New Orleans Suspects headlines Free Summer Concert Series this Friday
Steamboat Springs — Applying the term “supergroup” to the New Orleans Suspects is no exaggeration. It’s a fact.
These seasoned, highly respected players right off the streets of New Orleans have the repertoire and long list of accomplishments to prove it.
With members from some of the most iconic New Orleans groups like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Radiators and The Neville Brothers, the group is considered a legendary, veteran touring act.
“There’s so much that happens in the streets here that’s colored by the music,” said New Orleans Suspects’ bass player Reggie Scanlan. “You can hear it all the time — brass band music is that original street music. It’s part of the fabric of your life if you grew up here.”
Emulating that authenticity and big band brass sound, the New Orleans Suspects will be in town Friday for the Free Summer Concert Series at the Howelsen Amphitheater. The gates will open at 5 p.m. with the Denver-based blues guitarist known as the Jaden Carlson Band opening the show at 6 p.m., and the main act starting at 7 p.m.
“The conglomeration of players should be a whole lot of New Orleans funk and a high energy show,” said John Waldman, of Great Knight Productions, co-founder and promoter of the Free Summer Concert Series. “We expect a strong turnout.”
What started out in 2009 as a pick-up band calling themselves The Unusual Suspects evolved into the New Orleans Suspects after the summer of 2011 when the group decided to tour full time and released three full length albums.
The group’s vast talent comes from members like “Mean” Willie Green, drummer for the Neville Brothers for over 30 years with his drumming on recorded tracks with groups like the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Edie Brickel. In addition, Scanlan has enjoyed a career defined by his 33 years playing bass for The Radiators, one of the longest running rock acts in the history of New Orleans.
Others include vocalist and guitarist Jake Eckert, lead guitarist in the Dirty Dozen Brass Band; keyboard player and vocalist C.R. Cruver from Outformation and The Meters Experience; and saxophonist Jeff Watkins previously with the James Brown band and the Joss Stone band.
“Everyone in this band, even those not from New Orleans, are very aware and proud to be representing the music that originated out of this city,” said Scanlan, who also performed in the 1970s with legends James Booker, Professor Longhair and Earl King. “There is a lot of history here, and the musicians here hold that very close and take it seriously because it’s such a big part of this culture.”
Although the group has been in Steamboat Springs before, this time they will bring new music from their original studio album “Ouroboros” and repertoire of contemporary funk, rock and R&B traditions of New Orleans music.
“I think it’s really cool that they are coming to Steamboat because I would say they are one of the better representations of old school New Orleans music with a signature style,” said Billy Franklin, former Steamboat resident from New Orleans who performs in the group Smoke N’ Bones that often comes to town. “This band is the closest you will get to seeing some of those other groups and their flavor when they were in their prime. You won’t see anything like this in Steamboat.”
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Smooth harmonies, skilled songwriting and intricate fingerpicking will be on display at Strings Music Festival next week for Jamestown Revival’s evening concert Wednesday, Jan. 26.