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
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.