POSTED Mon. Nov 30, 2015

Atmosphere

A Foot Stomping Hoe Down - Just Off St Claude
Cree McCree
Written by CREE MCCREE
SHARE

“It’s The All-Star Covered Dish Country Jamboree,” says Joy Patterson, the ebullient red-headed singer for The Wasted Lives, who runs the whole kit and kaboodle every Tuesday night at Mag’s 940.

It may seem like a nitpicky point. But like everything else about the weekly Nashville-meets-Austin-in-a-West-Virginia-Holler hoedown on Elysian Fields, the definite article that precedes the Jamboree’s down-homey monicker is steeped in history.

“The reason why it’s such an ostentatious name,” explains Patterson, “is because lots of the old shows used to have crazy names like that. We try to structure the show around the old country radio shows, like Louisiana Hayride and the Grand Ole Opry, where in between the music we have other kinds of entertainment.”

Since the Jamboree launched five years ago, I’ve seen everything from Hee-Haw staples like joke-telling contests and pie auctions to ventriloquist acts, rope tricks and fire-eating cowboys.

Covered dishes brought by home cooks are always on the menu (and get you a $2 discount off the $5 cover), as are the weekly dance lessons that warm up newbies for the main event.

But the Jamboree’s throbbing heart is the music: classic Americana in all its many permutations, played by a fast-growing number of honky-tonk, bluegrass, rockabilly, country folk, western swing and other old-timey bands on the local music scene.

There’s also an endless parade of visiting musicians from as far away as Alaska, England, Germany and Australia, including the Four Prophet String Band, who bicycled all the way from Philadelphia with their instruments on their backs to play at the Jamboree.

“I believe everyone who comes and plays here is a star,” says Patterson, whose own band, The Wasted Lives, anchors every Jamboree with high-wattage honk-a-billy that gets the boots a-stompin’ and the skirts a-twirlin’.

“Everybody brings their heart to the show, they bring their best,” she adds. “A number of bands got their start with us, and it’s become important for the community to grow as musicians.”

Hot young bands who cut their teeth at the Jamboree include Lost in the Holler, the Good Gollys and the Carondolets, an all-girl doo-wop band. But Hurray for the Riff Raff and The Deslondes, who released their New West debut album this year, are probably the biggest stars to emerge from the scene, which is rooted in fertile soil.

The current Jamboree was seeded by Sundown Songs, a short-lived but seminal acoustic band that included (among others) a pre-Deslondes Sam Doores; a pre-Wasted Lives Matt Bell; and Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Lee. After recording one now-classic album, that tight-knit group of artists launched Classic Country Nights at the now-defunct Desperados Pizza on Frenchmen Street.

“Which lasted about two months,” Patterson recalls, with a laugh. “But it was really, really obvious that this show needed to exist. So when Sam left town to go on tour, I decided to take the reins.”

With Patterson in the saddle, the newly-minted Jamboree initially rode into the Allways Lounge on St. Claude Avenue. Former site of Cowpokes, the city’s only country-and-western gay dance bar, Allways boasted what every urban hoedown needs: a big wooden dance floor .

“That was one of the main reasons we picked it,” recalls Patterson. “We have a huge dance scene, which has become a big part of the community.”

That scene became even bigger about a year and a half ago, when the Jamboree moved to its new, more spacious home at Mag’s, 940, where the former Cowpokes dancers had migrated.

“When Cowpokes closed, this whole group of line dancers – straight, gay and transsexuals – really had nowhere to go,” says Mag’s 940 owner Paul Chiriaco. “So we picked them up, and they were so happy to have us.”

Ultimately, the Cowpokes line dancers and Jamboree bluegrass buffs merged into one big blended family at Mag’s. “There was a little bit of a conversion issue,” admits Chiriaco. But far from splintering into factions, the alliance made the whole community stronger.

“[The Cowpokes dancers] really made it possible for us to transition into this space,” says Patterson. And the torch has been passed; many Jamboree fans new to the scene come early to take square-dance, two-step and line-dance lessons from the oldtimers.

Tonight, as on every Tuesday, Jamboree dancers are in full swing. As soon as the fiddles tune up, the upright bass kicks in and the banjos get to strumming, the floor at Mag’s fills up with a crazy quilt of couples of every age, shape, demographic group and sexual orientation.

Some flaunt tribal tattoos or sport vintage rockabilly styles, while others go low-profile in t-shirts and jeans (with the requisite cowboy boots). But whatever they’re wearing, it all becomes a blur as they fly around the floor executing fancy footwork punctuated by dips, swings and dizzying turns.

The action is just as lively between sets, when John Calhoun, host of Spotlight New Orleans, plays auctioneer. Tonight’s auction benefits the Red Flame Hunters All Youth Indian Tribe, and bidding gets especially heated over a fresh satsuma pie.

When Calhoun finally shouts “sold!,” the pie goes for $30 to singer-songwriter Gina Forsyth, a Jamboree regular and frequent joke contest winner – who, as it happens, is the baker of said pie. Her reward? Seeing her money go to a worthy cause, while her super-yummy pie gets devoured by those of us lucky enough to snag a piece.

That kind of open-heartedness isn’t just good old country hospitality. It’s the Jamboree way.

“The whole reason it exists is the community,” says Patterson. “This is a community-driven show.”

The All-Star Covered Dish Country Jamboree happens every Tuesday night at Mag’s 940, 940 Elysian Fields Avenue. More Reverb and Woody Pines join The Wasted Lives on Tuesday, December 8 at 10pm. Check the Jamboree website for more information._

Main image: jamboree attendees dance to The Deslondes, by Tamara Grayson. Middle image by Cree McCree.

POSTED Dec 14, 2018

Atmosphere

Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Hey, the weather outside is kind of frightful! About as frightful as it gets down here anyways (also, note that next week temperatures will be back in the…....
CONTINUE

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED Nov 27, 2018

Atmosphere

Ready for Reveillon

Ready for Reveillon

Just like caroling on Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral concerts, or bonfires on the levee, Reveillon dinners are a beloved Crescent City holiday tradition. This year a…....
CONTINUE

POSTED Apr 6, 2018

Atmosphere

A New Orleans & Me Guide to Beer in the Crescent City

A New Orleans & Me Guide to Beer in the Crescent City

The beer scene in New Orleans has exponentially expanded since 2010, ballooning from a few beer-specializing bars and one homegrown brewery to a series of brewpubs, microbreweries and…....
CONTINUE

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED Nov 21, 2017

Atmosphere

Pre (and Post)-Turkey Day Times: Some November New Orleans Events

Pre (and Post)-Turkey Day Times: Some November New Orleans Events

Here are a few Thanksgiving you can enjoy in New Orleans. Beyond the below, don’t forget that on Nov 26 (the Sunday after Thanksgiving), some of the city’s…....
CONTINUE

Written by NEW ORLEANS & ME
PAGE

    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.

    WWNO

    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at WWNO.org.

    WWOZ

    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.

    PRC

    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.

    NOMA

    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.

    X

    Thanks.

    was added to your favorites.

    VIEW YOUR PROFILE

     


    Share On Twitter Share On Facebook