Honey Island Swamp Band
Louisiana Red Hot Records
When hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005 many residents found themselves stranded and unable to go home. Such was the case with Aaron Wilkinson (acoustic guitar, mandolin) and Chris Mule (electric guitar). Also in San Francisco at the time were evacuees Sam Price (bass) and Garland Paul (drums). Since they all knew each other they decided to put together a band and get some gigs at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room on Fillmore Street. They wound up playing there every Sunday night.
The band received an offer to record and released a 7 song debut they called “The Honey Island Swamp Band”. When they moved back to New Orleans in 2007 they decided to remain together. In 2009 they released their second cd “Wishing Well” and received Offbeat Magazine’s “Best Blues Album” and “Best Emerging Artist” awards. Offbeat is the premier New Orleans music magazine. In 2010 they followed up with “Good to You”. Soon after they added Trevor Brooks on Hammond B-3. In both 2011 and again in 2012 The Honey Island Swamp Band were winners of The Big Easy Award as “Best Roots Rock Artist”.
This is their first recording for Louisiana Red Hot Records and fourth album overall. Special guests include Jimmy Carpenter, Saxophones; Greg Hicks (from Bonerama), trombone; and Antonio Gambrell, trumpet. The horn arrangements are by Carpenter.Michael Skinkus adds percussion. Background vocals are provided by Gina Brown and Evelyn Montgomery. There are many additional guests including Mickey Raphael, John Mooney, and John Cleary.
The bands sound is similar perhaps to Little Feat. All four band members sing. Wilkinson and Mule split the songwriting. Wilkinson contributes the opening track “Change My Ways”, “Prodigal Son”, “Pills” and “Strangers”. He has also co-written two more songs with producer John Porter. Mule’ has composed “Cast The First Stone”, “One Shot”, “Miss What I Got”, and “Never Saw It Comin”. He also collaborated with Porter on “Just Another Fool”. “Johnny Come Home” was written by Mule, Wilkinson, Porter and Mooney who guests on the track.
This is infectious music that will make you want to get up and dance. Besides sounding like Little Feat; at times they remind me of The Band, or The Subdudes. This album is highly recommended listening.