New Artist Feature: Honey Island Swamp Band

Words by Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans a few years back, a Midwesterner like myself can only imagine how bleak the city’s perspective must have been after the disaster. It’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel during hard times, but for the bold and focused, things somehow always tend to work out. New Orleans-based Honey Island Swamp Band knows about tough times. Stranded in San Francisco after Katrina, Aaron Wilkinson (acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Chris MulĂ© (electric guitar, vocals) met by chance fellow NOLA musicians Sam Price (bass, vocals), and Garland Paul (drums, vocals) who were stuck as well with no prospect of returning to their beloved home anytime soon. Stick together, they did. The newly-formed group quickly found its groove playing a weekly gig at San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room, recorded a seven-song debut, and then took its talents back home when the time had come to head back south...

For only having listened to Honey Island Swamp Band for a brief period, I’m blown away by how familiar the quartets’s sound is to my eardrums. Funky, home-cooked roots rock at its finest, the band’s music tastes of greasy gumbo goodness made from danceable beats, slick slide guitar swells, and all the grit you deserve in your vocals. Check out the archived show below and hear for yourself the type of boogie I’m gettin’ at. With a loaded tour schedule alongside big league festival dates at NOLA JazzFest, Hangout, and Wakarusa, the light’s gonna be shining on these guys for many months to come. Southern music still has its soulful voice, and thanks to Honey Island Swamp Band, that voice can be heard a bit louder every day. It’s time to listen up.

Honey Island Swamp Band Live at Bimbo's 365 Club on September 19, 2010.


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