Dirty Bourbon River Show
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Dirty Bourbon River Show

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock Soul




"On the Record: Dirty Bourbon River Show Review"

Only a band as genetically theatrical as the Dirty Bourbon River Show could subdivide a 30-minute EP into a three-act affair. In July, the New Orleans ensemble issued Free Love, its second self-released record this year, as merch-table fodder and an appetite-whetting intermezzo between Vol. 1, its February debut, and Vol. 2, due in spring 2011. But the platter took on a life of its own: a triple-gatefold, snow-globe carnival whose little big top houses three different introductions and even more personalities, segueing seamlessly from kazoo- and clarinet-blown circus shenanigans to smooth-croon lounge, and finely fingered folk ballads to banjo hoedowns, jazzy sax solos and staccato piano jams.

The eclectic collection functions as an aural snapshot of the Big Busk, the raucous Tuesday night burlesque residency at the Howlin' Wolf at which Dirty Bourbon has served as house band for the past six months. A revue of both established and inexperienced dancers, the gig has provided singer/songwriter Noah Adams his own nurturing spotlight.

  "It helps you get tight," Adams says of the weekly gig, which wraps for the year at the end of November. "We have all these parts now. It's a really nice dynamic. We have (saxophonist/clarinetist) Wayne (Mitchell), who's trained in jazz. He's nasty. (Bassist/tuba player) Jimmy (Williams), he's trained in funk. Me and (drummer) Bootsy (Schindler) are self-taught. At first it was very hard to come together. Now we've learned to wield it. We have such a diversity of styles we put together in these compositions."

  The band's trump card, early masters from Vol. 2 show, may be Charles "Big Charlie" Skinner. Previously credited as "narrator," Skinner assumes co-frontman duties with Adams on the new album, each rotating between lead and backing vocals, the former's buffed tenor providing a harmonious textural counterpoint to the latter's gruff, whiskey-blanched baritone. "He was sort of our ringmaster," Adams says. "He's a classically trained operatic singer."

  Just as Free Love (available as a free download at dbrs.bandcamp.com) fleshed out the template on Vol. 1, these next 10 songs will introduce a more complex, less carnivalesque River Show, outlined by Adams' love of "old-timey" music — from vaudeville to Bob Dylan — and colored by the Portland native's time here. "It's compositionally tighter," he says. "We're experimenting with different ways of recording, live tracking. We got some free time at the Music Shed and did a couple songs there. They came out amazing. ... This is the longest I've ever lived in a place, New Orleans. There's no better place to learn what you learn from a city."

  A night student at Loyola University, Adams, 26, often is hopping off a streetcar as his band is sound-checking at the Howlin' Wolf. Their Big Busk sets consist of originals and covers selected by the dancers, another form of music education. "'I Put a Spell on You,' 'St. James (Infirmary Blues),'" Adams says. "I hope we get a good connection between live music and burlesque. It just kind of falls naturally."

 As for Dirty Bourbon's direction going forward, Adams references a talk he heard Phil Anselmo (Down, Pantera) give at Loyola in 2009: "A lot of bands my age, they get locked into these styles. (Anselmo) said, 'In the '70s, people used to steal from 10 or 12 bands. Now bands are only stealing from one or two.' I'm stealing from a hundred bands. Take everything." - Gambit Weekly

"Dirty Bourbon, Dirty Athens and a Big Fat Booty spice up AthFest Saturday"

They weren’t from Athens, or Atlanta, but dang were they awesome: Dirty Bourbon River Show is a band I’ve written up in Marquee for their many Melting Point performances, but I’d yet to see the New Orleanian band live. They surely impressed with howling vocals and heavy horns. - Athens Banner-Herald

"Dirty Bourbon River Show - Volume Three Review"

The persistence of New Orleans R&B in the work of today’s younger artists is reassuring, even when it’s but one hue on a crowded palette. On Volume Three, Dirty Bourbon River Show shoots off Matassan flares of its own from under the patchwork cover of gypsy/brass/funk. Driven by a parade beat, “True Blue Blues” proves those saxophones and swagger are as durable as bargeboard and bad government.

“Say (That You Love Me)” offers a sweet, reedy plea, then a sudden burst of cinematic horns. “I Don’t Know” is a soul ballad from a barroom musical, while “Wolfman” wears a gypsy costume with ease. New horn-based bands have a tendency to dip into vaguely ethnic musical styles rather than forge their own, but things hang together well on this album because the voices are strong and the percussion knows its way around a second line. The shit-talking on “Legit” comes over well-considered changes and, I think, includes a reference to the Wu-Tang Clan.

Vocal harmony is also a strength, as heard on the delicate “Hold ’em High.” Dirty Bourbon scores life with enthusiasm and a capacity to follow directions both local and global. - Offbeat


Accordion Anthology (2013)
Volume Four (2013)
The Most Peculiar Thing (2012)
Volume Three (2012)
The OTAPJJ (2011)
Volume Two (2011)
Free Love (2010)
Volume One (2010)



Dirty Bourbon River Show, one of New Orleans’ most imaginative ensembles, spins their talent and whimsy into an offbeat musical frenzy unlike any other. With a larger-than-life and relentlessly energetic stage presence, Dirty Bourbon River Show ensnares audiences with their eccentric performances and wealth of up-tempo original material. Described by one reviewer as “a circus-like barrage of sound serving as entrance music for a magical mystery tour of whiskey-soaked French Quarter back alleys” (Offbeat Magazine), the band continues to surprise audiences with their rock-infused gypsy sound, all laid atop the foundation of the Big Easy brass band tradition. 

Dirty Bourbon River Show has released an impressive eight studio albums in the last four years, all while maintaining a vigorous tour schedule spanning the United States. After the release of their seventh album Volume 4 (May 2013), the band embarked on an extensive tour that included appearances at the Voodoo Festival, Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, and the 69th Annual Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington, DC.

Their most recent effort, Accordion Anthology (December 2013), reimagines tracks from their previous albums (Volumes through 4Free LoveThe OTAPJJ and The Most Peculiar Thing) using accordion as the core instrument in each arrangement. This burgeoning creativity is what truly distinguishes the band’s career; never pinned down to one genre, angle or industry convention, Dirty Bourbon River Show is on the path to an even more accomplished 2014, backed by their unwavering work ethic and ever-loyal legion of fans.

After relocating to New Orleans, multi-instrumentalist Noah Adams teamed up with percussionist Bootsy Schindler in 2008. Soon after, ringmaster Big Charlie Skinner joined the group, during which time the band saw its influences expanding to cover elements of jazz, folk, blues, Latin, and traditional New Orleans styles. Their first album as Dirty Bourbon River Show, Volume One, was released in February 2010 and was followed by a wave of touring in North America. By the end of 2011, the band had grown to its current five-piece lineup, with the addition of Jimmy Williams on sousaphone and bass, and reed player Matt Thomas on saxophone and clarinet.

The band will make the rounds on the festival circuit in 2014, with performances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Music Festival, and plenty of club shows across the USA. With a ninth studio album in the works, Dirty Bourbon River Show is poised to have their most eventful year to date.

Band Members