New Orleans makes its way to the City of Trees for this week’s Alive After Five featuring the Honey Island Swamp Band.
These Bayou buddies came together after Hurricane Katrina forced Aaron Wilkinson and Chris Mule out of their homes to find refuge in San Francisco. A meeting at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room reunited Wilkinson and Mule with fellow Katrina evacuees and NOLA musicians Sam Price and Garland Paul. The Honey Island Swamp Band was born.
After landing a weekly spot as house band at the Boom Boom Room, sound engineer Robert Gatley invited the band to record at Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles. The quartet eventually moved back to New Orleans, from where they would release their full-length debut, Wishing Well, which went on to be named 2009’s Best Blues Album at OffBeat Magazine’s Best of the Beat Awards.
The sound is comprised of four-part vocal harmonies, surly bass lines, slide guitar melodies and subtle mandolin musings. Wishing Well's title track begins with an impressive, soaring vocal medley and grooves through a bass-heavy tune that crescendoes with a bluesy guitar solo before the last chorus brings it to a close.