All About Jazz
Novelli possesses a guitar capability that is heads and shoulders above many of his contemporaries. He is playing is facile and intelligent across the sub-genre of his oeuvre.—C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz, June 7, 2015
Novelli’s rhythmically rich tunes have killer licks galore.—Rick Allen, Vintage Guitar
Peter Novelli’s third album kicks off with a bang with guest Sonny Landreth’s signature slide guitar on “Louisiana Sunrise.” It’s a riveting road song with Novelli driving all night to return to his adopted New Orleans.
Several tracks make for great road fodder as well, such as the shuffling “I-10 Boogie,” the funky “Boudin” and the country picking of “Shreveport Stomp” that pays homage to guitar legend James Burton and quotes a few of his riffs. Even the pensive “Story in Your Mind” alludes to the life on the road and its difficulty in maintaining relationships.
As a guitarist, Novelli never overpowers, but carefully crafts his solos with ample individual expression and varying shades and textures. Extended jamming often results, but it’s hardly self-indulgent or monotonous.
He’s also the rare guitarist who’s in touch with his zydeco side. Two tracks feature former Bourbon Street combatant Sammy Naquin, while two others find Chubby Carrier leading the charge, especially on the rollicking “Zydeco Ride” where he puts on a clinic of torrid old school jamming. Novelli’s best groove-bound CD yet.—Dan Willging, Offbeat Magazine, July 29, 2015
The guitar virtuoso Peter Novelli has assembled a fine band and some good material for the St. Amant Sessions. With a strong band, and some fine guests, the album tries to mine the ground that mixes blues and rock with Cajun and Zydeco music. Opener Louisiana Sunrise features guitar superstar Sonny Landreth, and his distinctive, melodic slide work...The group however, are also a fine rock blues band...and the song Woman In My Dreams which contains the type of soaring mid range guitar solo which made Mark Knopfler famous. This is music that is about feeling...Novelli has effortlessly blended his native New Orleans sound with a more modern sounding blues rock sound to pleasing effect, and if you like fusion music that blends the best elements of blues and Cajun music, this could well be the album for you!—Blues Matters (UK), Sept 2015
...Peter is based in New Orleans and there is a strong bayou feel to this album – he even has Cajun accordionist Sammy Naquin on a couple of items and zydeco accordion star Chubby Carrier on a further two, and the comparisons that have been made with slide guitar ace Sonny Landreth are not far wide of the mark.
As if to underline this, Sonny himself guests on the opener, ‘Louisiana Sunrise’. The French influence crops up naturally enough on ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’, and Peter can remind the listener of the great, sadly underrated Bobby Charles (Robert Guidry) on a number like the mellow(ish) ‘Bourbon Street Blue’, which follows on from the raw, churning swamp boogieblues of ‘Spirit Passing By’.
The instrumentals ‘Boudin’, the 60s inflected ‘Shreveport Stomp’ and the joyously rocking ‘I10 Boogie’ (a crash course in Louisiana sounds) all showcase Peter’s guitar mastery. This CD was a lovely surprise and one I will return to again and again. As Clifton Chenier said, “Laissez les bon temps rouler!”—NORMAN DARWEN, Bluesinthenorthwest (England), April 25, 2015
Bman's Blues Report
I just received the newest release, St Amant Sessions, from Peter Novelli and it has a lot of variety. Opening with Louisiana Sunrise with a country 2 step feel, Novelli, a vocalist and guitar player is joined by slide player extraordinaire, Sonny Landreth, who lights it up.
Boudin is a really cool funky jazz track with Novelli showing his own guitar chops on lead melodic guitar. Backed by Chris Senac on bass and Brian Brignac on drums this is one of my favorite tracks on the release. Je Ne Sais Quoi is straight up rocker with cajun twist. Featuring Sammy Naquin on accordion and Kevin McKendree on keys, Novelli shines on both guitar and vocal. Very nice!
Spirit Passing By has a serious strut and is heavily driven by Brignac on drums. Novelli's guitar attack on this track is raw and carefree...I like it!
Woman In My Dreams is a smooth pop track with a jazz structure. Backing vocals by Bob Henderson and Elaine Foster as well as a voracious guitar lead from Novelli makes this track stand out.
Story In Your Mind is a smooth ballad with a nice harmonic guitar solo backed by McKendree on organ. Bob Henderson steps up with some nice sax work as well. A sure radio track.
Shreveport Stomp, a boogie instrumental, has that Louisiana country instrumental flavor with slick guitar riffs and McKendree reinforcing on piano.
Thinkin' or Drinkin' really gets down into the Louisiana mud with R&B style funk. Naquin adds tasteful accordion harmony on Novelli's lead vocals and Henderson and Foster on backing vocal. Henderson throws down a hot sax solo as well. Rounding out the mix is Novelli's stylistic guitar solo.
Another of my favorite tracks on the release is I-10 Boogie with a real Elmore James style guitar riff over a boogie beat. Novelli really shines on guitar on this track taking it for a hard ride. A break into a more Cha Cha feel gives Chubby Carrier the opportunity to hit his triple row accordion and then into a New Orleans style piano groove for McKendree on keys, then into a Latin feel for guitar. Rolling back into a Texas blues/boogie this track is hot!
Wrapping the release is Zydeco Ride, again with Chubby Carrier leading the way on accordion.—Bman's Blues Report, April 21, 2015
Reflections in Blue
This is Peter's third album and, to be honest, I was totally taken by surprise from the minute I put it in the player. Recorded in a small Louisiana town with the same name as the album title. His blend of straight-ahead blues, soul, R&B, zydeco and anything else that he might need at any given time is refreshing.
This cat is a great storyteller, who writes from personal experience, giving his music that element of truth that bears witness with the heart and soul of the listener and gives his music a real power. This guy does not need high speed, rocket propelled playing, high-tech pyrotechnics or anything else to sell himself.
All songs on the album were written or co-written by Novelli, who also plays guitar and is a great vocalist.
St. Amant Sessions is warm and comfortable to listen to, making it one of those pieces with a timeless quality. The band is tight, plays flawlessly and is right on the money every step of the way. Among those artists on the album, either throughout or in a supporting position include among others Kevin McKendree on piano and Hammond B-3, Chubby Carrier, Sonny Landreth and more.
Peter has shared stages, studios and writing credits with a virtual Who's Who of the blues including such notables as Dr. John, Sonny Landreth, Chubby Carrier & his father, Augie Meyers, Chris Thomas King, Greg "Fingers" Taylor and many more. His combination of the sounds of New Orleans along with the straight on blues, and R&B make this album a pure delight. Easy on the ears and something you might well want to put it on repeat and listen to throughout the day. This one's a keeper to be sure.—Bill Wilson, Reflections in Blue, April 2015
...like Sonny Landreth, (Novelli is) an all-round musician that easily fits into the rich musical traditions of Louisiana and is always open to other influences...Peter Novelli is a master of all styles and manages to deliver relaxed and laidback blues combined with the energy of the big city. Like other musicians who landed in New Orleans, he inhaled the magic voodoo atmosphere and it touched him and filtered through his music.—ROOTSTIME (Europe), January 2013 (PDF)
...a potent combination of New Orleans street rhythms, swampy backbeats, jazzy infusions, and a most sincere and innovative approach to the blues...There is no excuse to miss Louisiana Roots & Blues, Novelli’s second CD, which is overloaded with the taste of Louisiana in every song. Novelli is a superb songwriter and arranger, who tempers his guitar to a point that it seems to be having a conversation with its audience...with each note seeming to have the ability to carry on the conversation... his delicate touch that lets each note dance.
Novelli has backed himself with a topflight core band that includes drummer Darryl White (Tab Benoit, Chris Thomas King), bassist Chris Chew (North Mississippi Allstars), and keyboard player Joe Krown (Joe Krown Trio and Gatemouth Brown). He employs singers Elaine and Lisa Foster for emphasis. Sidemen include Chris Thomas King on lap slide, Chubby Carrier on accordion and trumpeter Allen. All the songs here are originals with the exception of John Hiatt’s “Lovin’ A Hurricane.” Clearly, Hiatt has been a major influence of Novelli’s songwriting, (Novelli) proves time and again he is up to the challenge.
Novelli’s second CD demonstrates his clear ability to write and perform songs with the most soulful artists anywhere. His blues are sophisticated and creative in a way that so few blues CDs are today. He deserves attention as one of the best storytellers in the blues today.—Michael Kinsman, Blues Revue #136 Sep-Oct 2012 (PDF)
LIVING BLUES MAGAZINE Review
…a rich blend of south Louisiana blues-rock, touches of zydeco, and plenty of Crescent City grooves and sensibility…Novelli is, of course, the star of the show: his thick, greasy guitar tone brings a sense of menace to Shadow Man, a touch of roadhouse grit to Eyes Talk, a grungy snarl to his cover of John Hiatt’s Lovin’ a Hurricane. Likewise, his reedy, Randy Newman-esque voice shines on Eyes and Goodbye. Fans of Tab Benoit and Sonny Landreth, as well as those interested in the current New Orleans music scene, would do well to check out Peter Novelli’s Louisiana Roots & Blues.—Melanie Young, Living Blues Magazine, August-September 2012 (PDF)
BLUES BLAST MAGAZINE Review
I must have listened to Peter Novelli’s Louisiana Roots & Blues a dozen times, and I hear something new each time I run through it. This is his self-released sophomore album, and it is a corker! There are thirteen solid tracks, and over an hour of quality music that is inspired by the Sportsman’s Paradise state. Though I think I hear a little Lone Star state in there too…
Peter Novelli is a class act, and a first rate guitarist and singer. He has been playing guitar since he was a kid, and was inspired by a diverse cadre of guitarists, such as B.B. King, Mike Bloomfield, Eric Clapton and Gatemouth Brown. That is a murderer’s row of 6-string talent!...
Louisiana Roots & Blues is packed from front to back with cleverly written, well performed and slickly-produced songs. You should really think about picking up a copy of the CD, and for sure get out and check out his live show. He seems to be always gigging in and around Louisiana!—Rex Bartholomew, Blues Blast Magazine Nov 2012 (PDF)
LA HORA DEL BLUES (Barcelona, Spain)
A wonderful breath of New Orleans fresh air is what Peter Novelli brings us. He is a young and promising singer, songwriter and guitar player, willing to surprise us with this debut album that includes, as basic elements in his music, large doses of Louisiana roots, like zydeco, cajun, Texas blues and lots of swamp rockin' blues. This is a fascinating album, because you will discover in every of the thirteen songs included, a musician gifted with an amazing talent who really knows how to balance listeners with his music therapy that flows and relaxes people as if it was a class of yoga, and this is not because his songs are calm and peaceful, but it is due to other virtues Peter Novell gathers and I prefer not to disclose until you listen to him, then you will discover what I say. The musicians involved in the recording are: Peter Novelli guitar and vocals, Chris Chew bass, Darryl White drums and percussion, Joe Krown, Hammond B-3, organ and piano and Elaine and Lisa Foster vocals, plus the special collaboration of some guest musicians. VERY GOOD.
BLUES BLAST MAGAZINE Review
Novelli’s guitar work recalls Louisiana’s native son Sonny Landreth. ...If you are unable to make it to this year’s Mardi Gras or Jazz-Fest, pay it no mind. This music will transport you there with the intoxicating effect of losing yourself in the French Quarter.—Gary Weeks, Blues Blast Magazine Nov 2011 (PDF)
OFFBEAT MAGAZINE Review
...he's the master of searing tones and crunchy, mid-tempo grooves."—Dan Willging, Offbeat Magazine September 2012 (PDF)
BLUES UNDERGROUND NETWORK
Trying to follow in the steps of a critically acclaimed debut album is certainly not an easy task, but that has not seemed to have stopped Peter Novelli, whose sophomore release "Louisiana Roots & Blues", may just be as good as his self titled debut album, if not better...a truly honest unrushed collection of Louisiana Roots & Blues, sure to please all who love their music more real and to the point.—John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network) Oct 2012
Louisiana Roots + Blues is a road - it goes from Bluesrock to Swamp-Blues and back and for my opinion, it's worth every mile!—BluesPower, Erhardt A, Bremerhaven, Germany
ROCHESTER CITY NEWS Review (Live)
June 20, 2012
New Orleans guitarist Peter Novelli starts with the blues and ends with the blues. In between those indigo goal posts the man throws in zydeco and swamp boogie. He shreds thick and heavy, funky and mean. He’s like a cape-less guitar hero one minute, or a gently strumming Delta troubadour the next, and then he careens into live polyrhythmic jams. It’s red hot throughout. He has shared the stage and the studio with cats like Dr. John and Chris Thomas King (“O Brother Where Art Thou?”) to name a few. Genuine road-burnin’ blues.—Frank DeBlase, Choice Concerts, Rochester City News, June 20, 2012
SOMETHING ELSE! REVIEWS
August 19, 2012
Peter Novelli’s Louisiana Roots and Blues works like a one-album tour through much of the tangy musical milieu that makes that part of the world such an intriguing aural experience, from slinky zydeco two-steps to stinging blues rock, from winking swamp-boogie to angular Crescent City grooves...Appearing with a crack core band that includes keyboardist Joe Krown (Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown), bassist Chris Chew (North Mississippi Allstars) and drummer Darryl White (Tab Benoit and Chris Thomas King), Novelli tears through a dizzying variety of tangy textures, often thanks to the addition of a just-right guest voice: There’s the grinding menace of Chris Thomas King’s slide (on “Dyin’ by Numbers” and “Elysian Breakdown”), and the swamp water-soaked accordion of Chubby Carrier (“Zydeco Lady”). Shamarr Allen’s trumpet also adds a resolute melancholy to “Treme 3 a.m.” Pianist Gordon Minette and vocalists Elaine and Lisa Foster round out the roster.
But Novelli, both as a singer and guitarist, remains the project’s central voice — primarily because he’s just as malleable, switching from a growl to a serrated blade in a moment’s notice.
He can appropriate the sharp wit of Randy Newman one moment, the tough blues shout of Tab Benoit the next, and the wistful romanticism of Allen Toussaint the moment after that. All the while, he’s riffing with a similarly layered sense of emotion. He’ll jab as often as lays back into a spell-binding melodicism, as on standout cuts like “Shadow Man.”
There was a lot of live up to, with a title as sweepingly inclusive as this one. Novelli has the goods.
—Nick DeRiso, Something Else! Reviews, August 19, 2012
BLUES ROCK REVIEW
August 16th, 2012
Peter Novelli: Louisiana Roots & Blues Review
Louisiana Roots & Blues is the second album by New Orleans guitarist Peter Novelli, and the album certainly lives up to its moniker. Louisiana has a rich musical tradition and Peter Novelli has fully embraced the past while he takes it to the future. The album is ripe with Louisiana blues-rock, but also features some zydeco and cajun music.
Novelli’s sleazy, gritty guitar is the driving force on the album. “Eyes Talk” is a fine barrelhouse blues tune, he is downright ominous on “Shadow Man,” and he growls on his cover of John Hiatt’s “Lovin’ a Hurricane.” His voice channels Randy Newman, especially on the aforementioned “Eyes Talk” and “(This Is) Our Last Goodbye”...
Novelli has put out a very strong release steeped in tradition but also forward looking.—Charles Dumez, Blues Rock Review, August 16, 2012 (PDF)
Guitarist Peter Novelli's music seems to strut through a New Orleans neighborhood, dance at a fais-do-do, and relax with the blues along a country levee all in the same sweep...a combination of blues and R&B with elements of funk and country...songs that seem to breathe with the tempo of the region...—Michael Kinsman, Blues Revue Oct-Nov 2011 (PDF)
LIVEMINT / WSJ Review
August 21, 2011
…There was no time to waste, and I hurried to Frenchmen Street, just about a 10-minute walk from Bourbon. Straight away, I could hear strains of the blues floating through the air. The source was a lovely little restaurant called Mojitos Rum Bar and Grill, with a lush, open garden area with wrought-iron furniture, and a corner patio with a band churning out the blues. Peter Novelli, the frontman of the band, has been a blues guitarist for more than three decades, and has shared a stage or recorded with New Orleans legend Dr. John...
It was hot stuff.
—Rudraneil Sengupta, Wall Street Journal / LiveMint.com, August 21, 2011 (PDF)
LIVING BLUES MAGAZINE Review
Novelli…turns in some smoking solos and also lays down infectious rhythm grooves…Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere and Novelli engage in a searing slide duel on Delbert McClinton’s Lie No Better…The highlight of the set is Novelli’s and Rick Lawson’s New Orleans R&B ballad Since The Hurricane. With Dr. John on piano and David Torkanowski on B-3, Novelli delivers his most impassioned vocal, along with some slow-burning blues guitar...—Robert H. Cataliotti, Living Blues Magazine Nov 2011 (PDF)
SOMETHING ELSE! REVIEWS
October 6, 2011
“Since the Hurricane,” a Novelli original, opens with the guitarist playing in the clean, crying style of B.B. King. He’s paired up with a ruminative piano and organ backing from Dr. John and David Torkanowsky, respectively. Together, they lament not what happened to the Crescent City on that awful evening in August 2005, but what didn’t happen afterward.
Novelli approaches the lyric, a sad recrimination, with this nimble authority — moving, it seems, at will from the howling blues force of Ray Charles to the damaged romanticism of the Band‘s Richard Manuel, and back again...Novelli and then Dr. John take solos. Novelli’s turn is one of thrumming emotion, sometimes sad and at others grittily determined, while Dr. John offers a sequence that sounds more like grim acceptance...—Nick DeRiso, One Track Mind, SOMETHING ELSE! Blue Note 1595, October 6, 2011 (PDF)
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Guitarist / singer / songwriter Peter Novelli is based in New Orleans. Critics have described the sound of Peter Novelli Band as “a potent combination of New Orleans street rhythms, swampy backbeats, jazzy infusions, and a most sincere and innovative approach to the blues,” and “from slinky zydeco two-steps to stinging blues rock, from winking swamp-boogie to angular Crescent City grooves.”
Novelli’s songwriting has been compared to John Hiatt. Blues Revue said “his blues are sophisticated and creative in a way that so few blues CDs are today. He deserves attention as one of the best storytellers in the blues today.”
Novelli’s 2nd CD Louisiana Roots & Blues (2012) has garnered much acclaim and radio play. With his core rhythm section Darryl White (drums, formerly w/ Tab Benoit and Chris Thomas King), Chris Chew (bass, North Mississippi Allstars), Joe Krown (B3/piano, formerly late Gatemouth Brown), and special guests Chubby Carrier (Grammy-winning zydeco accordionist), Chris Thomas King (lap slide guitar, Grammy “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou”), Shamarr Allen (trumpet), Gordon Minette (piano) and Elaine and Lisa Foster on backing vocals.
Novelli’s debut CD hit the blues/roots charts within a month of release and gathered widespread critical acclaim. His originals, with a few selected covers, made a journey through Louisiana-American roots-blues music. Guests include Dr. John, Paul Barrere, Augie Meyers, the late Gatemouth Brown’s rhythm section, and top Lousiana musicians. The CD includes an historical Tribute To Slim Harpo, with members of Harpo’s band (James Johnson, Rudy Richard) and rare interviews.
Novelli started violin at age 6, picked up guitar at 14 after hearing a BB King record. The intensity, passion and raw emotional content of the blues masters (black/white, north/south) stuck in his ear and that drives him to this day. He likes to combine this feel with harmonic ideas of jazz, the relentless groove of zydeco, and just about any cool and unusual style of music or rhythm that fits.
Early influences, along with B.B., were George Barnes, James Burton, Clarence White, Freddie King, Mike Bloomfield, Roy Buchanan, James Johnson (Slim Harpo), Guitar Slim, early Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, Gatemouth Brown, Albert Collins and more. Novelli was strongly influenced by some of the iconic jazz horn players. From a young age, Novelli listened to and learned blues and R&B from Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Texas.
Growing up, Novelli played in Syracuse, NY rock, blues and country bands. He hung out, jammed and gigged at the legendary underground Jabberwocky (hosted artists from Townes Van Zandt to Bonnie Raitt, Traffic to Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jackson Browne to James Brown!).
Some years back, after his band opened for Buckwheat Zydeco, Novelli travelled to SW Louisiana, absorbing more zydeco and cajun influences, sharing stages and jamming with many legends such as the late “King of Zydeco” Roy Carrier. This led to a work with Louisiana accordionist Sammy Naquin over several years, touring with Sammy and also Cajun fiddle-guitar virtuoso Al Berard.
Novelli has shared stages and/or studios with some of the “who’s who” of blues, rock, R&B and roots music, including Dr. John, Sammy Kershaw, Olivier Scoazec, guitar (Zachary Richard, Buckwheat Zydeco); Greg "Fingers" Taylor (Jimmy Buffett); Smoky Greenwell (harp/sax, formerly WAR); New Orleans R&B guitar legend Irving Bannister; band members of the late R&B legends Ernie K. Doe and Eddie Bo; numerous New Orleans musical icons, and many, many more. Novelli has collaborated and co-written songs with several Grammy-winning artists and songwriters.
Novelli performs around New Orleans and tours extensively. He also performs solo guitar, does session work, composes music and guests with numerous other bands and performers.