New Orleans is undergoing a musical renaissance, whilst as a musical hub it's never dormant, it's only been recently that a new batch of musicians either from the crescent city or drawn there have begun to delve into the rich musical history of the area and this rediscovery is leading to some amazing new music.
One of the leading exponents of this revival is The Deslondes, a loose congregation of musicians who have been part of a big jam band collective that includes former members of Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Long Time Goners and Tumbleweed. This self titled debut is steeped not only in the sounds of New Orleans but also the other diverse sounds from the deep south, The Deslondes are soaked in cajun, rough hewn Texas honky tonk and southern soul. The musical threads might be loose but they tie together, capturing the renegade spirit of the likes of Doug Sahm, Huey Meaux, Bobby Charles and Jimmy Donley.
Opening track Fought The Blues and Won makes its intentions clear, steeped in the tradition of Fat's Domino R&B the Deslondes turn it into a drunken revelry. Vocalist Sam Doores sounds a little like the late great Jimmy Donley. Whilst it has a New Orleans feel it also feels like it's path has travelled further south to the Texas border with pronounced vox organ refrain. Those Were (could've been) The Days is more Tennessee hills country than New Orleans swamp with some dexterous fiddle work by the exceptional John James Tourville. Tourville playing pedal steel shines on the soulful Heavenly Home, Less Honkin More Tonkin mixes rockabilly with Louisiana cajun, for a riotous foot stompin celebration. The Real Deal is pure Doug Sahm circa 1967 with his latter day incarnation of the Sir Douglas Quintet, it has that weary blissed out feel that Doug made his own. Still Someone is a lonesome country tune that name calls the great musical states of the union from Alabama to Missouri, snaking along the Mississippi into the bands beloved Louisiana.
Time To Believe goes a little too far off the map for my taste sounding a bit like the Sons of The Pioneers, it sounds a little like Ghost Riders In The Sky. Louise is a great slice of Texas country, more soulful and bluesy with Tourville adding some real depth with his punchy bursts of pedal steel. The Deslondes self titled debut is more than a pastiche and it's more than the usual slice of Americana, it delves deep into the mystic of the south and in particular the wonderful sounds of New Orleans all the way down to Texas and all stops between. It's flawlessly played, rough and ready as all New Orleans music should be and with great passion and a sense of humour thrown in for good measure.