Music Inside Out With Gwen Thompkins

Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at Noon

Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins presents the standard-bearers of Louisiana culture — musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, music writers, and more — as they talk about the art of making music and the songs that influenced them.

Join us for an appreciation of the truly cross-cultural nature of our region’s music. The musical styles, instruments, and techniques of many peoples and lands come together in New Orleans, like nowhere else.

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Major support is provided by the Historic New Orleans Collection, with additional support from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.

Despite the throngs of tourists and ever-growing parade of festivals, New Orleans’ nightlife can be surprisingly intimate. The corner bar is often the anchor of a neighborhood’s social life, where friends, strangers, and familiar faces can share drinks, stories, dreams, and failures.

Musicians make great teachers and Music Inside Out is shining a light on some of our favorite faculty:

“Half-shot, hot spot, fleshpot, mascot, young Scott, slingshot.” Singer-songwriter AJ Croce, says that a rhyming dictionary can be a songwriter’s best friend. When Croce listens to a song on the radio, he can sometimes figure out which dictionary the songwriter used. Check out Croce’s video, “Right on Time,” which features his writing process.  

As a child, Jason Marsalis watched old television shows as much for the music as for anything the characters were doing onscreen. 

“I became a big fan of reruns of the tv show, The Monkees,” he tells Gwen. “My father thought it was just hilarious that I was into this. But when I look back on it, that was music from the 1960s.”

Bruce Boyd Raeburn is known to most people as the curator of the William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University, a position he held from 1989 until his retirement on January 1, 2018.

“Everything in life is governed by rhythm,” says Herlin Riley, “Everything. (And) when you play the drums, the rhythms are quicker.”

Within Buddhist traditions, “samsara” refers to the karmic cycle of rebirth that a being must travel through on their journey towards enlightenment. While in some traditions this can take many lifetimes to complete, others maintain that, for certain exceptional people, the transformative process can happen within a single lifetime.

She may have started 20 feet from stardom, but she’s gained a lot of ground in the meantime. Growing up in New Orleans’ 9th Ward, Erica Falls absorbed the sounds of everyone from Billy Eckstine and Ella Fitzgerald to the Sugar Hill Gang and the Ohio Players, to Roberta Flack and Steel Pulse.

Since her debut performance on Bourbon St. singing covers for the band, New Directions, Falls honed her craft as a studio session singer for Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and John Fogerty, on tour with Sting, and more recently as a featured artists with Galactic.

Walter "Wolfman" Washington
Walter "Wolfman" Washington

Outside of New Orleans, Walter “Wolfman” Washington may not be a household name. Nevertheless, he’s spent decades touring as a sideman with some of our city’s best-known acts, such as Irma Thomas and Lee Dorsey.

Bruce Boyd Raeburn is known to most people as the curator of the William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University, a position he held from 1989 until his retirement on January 1, 2018. Together with his inspired and devoted team of researchers, Lynn Abbot and Alaina Hébert, he helped make “the little engine that could” into a accessible treasury of New Orleans jazz history and a unique public resource where academics, musicians, and enthusiasts alike could connect with the men and women who shaped the sounds of the city.

The Rebirth Brass Band
Mark H. Anbinder / Flickr

This is not John Philip Sousa’s band music.

Don’t get us wrong, Sousa is in the pantheon of them-who-haul-brass-through-the-streets, but we suspect the maestro might be surprised by the music today. Which, if you think about it, is good.

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