For those who didn’t make it to the recent New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where the rambunctious, New Orleans-bred quintet Dirty Bourbon River Show made its debut, you’ll get a chance to see the group today when it brings the essence of the Big Easy to Fort Wayne.
We’ve toured around 39 states and we are, a lot of times, the craziest thing people have seen. In New Orleans, you can see a lot of crazier stuff than we do, says Charlie Skinner, vocalist, trombonist and ringleader, by phone from New Orleans. We’re just trying to share a little bit of that with the rest of the country, and maybe that will start something in their own neighborhood, maybe bring back instruments to the band.
Dirty Bourbon River Show will make a stop at the Philmore on Broadway today to deliver its energetic brass-laden sound, which is laced with piano and accordion. Local dance troupe dAnce.Kontemporary will open for the band with selections from its Carnival show. The Philmore, which had a kitchen fire last month, will also have the Affine and Ragin’ Cajun food trucks serving food that can be brought into the venue.
A multigenre band made up of musicians that are both classically trained and self-taught, Dirty Bourbon River Show is described as a blend of New Orleans Gypsy Brass Circus Rock. Their mix of funk, R&B, jazz and rock is gaining attention with high-profile appearances at New Orleans’ Voodoo Festival and the 69th annual Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C.
For me, it’s just a raucous good time. We’re going to come in and give you all genres of music, and all types of feelings, whether you want to dance or sit in your chair and bop your feet, Skinner says. We like all types of music, so we want to give people all types of music.
It’s just that feeling of New Orleans where you come in, you have a little too much to drink, the band is really good and you end up having way too much fun.
Skinner says the New Orleans Jazz Fest was a great opportunity for the band to be counted among this year’s storied lineup of performers such as Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Phish and Robert Plant.
We’re always trying to do big shows in New Orleans, and the biggest show you can play is the (Jazz and Heritage Festival), Skinner says. It’s a huge leap forward for us, and it’s been a goal for us since we started the band, and hopefully they will let us come back next year.
The band’s musicians met through the New Orleans music scene in 2009, experimenting with a variety of lineups. Frontman and instrumentalist Noah Adams first collaborated with Dane Bootsy Schindler as Buck Johnson and the Hootenanny Kid. The two recruited Skinner, who was born and raised in Georgia and moved to New Orleans to attend Loyola University.
I came down here for college, and I did that for three years, but eventually I realized the reason I came down here was the music, he says. It’s just a beautiful place that has a rich heritage, and there are so many guardians of the culture here that make it their duty to uphold it and to keep it going. We don’t claim to be those guardians, but we definitely have their backs.
The band’s lineup of full-time musicians, which also includes Matt Slyfox Thomas and Jimmy Williams, have released eight studio albums and performed 600 live shows in five years.
The way I feel about it is that I don’t have another job. We all take this very seriously, and although we don’t like to look at it as a job, it is a job. It’s what we do, Skinner says. After a two- or three-month tour, you get real tired and you want to go home for a little while, but once you stay home for a week and you don’t have anything to do at 10 o’clock on a Tuesday night, you’re like, What we’re going to do? We’ve got to do something.’
I would much rather be playing a show, he adds. We have gotten so used to it that it feels weird when we’re not playing a show.
The band recently announced a Kickstarter project in an effort to use online crowd funding to produce its next studio album, which is scheduled to be released in spring 2015. With the band independently producing all of its previous albums, the musicians are turning to their fans to meet their $10,000 goal that would afford them more time for creativity in a professional studio, as well as help pay for national publicity for the band.
Skinner says although the band has tried crowd funding before, he believes the band’s persistent touring and new business partners have increased the fan base.
We have reached a lot of people, and we’ve played for a lot of people. We have a new management team, new momentum and new songs that we’re excited about, and we just want this album to be unhindered by monetary restrictions, he says. The only way to do that as a group of broke musicians is to get help from your fans, and I think they want us to have that experience.
Whether the band will reach its goal by the June 27 deadline is up in the air; but what’s certain is that these five musicians will continue traveling across the country, making fans of their music and the New Orleans culture that first inspired them.
We just want you to wake up the next day, and your legs are sore, but you had a good time. That’s what it’s all about, Skinner says.