Yvette LandryvSheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage
Breaux Bridge native Yvette Landry focuses on traditional storytelling in her approach to music. Having played a variety of instruments in Cajun bands, Yvette now fronts her own band with strong Cajun influences and a traditional approach to country music. Landry's 2010 debut album Should Have Known featured prominent Cajun fiddling and dance tracks that highlighted her classic country vocals. She followed with 2013's No Man's Land and, a year later, Me & T-Coe's Country, which featured original songs and covers of classic country songs such as Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart."
Lil Buck Sinegal Blues Band
An elder statesman of blues and zydeco, Lil Buck Sinegal spent years perfecting his guitar work in the band of zydeco king Clifton Chenier, performing with countless greats, including Henry Gray, Rockin' Dopsie Sr. and Buckwheat Zydeco, and working as a session musician for the Excello record label. He performs his own soul-infused songs and rock, pop and rhythm and blues standards. Called "the best blues guitarist alive" by Eric Clapton, Sinegal displays the breadth of Louisiana roots music.
Sweet Crude is a percussion-heavy powerhouse that mixes genres and influences to make progressive music that embraces Louisiana's French-speaking traditions. Singing in French and English, bandleaders Sam Craft and Alexis Marceaux work within a seven-piece ensemble to bring a traditional sensibility to a modern repertoire, with deep layers of sound built on top of hard-hitting acoustic percussion. The band's 2013 album Super Vilaine drew comparisons to Arcade Fire and Talking Heads.
New Orleans-based slide guitarist, producer and singer-songwriter Luke Winslow-King signed to Bloodshot Records, Chicago's preeminent record label for all things country, punk and roots. Trained in classical music and jazz guitar, he employs a broad approach to roots music songwriting, employing elements of gospel, traditional jazz, Woody Guthrie-esque folk and Delta blues. He released a self-titled debut record in 2007 and followed it in 2009 with Old/New Baby, recorded at Preservation Hall. Subsequent albums The Coming Tide and Everlasting Arms focused on intimate storytelling and his stage show features folk sensibilities combined with the energy of a Louisiana dance hall.
Congo Square Stage
With a booming bass voice, an energetic stage show and hard-driving, dance-friendly sound, bounce music powerhouse Big Freedia has been a staple on the New Orleans music scene for nearly a decade. The former choir director and backup dancer/singer for Katey Red found early success with local hits like "Gin In My System," which was later quoted by Lil Wayne on a mixtape. By 2010, Freedia had parlayed her local success into national recognition, landing a national tour with pop act Matt and Kim, a feature in The New York Times with Katey Red and an appearance on Last Call with Carson Daly. She is credited as the artist who brought bounce to national recognition with her endless stream of digital twerk-dance hits, her reality show on FUSE TV and an autobiography, Big Freedia: God Save the Queen Diva. Freedia's vocals recently were featured on Beyonce's hit, "Formation."
Hurray for the Riff Raff
Alynda Lee Segarra made her artistic and critical breakthrough on 2014's acclaimed Small Town Heroes (ATO Records), a pastiche of skeletal folk and dusty country ballads, finding and empathizing with its titular characters on the fringe and fighting for women's justice. The songwriter and Hurray for the Riff Raff bandleader, who moved from her longtime home in New Orleans to Nashville last year, is a student of old time music and an impassioned, increasingly vital cultural critic, informing not only her honky tonk songbook but her fierce pen and tender howl. The band also performs a benefit for the New Orleans Musicians Clinic at the Ace Hotel at 10 p.m.
Zatarian's/WWOZ Jazz Tent
Broadway actor and baritone Gregory Porter did not release his first album until he was nearly 40, when the death of his mother inspired him to follow his musical dreams. Gregory Porter's first album, 2010's Water, was nominated for a Grammy Award and led to Porter signing with Blue Note Records. His third studio album, Liquid Spirit, now a mainstream hit, won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and he was named International Jazz Artist of the Year in 2015 by Jazz FM. With effortlessly smooth delivery, Porter's sound crosses genres, working in the realms of jazz, R&B and pop. Porter's much-anticipated Take Me to the Alley album drops in May.
Beck's fans have followed him from the early alt-folk days of One Foot in the Grave to the funk of Odelay, the dancehall of Midnite Vultures and the mournful, Serge Gainsbourg-inspired orchestras of Sea Change. Beck's worldwide 1994 hit "Loser" gained him a mainstream following, and he parlayed that success into a steady stream of critically praised work. His album Morning Phase won the 2015 Album of the Year Grammy. A multi-instrumentalist and prolific writer, Beck's eclectic sound combines strong influences from country, folk, electronica, rap and psychedelia. He is a frequent guest artist and collaborator, most recently on the track "Time Wind" on the EDM mega-band M83's new album, Junk. In 2015, Beck released the track "Dreams" off his forthcoming 13th studio album, and the up-tempo song is reminiscent of Odelay and Midnite Vultures.
King James and The Special Men
For many years, Jimmy Horn and his rhythm and blues band King James and The Special Men held court at the Bywater hangout BJ's Lounge. The band captured its raw, soul-infused sound on vinyl 45s as well as digitally. From being one of New Orleans' best kept secrets, the band went on to play Lincoln Center in New York City in 2013, where it performed a set at Midsummer Night Swing.
Congo Square Stage
From gritty street performer to Dr. Dre co-conspirator; from suspect in a homicide case to much-loved reality TV star; from California's Death Row Records to Louisiana's No Limit; from street life to youth football coach and dad; from internationally known rap artist to a career in reggae, Snoop Dogg has done a lot. It's rare that an artist once perceived as edgy can move so seemingly effortlessly to the mainstream, but Snoop's career is a testament to hard work and charm. With an instantly recognizable liquid lyrical style and delivery, Snoop's live performances cover the range of his career, from "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang" and "Gin and Juice" to the radio hit "Drop It Like It's Hot," all the while maintaining his hallmark sense of humor, charisma and laid-back cool.
The Original Pinettes Brass Band
Jazz & Heritage Stage
New Orleans' brass band tradition is overwhelmingly male-dominated. Enter the all-female The Original Pinettes Brass Band, founded in the early 1990s as an all-girl Catholic school band with a rotating roster of players. These days, snare drummer Christie Jourdain leads a solidified lineup. In 2013, The Original Pinettes won the Red Bull Street Kings brass band contest, and in doing so, changed the name of the contest to Red Bull "Street Queens." The year 2013 also brought the band studio work with legendary New Orleans producer Mannie Fresh and the release of its debut full-length album, Finally. The group combines local classics such as "Let's Go Get 'Em" with covers of songs like Amy Winehouse's "Valerie."
- Photo by scott saltzman
- Buddy Guy
Louisiana bluesman Buddy Guy is a living legend. Raised in a house with no running water in Pointe Coupee Parish, Guy left home in 1957 and headed to Chicago, where he built a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career playing with Muddy Waters as a house guitarist for Chess Records and collaborated with Junior Wells and many other blues greats. Guy's dedication to expanding the blues tradition through his unmatched guitar work and vocal style influenced everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Keith Richards. At nearly 80 years old, Guy shows no signs of slowing, bringing with him his vibrant stage performance style and his indelible knowledge of the American roots music catalog.
Topsy Chapman & Solid Harmony
Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent
Born into a musical family in Kentwood, Louisiana, singer and actress Topsy Chapman was raised in the gospel music tradition. Just out of high school, Chapman started her first group, the Chapman Singers, which performed her original material. As one of the original cast members of the off-Broadway hit One Mo' Time, for which she constructed the vocal harmony arrangements, Chapman solidified her status as a global ambassador for New Orleans music. She also starred in the Louisiana-shot, Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave in 2013. With a mix of gospel, jazz and rhythm and blues, her trio Solid Harmony — with daughters Yolanda Windsay and Jolynda Phillips — is a much-beloved Louisiana family band.