After all of these years, nothing in New Orleans should surprise me. Seeing Brad Pitt and former President Bill Clinton in the Lower Ninth Ward. Running into James Carville and Mary Matalin while waiting in line at the Acme Oyster House. Any time you spy Mardi Gras Indians, at night, on a darkened side street. Having an old pair of jeans, sneakers, and $70 stolen from my hotel room — OK, we’ll try to forget that, although it still strikes me kind of weird.
But today, here in frigid New Hampshire — we did eventually climb to eleven degrees, for ten minutes, not including the wind chill — I was still reminded of the wonders and magic of my adopted City. I got to work, cranked up my e-mail, and my blessed Spotify started up. It notified me of a new Aaron Neville cd. And even though he has once again left his brothers for solo efforts I had to listen. I mean, I still side with Charles, Cyril, and Art, they are HIS BROTHERS! But who can resist that voice, even if it’s coming out of a body better suited for a Saints’ linebacker? And it was great music to work by. Solid renderings of pop and r&b classics; warm and not over produced. It really hits a crescendo with his covers of “Tears on My Pillow” and “Under the Boardwalk,” but the rest was quite enjoyable, as well.
OK, back on track. I’ll blame it on the cold. SO! I went online at lunch to check some headlines and Facebook and I see a story about this year’s Jazz Fest and Congo Fest posters — and lo and behold, the angelic visage of one Aaron Neville graces the Jazz Fest poster. It is the work of veteran Jazz Fest artist James Michalopoulous. There are iron gates, snow white doves, with Neville’s powerful form front and center.
And that is not to detract from the Congo Fest poster of Buckwheat Zydeco. By artist R. Gregory Christie, it is as folksy as the Neville poster is ethereal. Like all New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival collectibles, both are available online from Art4Now.