, Tab Benoit, Steve Cropper, etc) and Brian Brignac, drums and percussion (Sonny Landreth, Wayne Toups, etc).
Guest appearances by: Dr. John, Paul Barrere, slide guitar (Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt); Augie Meyers, Vox Continental organ (Texas Tornados, Sir Douglas Quintet); Greg "Fingers" Taylor, harmonica (Jimmy Buffett); Joe Krown, Hammond B3 (Gatemouth Brown); David Torkanowsky, Hammond B3; Smoky Greenwell, harmonica (WAR, etc); Rick Lawson, Elaine and Lisa Foster (backing vocals); Bobby Henderson, alto sax (Johnny Lee, Gatemouth Brown, Doug Kershaw, Freddy Fender, Hank Jr., etc); Suzanne Leger, frottoir and percussion; Chris Belleau, trombone (Gatemouth Brown, Charlie Rich, etc); Olivier Scoazec, guitar (Buckwheat Zydeco, Zachary Richard, Henry Gray, etc).
The CD includes a Tribute to Slim Harpo, two songs with James Johnson, guitar (Slim Harpo); the late Raful Neal (harmonica); Rudy Richard, guitar (Slim Harpo); Dr. John; the late "Big" Johnny Thomassie, drums (Tom Waits, Dr. John, Luther Kent, etc); and others.
Peter's CD was recorded in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, engineered by Nelson Blanchard and David Farrell; mastered by Jim DeMain at YesMaster, Nashville. Produced by David Hyde, Executive Producer George McEwen.