Murphy's Musical Notes - March 2019
- Story by Pat Murphy
I first became aware of Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue when a family member came back from the New Orleans Jazz Festival about four or five years ago raving about the band. This person told me that the lead singer, Gal Holiday, was like Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells and Leona Williams rolled into one!
Now a whole lot of people know of my lifetime love of rhythm and blues music. I eat, sleep and breathe it. What a lot of folks don't know is that there's a special place in my heart for what I call "real deal country music."
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Several months after hearing about Gal Holiday's performance at Jazz Fest, a number of us made a road trip to Ruby's Roadhouse in Mandeville to see the band perform live. Anyone who isn't familiar with Ruby's should know that it is a roadhouse in every sense of the word. That night at Ruby's I discovered that Gal Holiday was much more than Patsy Cline and that this band could rip through old honky tonk country and rockabilly music with the best of them.
About nine months ago I saw Gal Holiday (real name Vanessa Niemann) when the band performed for an open air concert series sponsored by the Pass Christian library. Though I wouldn't have thought it possible, the band was even more diverse at this event, performing a broad range of tunes from John Prine and Johnny Cash to Leona Williams.
I was extremely excited to learn that the band would be bringing its diverse brand of self-described "punkabilly music" to Bay St. Louis's historic 100 Men D.B.A. Hall on Sunday, March 10, at 1pm for a live performance. Tickets are $20.00 at the door.
The band was founded in 2004 by Vanessa Niemann, and their popularity has steadily grown with regular performances at clubs, roadhouses and concerts in the New Orleans area. The band is regularly featured at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. They continue to perform and tour both in the U.S. and abroad in Europe.
The Honky Tonk Revue is comprised of talented, seasoned musicians armed with powerful songwriting capabilities. The musicians who make up the band are as follows:
Vanessa "Gal Holiday" Niemann handles the job of bandleader and primary vocalist. She arrived in New Orleans in 1999 from the Maryland area and put this band together five years later.
Justin LeCuyer handles acoustic rhythm guitar and vocals for the group. He came to New Orleans in 2012 to explore the music scene and has been there ever since.
Corey McGillivary is the group's very talented Acoustic upright bass player, and she also sings background vocals.
The lead guitarist for The Honky Tonk Revue is Jimbo Mathus, who I really like because of his ability to play in that single picking country and rockabilly twang style of guitar.
Tony Frickey plays drums for the band and does a really great job.
Their latest CD is entitled "Lost & Found." The band's performances never grow old and continue to delight everyone, from rowdy roadhouse two- steppers to new country music listeners as well.
While the music of New Orleans is most often thought of in terms of funk and jazz, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue continue to prove that the Crescent City always celebrates its musical diversity with a lot enthusiasm. Country music is alive and well, and you'll know it when you experience this band. I hope to see you at the show.