Miss Neesie & the Ear Food Orchestra
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Miss Neesie & the Ear Food Orchestra

San Antonio, Texas, United States

San Antonio, Texas, United States
Band Blues Americana

Calendar

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Apr
30
Miss Neesie & the Ear Food Orchestra @ JumpStart Theater - Blue Star Arts Complex

San Antonio, Texas, USA

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Apr
23
Miss Neesie & the Ear Food Orchestra @ Fiesta Arts Fair - Southwest School of Art & Craft

San Antonio, Texas, USA

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Apr
22
Miss Neesie & the Ear Food Orchestra @ St. Mary's University Oyster Bake

San Antonio, Texas, USA

San Antonio, Texas, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


If semi-organized pandemonium stirs your blood, then show up some night for this band, folks. Audience participation is mandatory, which is what makes for such a rousing good time with Miss Neesie and the Ear Food Orchestra, the longest-running premier blues/zydeco act in San Antonio.
Mardi Gras beads will be thrown at you. Everyone gets their own noisemaker. And the band goes wireless amidst throngs of revelers. No sleeping or yawning is allowed, as the varied flavors of Southern Louisiana-Texas smack your head awake.
Besides two-steps, waltzes and the best of Cajun and zydeco, the wonderful blues growl of Miss Neesie Beal guarantees constant entertainment, which is difficult to part with even at 2:00 a.m. with bouncers at your heels. - San Antonio Blues Society


I headed out last weekend for San Antonio (a big road trip) with my two buddies, rock and roll Carol and Teresa. We rolled into Carlsbad Tavern on West Avenue near Blanco in time for the kick-off of Miss Neesie and the Ear Food Orchestra. Although this small club has hosted Leon Russell, Marshall Tucker, Ponty Bone, Terry Allen, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Terri Hendrix (to name a few), the Ear Food Orchestra did fill up the corner stage. What a party it was--Zydeco all the way with vintage blues thrown in for good measure. I make sure I received one of the party gifts--a plastic bottle filled with beans, tied with ribbon and soaked in glitter. I did play along with the rhythm section--as did everyone in this packed house. We were there to celebrate a special occasion. Miss Neesie, elementary school teacher by day, was celebrating her 50th birthday. Now this band always throws a party, holding down a regular summer gig in Port Aransas, but Saturday night, January 27, was a different kind of party. We celebrated a significant passageway, the turning of 50. And Miss Neesie does NOT even come close to looking her age!
Dressed in black, covered with stars, she growled (a Neesie speciality), wailed and moaned the music. I especially liked "School Teacher Blues." What a party to throw in this Tavern of Texas heritage. February 2, Kinky Friedman and Billy Joe Shaver performed. I'm excited to be signing my book on Texas songwriters on this brief tour. I talked briefly with owner Julie Palmer. "We've had this place five years. We love the music, and the place has character." She was sitting at the front door taking the cover charge.
The Ear Food Orchestra includes another one of my heroes, Jim Beal. He plays bass as Rakeem (or something like that), but he writes a great column for the San Antonio Express News. The horn section added a Louisiana sound, mixed with harmonica, drums, and guitar. We even had a fratoirre solo (or fratois). At the end of the evening, Neesie moved out through the audience with her polaroid camera, giving audience members the gift of a photo. Such a party! - Kathleen Hudson: Texas Heritage Music Foundation


Miss Neesie and the Ear Food Orchestra play traditional zydeco and Cajun music in an untraditional manner. The fun-loving group distributes plastic bottles filled with cat litter to audience members willing to help out with percussion, often strolls into the audience while playing, and occasionally even dances on the bar.
A fifth-grade teacher in San Antonio during the school year, Miss Neesie takes on the persona of a Louisiana queen when on stage. Though neither she nor the members of her band are Creole, they're fascinated by the culture's music.
As is tradition, Neesie sings some of the Cajun music in French. Not fluent, Neesie had to ask her school's secretary, a native of France, to help her learn the words to a few songs. "She would read the words to the song very slowly into a tape recorder, and then I'd listen to them over and over again to learn the words and pronunciation," Neesie explained.
Keep your ears open for crowd favorite, "The Ballad of Home Grown Ramone (The Correct and Original Dancing Chicken of San Marcos, Texas)." - Corpus Christi Caller-Times


Discography

The CD: "Enshrined"

The Ear Food Orchestra is not what anyone would describe as an accomplished studio band. The Ear Food Orchestra is a bar band that is most comfortable playing live indoors in the dark but can rise to the occasion to play the occasional concert or outdoor festival if the load-in won’t cause anyone to pull a muscle and the parking situation won’t result in brushes with the law or shoe leather wear-and-tear.

For years the entire Ear Food recorded output was one cassette, a couple of tracks on compilation albums and one Miss Neesie single. Hey, it was a good cassette and it was a good single.

In April of 2002, during a Fiesta gig at Sam’s Burger Joint, house sound tech Hollis Dyer recorded the band. The band didn’t know it was being recorded so the result didn’t suck.

So Ear Food has released “Enshrined,” a very lightly edited collection of songs from one night in April at Sam’s. The two-CD set, a warts-and-all effort, sums up what Ear Food does when the band is unleashed and that’s play a bunch of songs that everyone in the band loves to play while having as much fun as is humanly possible.

A Gospel CD is in the works. Songs have been chosen. One track has been laid down. So we're in, uh, pre-production.

Photos

Bio

There are two sides to the EFO, Secular & Gospel.

The Secular Side:

Just as the music is mixed, so is the band. The EFO includes teachers, engineers, a writer, a painter, a parts manager, an architect, a sax player who has been playing rock ‘n’ roll since very near the beginning of the genre and, now and again, guests who happen to be friends.

For two decades, the Ear Food Orchestra, formerly the Lost Polka Band and Anarchists’ Convention, has made music from ragged rock ‘n’ roll to deep blues to dance-inducing zydeco in San Antonio and area venues ranging from the late, lamented Los Padrinos to the Majestic Theater, from the late, lamented Tortuga Flats at Port Aransas to the Cajun Festival and Great Gumbo Cook-Off at Medina Lake.

During those 20 years no one in the band has throttled anyone else in the band. Thoughts and threats don’t count because, after 20 years together, the Ear Food collective memory must be put to use remembering songs, not grudges.

Along the way some players have come and gone. Some, notably the Zydeco Trojan Howling Dog Horns, have come and stayed. Along the way Ear Food has gone from being a drunken party band to being a less drunken band that can still power the party (and every once in a while) play “Wild Thing” at the end of a night but can also (every once in a while) read a Duke Ellington chart while angry yellow jackets circle the rehearsal space.

The Gospel Side:
In February of 2002, inspired by the efforts of the Austin-based Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers to play rousing Gospel music while raising money for worthy causes, The Ear Food Gospel Orchestra found a comfortable home at Casbeers one Sunday afternoon a month.

With a soundtrack of classic and obscure Gospel tunes, and fueled by a Casbeers buffet that includes the fabled enchiladas along with breakfast tacos and biscuits, Casbeers patrons have, in the course of four years, contributed a very nice chunk of change to SAMMinistries.

The Ear Food Gospel Orchestra, along with the mobile unit of Casbeers, also has performed Gospel brunches at the storied Kerrville Folk Festival and at the Kerrville Wine & Music Festival. Those gatherings also raised money for SAMMinistries so we've been blessed at home and away.