Posts in the AMERICANA category

The Mercy Brothers“…music you can dance to in a nightclub on a Saturday night or be saved by in a revival tent on Sunday morning.” – Third Coast Music

The Mercy Brothers were formed in 2011 by veteran musicians Kevin Sekhani, Mark Meaux and Garland Theriot out of Lafayette, Louisiana, and have been tearing up the Louisiana club and festival circuit ever since. Blending the spiritual fervor of an old-time tent revival with the rambunctious feel of a rural roadhouse, the Mercy Brothers combine the best elements of celestial and honky-tonk heaven.

They follow the footsteps of such fellow Louisiana musicians as the great Jerry Lee Lewis and his preacher cousin Jimmy Swaggart, mixing zealous religious lyrics with the most raucous, rowdy accompaniment. This unique holy hubbub hybrid, and a reputation for electrifying live shows that inspire impassioned sing-alongs, has won the band a loyal — dare we say — devout following.

Lead singer Kevin Sekhani, a Lafayette native, comes to the band with decades of professional experience in Lafayette and Austin, as the front man for such diverse bands as Radio Thieves, Two Minute Sinatra and Parade. Contributing mightily to the band’s arrangements, keyboardist Garland Theriot grew up near Lafayette listening to everything — rock, country, Cajun music, zydeco, blues, funk — but “it was the gospel I listened to as a kid that led me to play piano.”

Drummer Dave “Papa Puff” Nezat, formerly of Grammy Award winning Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, has shared the stage with legends Bobby Womack, Taj Mahal, Buckwheat Zydeco, L’il Buck Senegal and Tab Benoit. A musical pilgrimage from home state Wyoming brought bassist Matt Thornton to Lafayette via Colorado band, Motorhome. Guitarist Jason Leonard is a veteran of many South Louisiana bands and is an in-demand session player. Holy Ghost Power! also contains invaluable contributions from guitarist/singer/songwriter Mark Meaux, drummer Gregory Walls and bassist Cal Stevenson.

The Mercy Brothers are the latest to joyously explore the passionate roots music border zone of O Brother, Where Art Thou? — straddling that fine line between Saturday night blow-outs and Sunday morning reflection. Hear it on their exuberant 2013 debut CD Holy Ghost Power! on Louisiana Red Hot Records.





Blues-rockers the Bluebirds consisted primarily of brothers Buddy and Bruce Flett, Louisiana natives who formed the group in their hometown of Shreveport in 1987. The siblings — Buddy on guitar, Bruce on bass, and both on vocals — cut their teeth in A-Train, an outfit popular among Louisiana and Texas club patrons throughout its ten-year existence; immediately after the group’s dissolution, the Fletts reunited as the Bluebirds, originally a Tuesday night jam band which became a far more serious concern with the 1995 release of their debut LP Swamp Stomp. South from Memphis followed a year later.

The Bluebirds is a band that plays: high energy, fun-filled fusion of Louisiana rock ´n roll, good old fashioned blues and rockabilly, sprinkled with a bit of tex – mex and garnished with soul. The Bluebirds genuine musical mix has taken the band all over the world: Australia, USA, Europe and the Nordic countries.

The band is now almost back to the original setting, since the start in 1989. Or as Michelle for the Live Magazine (U.S.A) has written:“The irony of having a band from Sweden play American blues music better than nearly any group I had ever heard before was not lost on me”. Blues association of Queensland, Australia says:“Have you been waiting ´round for another band like The Fabulous Thunderbirds to come along? Well, your wait is over, the Bluebirds have arrived”, and they are ready to rock the house!


Honey Island Swamp BandBIO

Great music begins with great songs, and great songs are what the Honey Island Swamp Band is all about. The band came together after Aaron Wilkinson (acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Chris Mule’ (electric guitar, vocals) were marooned in San Francisco after the levee breaches following Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, and had a chance encounter with fellow New Orleans evacuees Sam Price (bass, vocals) and Garland Paul(drums, vocals) at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room on Fillmore Street. They knew each other from having all played together in some form or another in various New Orleans bands, and with the great unknown regarding their return to their underwater hometown looming in the distance, they decided to put together a band and get some gigs going. Fortunately, the Boom Boom Room’s owner Alex Andreas offered the band a weekly gig on the spot.

Sunday nights at the Boom Boom Room soon became a favorite of Bay Area roots music lovers, who have a long-standing affinity for New Orleans music and musicians. Two months into the residency, sound engineer Robert Gatley approached the band with a rare opportunity — he wanted to record a Honey Island Swamp Band album at the legendary Record Plant studios in Sausalito, where he worked. The 7-song eponymous debut “Honey Island Swamp Band”came together beautifully, with Wilkinson and Mulé both contributing favorite originals, and was received so well that they all decided to continue the band upon moving back to New Orleans in 2007.

Honey Island Swamp Band‘s music has been described as “Bayou Americana”with timeless songs from Wilkinson & Mulé, highlighted by Mulé’s searing guitar, Wilkinson’s sure-handed mandolin, and 4-part vocal harmonies, all anchored by the powerful groove of Price & Paul’s Louisiana stomp rhythm section. The addition of Trevor Brooks on Hammond B-3 organ to the HISB family in 2010 has rounded out the band’s sound, which draws from a variety of influences in the world of roots music, including artists such as Lowell George & Little Feat, The Band, Taj Mahal, Gram Parsons, Jerry Garcia, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Reed, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and New Orleans’ own Earl King and Dr. John.

In April 2009, the band released its first full-length album entitled Wishing Well. The album was well-received and based on the strength of such songs as “Natural Born Fool”, “Till the Money’s Gone”, and the  title track, Wishing Wellwas awarded 2009′s “Best Blues Album” by OffBeat Magazine, which also named HISB as 2009’s “Best Emerging Artist” and 2010’s “Best Roots Rock Artist”. Most recently HISB won the award for “Best Roots Rock Artist” of 2011 at the Big Easy Awards, New Orleans’ most prestigious arts and entertainment honors.

2010’s Good To You was named to several “Top Ten CDs of 2010″ lists, and has quickly become a staple on the Crescent City’s legendary radio station WWOZas well as on Sirius/XM Bluesville. It features the southern strut of songs such as “Be Good”, “300 Pounds” and the album’s first single “Chocolate Cake.”

Now the band is gearing up for their first nationally-distributed studio recording, Cane Sugar, on Louisiana Red Hot Records in late July 2013. Produced by Grammy-winning producer John Porter, the 12 new songs illuminate the mix of country-inflected rock, New Orleans funky blues and infectious songwriting that makes Honey Island Swamp Band‘s music so familiar yet unique at the same time. Cane Sugar is by far their most fully-realized recording to date and reflects the finely tuned unit the band has become after incessant touring.


“Somewhere, there exists a dark, smoky bar with a jukebox that spins George Jones, Gram Parsons, Delbert McClinton, and Little Feat. And if that fantasy honky-tonk lights your Marlboro, you need to know about Honey Island Swamp Band.” – Broward-Palm Beach New Times

“Vintage country meets Gulf Coast boogie-woogie blues.” – Bthesite, Baltimore Sun

“The Honey Island Swamp is a real place. It resides near the border of Louisiana and Mississippi. It’s therefore a fitting name for this band that draws inspiration from the music of those two states. With the Honey Island Swamp Band, soul, country, R&B and blues are all on equal footing. The two man songwriting/guitarist team of Chris Mulé and Aaron Wilkinson produce expressive, hook-laden tunes that honor songcraft while respecting the groove.” – Jambase.com

“What a fine band this is – an utterly refreshing, unpretentious group of first-rate instrumentalists who also sing engagingly. Their music is as delicious as their name.” – Susan Peña, The Reading Eagle



Tommy MaloneBIO

Malone’s musical roots run deep, beginning with the formative ‘70s bands Dustwoofie, the Cartoons and the Continental Drifters; the last of which spawned a stripped-down band known as the Subdudes. With a single tambourine for percussion and a keyboardist who favored accordion, the Subdudes almost single-handedly bucked the ‘80s trend of mile-high production, proving that memorable songs, soulful delivery and true chemistry were all you really needed. The original quartet disbanded after 1997’s Live At Last album; Malone first joined the short-lived supergroup Tiny Town (with Pat McLaughlin, Ken Blevins and fellow Subdude Johnny Ray Allen), then made his solo debut with 2001’s Soul Heavy. But solo projects were put aside as a reshuffled Subdudes lineup appeared in 2004, producing another run of first-class albums before disbanding—for good, it seemed—in 2011.

He formed another short-lived band with his older brother Dave—whose own longrunning band, the Radiators had also just broken up—but wound up gravitating to the funky New Orleans club Chickie Wah Wah, where he played regular gigs to work out a new batch of solo songs. The first result was Natural Born Days, recorded with an all-star cast including keyboardist Jon Cleary, guitarist Shane Theriot, bassist David Hyde, drummer Doug Belote and singer Susan Cowsill. Reviewing that album, OffBeat magazine’s David Kunian notes, “It’s a crime that Tommy Malone isn’t better known around the world. He is a triple threat—beautiful singer, fine songwriter, and killer guitarist.” No Depression’s Alan Harrison confided that after listening to the album, “My pulse was racing far too fast for a man my age.”

Malone’s only regret was that he didn’t finish Natural Born Days in time to play the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2013, so he resolved to have the followup ready for a spring 2014 release. But despite its quick turnaround, Poor Boy sports the finely crafted songs and soulful delivery that fans have come to expect from Malone.

Once again he assembled a cast of old and new musical partners. Anchoring the studio band on Poor Boy is coproducer and multi-instrumentalist Ray Ganucheau, who played in the ‘90s incarnation of the Continental Drifters before joining Malone to record and tour behind Soul Heavy. Representing another Drifters lineup is drummer Russ Broussard, who joined that band in the later ‘90s and now plays regularly with his wife Susan Cowsill and with bluesman Johnny Sansone. Completing the core band is Sam Brady, a key part of Malone’s road band over the past year.

Another old musical friend, co-writer Jim Scheurich—a bandmate from Dustwoofie days, and a frequent collaborator on Natural Born Days—again contributes to a handful of tracks. Ex-Tiny Town mate Pat McLaughlin co-writes the lively “Bumble Bee”—a song that literally had us laughing for two hours,” Malone notes—and ace Nashville songwriter Gary Nicholson co-authored “Once in a Blue Moon.” Malone wrote the remaining tracks on his own including “Talk to Me,” which draws an especially soul-baring vocal. “That’s just one of those times when you dig down deep and say what you need to say. We cut it with almost nothing besides voice and 12-string. If it’s real, it’s real.”

“Time to Move On” and “We Both Lose” both take a more pointed look at friendships gone south. “There’ve been a few of those in my life, a couple people that weren’t doing me much good emotionally,” he says. “But I don’t like songs that point the finger too much, so I tried to be a little more delicate with those.”

One surprise highlight is Stevie Wonder’s “Big Brother,” the first cover tune on a Malone solo album. “Still pretty timely, isn’t it?” he says of the 1972 track. “And I’ve always been a huge Stevie Wonder fan, in fact Talking Book was the first album I ever bought. To this day I think it’s his best record.” An even earlier influence gets recalled on “You May Laugh,” which sports an unmistakable British Invasion feel. “My brothers and I all watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, and we all got guitars afterwards, I was only seven but they were a huge influence, on me and so many other Baby Boomers.”

Another longtime influence is his hometown of New Orleans, where he’s now resettled after a few years as a Katrina exile in Nashville. The Crescent City feel is hard to miss, whether it’s the funky groove on “All Dressed Up” (“my party song for geriatrics,” Malone laughs), or his evocation of debutante balls in “Pretty Pearls.” “As everyone knows, trying to sum up New Orleans is like trying to explain rock and roll to an alien. But it’s my home and it feels good—the language you hear on the street, the craziness in the air and the obvious things like the great food. And I rekindled a few old friendships, which really helped on this album.”

Look for Tommy on the road this spring and summer, with keyboardist Brady joining him as the Tommy Malone Duo. And to everyone’s surprise, he’s also signed on for a string of dates with the other original Subdudes—keyboardist John Magnie, bassist Johnny Ray Allen, and percussionist Steve Amadee—together for the first time in 17 years. So far they’re taking it slow, doing selected dates including a New Orleans club show during Jazz Fest. “I think our days of being constantly on the road are over, but it’s not often you get four guys with this kind of chemistry and this much good music,” he says. But Malone plans above all to follow his muse, whether as a solo artist, band member or collaborator. “I just plan to continue doing what I do best, and that’s writing, recording and playing new material.”


“Bands like this and men like this once thundered across the American music scene in mighty herds. Few are left now. Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty come leaping to mind. Bar bands — guys who pour their hearts out — have gotten a bad name of late. Because of their refusal to do any one trick over and over and their tendency to produce what the uninformed may refer to as pastiche, albums like this often go overlooked. That’s a real shame. Tommy Malone‘s band is a facile instrument, pliable and expressive enough to be the perfect vehicle for his accomplished songwriting. And it’s the song that’s the thing. Tales of heartache exist peaceably with the odd murder ballad and tender musing. Malone‘s voice is mature, and his arrangements are impeccable. There used to be a lot of Tommy Malones. Let’s hope he doesn’t go the way of the buffalo.” – Rob Ferrier, AllMusic.com



As a 20 year veteran of the Austin music scene, Kevin Sekhani has done it all. From blazing rock-n-roll to Holy Ghost Honkytonk, Sekhani never fails to entertain crowds with heartfelt enthusiasm and poignant lyrics.

Spending time in Austin working with Michael Ramos (John Mellencamp, Patty Griffin), Andrew Duplantis (Son Volt), and Austin Chronicle’s three-time String Player of the Year winner Warren Hood. In 2010, Sekhani moved back to his home town of Lafayette, Louisiana to front The Mercy Brothers, a Gospel group walking the fine line of sinners and saints.

Since the prodigal son’s return home, he has won over the hearts of Jazz Fest and Festival International audiences, landed a top 5 spot on the Americana charts in Europe with The Mercy Brothers debut release, toured Sweden, and signed his Gospel group to Louisiana Red Hot Records.

Honed from years of collaborations and jam sessions with the legendary wordsmith Bill Carter, who wrote hits for Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Counting Crows, Waylon Jennings and others, Sekhani’s voracious songwriting extends beyond Gospel into secular territory with his new solo album Day Ain’t Done. Adam Sheets of No Depression praises Sekhani’s work on the album deeming it “one of the best debut albums I have heard in years.”

Day Ain’t Done is layered with Americana staple instrumentation, taking the earthy tones of violin, mandolin, accordion and acoustic guitars to give the feel of a back porch jam on a Louisiana Saturday night. The album’s track “Oilfield Tan” has found its way into regular rotation on local Louisiana and Texas radio stations, resonating amongst an area all too familiar with the demanding industry of oilfield work.

Kevin Sekhani celebrates his Louisiana roots by signing with Louisiana Red Hot Records to help bring Day Ain’t Done to the worldwide stage. With stops at 2014’s South by Southwest music festival, Sekhani has already began to garner excitement for his solo career. Still, whether you catch Kevin Sekhani at a large festival or on a small front porch, you are guaranteed to enjoy one hell of a show.


“Sekhani’s alternative country gumbo of guitar, Dobro, fiddle, mandolin and more can hang with the best of them.” – Herman Fuselier, Music Writer

“Hailing from Lafayette, LA but cutting his teeth in the Austin music scene, Kevin Sekhani fuses the styles of country, rock and roll, and back-porch jamming to form a vivacious sound.” – The Independent Weekly

“Kevin Sekhani Cajun singer songwriter and veteran Austin musician makes a rousing debut on New Orleans’ Louisiana Red Hot Records with this year’s Day Ain’t Done” – Chris Gray, Houston Press

“If you like music that gets you dancing, this is an album you should add to your collection” – Gary Schwind, AXS TV

“With a voice slightly reminiscent of a young Steve Earle and solid songwriting, Day Ain’t Done is one of the best albums I have heard in years.” – Adam Sheets, No Depression

“Kevin has always been an exceptional singer and Songwriter” – Bill Carter, Songwriter (Caught in the Crossfire, Willie the Wimp – Stevie Ray Vaughn, Why Get Up – The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robert Palmer)

“Day Ain’t Done is a rich organic blend of alternative country styled Americana textured with fiddle, accordion and dobro that showcases Sekhani’s Louisiana roots both musically and lyrically” – Cody Daigle, The Daily Advertiser

“Day Ain’t Done is dripping with moss, delivering you right to the levee at Henderson swamp, while Ballad of a Lonely Clown and Jimmy would feel at home on the Grand Ole Opry Stage” – The Daily Advertiser


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