STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Yeah, Fat Tuesday isn’t till Feb. 28, but Mardi Gras time in New Orleans has officially been underway since approximately Feb. 10.
That’s according to Jake Eckert, guitarist and vocalist for New Orleans Suspects, who will team up with another NOLA band Eckert called “our homeboys,” Bonerama, with a “Beads, Bones & Suspects Mardi Gras” tour stop Feb. 17 at Ardmore Music Hall.
Started out in 2009 as a pick-up band, it attracted some of “the usual suspects” of the city’s scene. Eckert, who was the lead guitarist of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band at the time, said that the new group found an audience so rapidly around town that “it quickly became too much to do both” bands, he said.
As their popularity grew, they discovered that there were already bands using the names The Usual Suspects, and even the name The Unusual Suspects was taken. The New Orleans Suspects supergroup lineup features drummer “Mean” Willie Green of the Neville Brothers (who also recorded with TheGrateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Edie Brickell); bassist Charlie Wooton of Royal Southern Brotherhood; pianist C.R. Gruver, a sideman for Leo Nocentelli of The Meters; and James Brown sax player Jeff Watkins (who also worked for six years with Joss Stone as her producer, engineer and bandleader).
IF YOU GO
What: New Orleans Suspects and Bonerama’s “Beads, Bones & Suspects Mardi Gras” tour.
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 17.
Where: Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore.
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door, $30 for reserved seating.
Info.: Call (610) 649-8389 or visit www.ardmoremusic.com.
The band brings a swinging hybrid of funk, roots and Cajun music that they’ve committed to three studio albums and a live collection, and a generous slice of “New Orleans tunes.” Eckert gave a quick tutorial that the traditional New Orleans Songbook means the songs of James Booker, Professor Longhair, The Neville Brothers and tunes associated with Mardi Gras like “Big Chief” and “Hey Pocky A-Way.”
“The show in Philly at Ardmore, expect to get a taste of Carnival time and Mardi Gras in New Orleans,” Eckert said.
Check out www.neworleanssuspects.com.