Having covered Jazz Fest happenings for many years, Guitar Player is happy to help focus the fertile talent pool on the spacious new Frenchmen Theatre for a FREE special GP Presents showcase. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival takes place each year on the last weekend in April and the first weekend of May.
Many of the planet’s finest players prowl the Big Easy doing club gigs during the “daze between.” The Frenchmen Guitar Friendzy is a call-to-strings gathering right in the heart of NOLA’s hippest music scene—Frenchmen Street. GP is pleased to help the Frenchmen Theatre—which boasts the best stage on the strip—host an incredibly happening list of international and local players.
Sonny Landreth (top right) is considered by many to be Louisiana’s King of Strings. The former GP cover artist and Strat-wielding slide titan has a brand new CD of blues tunes under his belt, and Landreth will surely make the sky cry when he makes landfall.
Luther Dickinson (top left) (North Mississippi Allstars, Black Crowes) is a roots music master who will be at Jazz Fest getting out new music from the Word. It’s a gospel supergroup with sacred steel crusader Robert Randolph and keyboard wiz John Medeski in cahoots with the original NMAS krewe. Dickinson participated in the inaugural GP Presents show a decade ago, and at the Duane Allman tribute five years past. You could say he’s due back. We’re thrilled about that.
Soulive’s Eric Krasno is one of the funkiest players in jazz, and he’s been a steady presence on the Frenchmen Street boogaloo scene for many moons. The Ibanez aficionado has a new label called Feel, which just put out the new London Souls CD, Here Come the Girls. They’re in town for Jazz Fest too, so let’s hope guitarist Tash Neal turn ups at the Friendzy.
Eric McFadden (top center) is a fearless guitar freak that’s at home in almost any genre, and has played with a broad list of bands including P-Funk, Eric Burdon & the Animals, and Stockholm Syndrome. McFadden’s got a new acoustic record in his pocket, and he tells GP that an electric offering is imminent from his supergroup T.E.N. featuring Fishbone’s Norwood Fisher and former Mars Volta skin slammer Thomas Pridgen.
Chris Mulé copilots New Orleans’ favorite roots rock ensemble, the Honey Island Swamp Band. The Bayou Americana maestro never misplaces a note, and he always purveys a good time vibe. Having hit the haunts more times than most, Mulé is a bona fide Frenchmen Street Ruler.
Phil deGruy inhabits his own territory as a guitarist. He mostly plays solo Guitarp, a custom instrument built by Ralph Novak (who famously builds guitars for Charlie Hunter) that’s a marriage between a fanned-fret 7-string guitar and ten additional short strings tuned to the upper register of a harp. deGruy utilizes them like a harpist, fingerpicking chords and melodies. His latest CD, Just Duet, features Hunter, Mike Stern, and Reeves Gabrels. deGruy will bring a high-class element to the Friendzy. Don’t be late for his early set.
Bert Cotton is best known as the guitarist who stands toe to toe and trades licks blow by blow with the horny as hell, triple-headed trombone monster called Bonerama. Cotton is a local favorite in New Orleans, and we’re happy to have him representing.
Ian Cunningham is a great groove-melody guy. His rhythm chops are on the One, and he makes fine use of cool clean and fiery overdriven tones when he takes a lead. He’ll hit the Friendzy stage late and ensure booties are still shaking.
Jimmy Leslie is the former editor of Gig magazine, a longtime contributor to Guitar Player, and the event coordinator for GP Presents. With a Godin Montreal Premiere in hand, he’s a funky blues rocker with a unique freehand plucking approach. He’s recorded two CDs in New Orleans—one featuring members of Galactic, and the other featuring members of the Honey Island Swamp Band. Leslie will play host for the evening.
Each artist will perform a half-hour set with top-flight backline provided by sponsor Mesa/Boogie via True South artist serices, and backed by a top-shelf rhythm section culled from among the cream of the NOLA crop—bassist Sam Price (Honey Island Swamp Band) and flexible time keeper Kevin O’Day. Cross-pollination is encouraged, and there will surely be celebrated collaborations at this singular event.
Make plans to put yourself at the Frenchmen Street Friendzy on the Wednesday between Jazz Fest weekends in New Orleans where you’ll find the finest collection of cats doing the New Orleans crawl. Pick up a free magazine and D’Addario strings while you listen to the Friendzy singe!
The event is FREE!
Guitar Player Presents the Frenchmen Guitar Friendzy
Wednesday, April 29
6pm doors; 7pm show
516 Frenchmen Street (Next to and behind Bamboula’s)
New Orleans, LA 70116