Take Me To The River NOLA LIVE!

George Porter Jr & RunninPardners and Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen Ft Big Chief Bo Dollis Jr w/ J & The Causeways

Ages 16 and up
Friday, March 10
Doors: 7pm | Show: 8pm
$25
George Porter Jr. is an award-winning bassist, songwriter and vocalist. He is a founding member of New Orleans’ seminal funk band, The Meters and widely recognized as one of the greatest bass players of all time. Formed alongside Art "Poppa Funk" Neville, Leo Nocentelli and Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste, the pioneering R&B funk outfit hit the scene on the streets of the Crescent City in the 1960s, to ultimately become one of the progenitors of the funk music genre. The groundbreaking collective carved out syncopated polyrhythms and grooves inherited from New Orleans’ deep African musical roots. Porter’s heavy pocket and fat notes formed the rubbery bass lines behind funk classics like their signature “Cissy Strut,” the now classic 1969 funk instrumental released as a single from their eponymous debut album, which reached No. 4 on the R&B chart and No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively. While the group rarely enjoyed massive mainstream success, they are widely heralded alongside James Brown, Sly Stone, and George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic as the founding fathers of funk. The Meters have been nominated four times for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (most recently in 2017), and were presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in 2018. At the outset of his young career, Porter developed his signature style on sessions in his hometown New Orleans, with early musical pioneers Johnny Adams, Irma Thomas, Snooks Eaglin, Eddie Bo and The Lastie Brothers. While Porter developed his pedigree, The Meters were gaining notoriety, soon becoming the house band for Allen Toussaint’s recording label, backing classic records from Dr. John, Lee Dorsey and Earl King, while later supplying the musical foundation for classic hit albums and singles from modern artists Robert Palmer, Paul McCartney, Tori Amos, Taj Mahal, not to mention Patti Labelle’s No. 1 R&B hit “Lady Marmalade.” George and The Meters toured with the Rolling Stones in '75, were embraced by Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, and became primary influences to modern artists such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie Boys. Porter’s rhythmic work with drummer Modeliste also became the building block behind primary samples used by the most relevant hip-hop artists of the 1980’s and 1990’s, including A Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, N.W.A. and Queen Latifah. Porter has accompanied the stage as a band member or special guest with the likes of David Byrne, Dead & Company, Jimmy Buffet, Warren Haynes, Widespread Panic, Tedeschi Trucks Band, John Scofield, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart and various members of Phish, to name a few. He continues to be the bandleader of current projects, George Porter Jr. and Runnin' Pardners and George Porter Jr. Trio; with both incarnations still playing often locally, and touring prolifically, garnering respect not only as quintessential New Orleans' bands, but also as major national attractions within the jam band and festival scene. On special occasions, Porter still anchors Foundation of Funk, a current Meters "reinvention" with original drummer Zigaboo Modeliste, boasting a rotating line-up which has featured members of Widespread Panic, Medeski Martin & Wood, Dumpstaphunk and 2018's now infamous Lockn Festival sit-in by Bob Weir, John Mayer and Grateful Dead drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, the latter of whom George played with in the popular side project, The 7 Walkers. Currently, Porter still maintains a healthy touring schedule with his trio and Runnin’ Pardners projects with a cast of seasoned and talented musicians including long-time collaborator Michael Lemmler (keyboards), Terrence Houston (drums) and Chris Adkins (guitar). George and his Runnin' Pardners recently released their highly acclaimed first new studio album in six years, Crying For Hope in March 2021. The album garnered national coverage with Billboard, Tidal, MOJO, Premier Guitar and Bass Player, along with Porter's hometown publication, Offbeat, which declared: "While the title cut harkens back to the social commentary lyricism of some of the best Meters songs and references the déjà-vu all-over-again experiences of Black America in these fraught times, the rest of the album remains emotionally upbeat and hopeful. For a band that is known for its stop-on-a-dime tightness when performing live, this album proves over and over that with the right musical ingredients the magic can actually be bottled." During the course of his career spanning more than four decades, Porter has made a deep impression as an elite player; acknowledged as one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s 50 Greatest Bassist of All Time. At 74 years young, George Porter Jr. plans to keep a smile on his face and often says, "I feel like I am working towards something that will be remembered." For more information, visit georgeporterjr.com
Jon Cleary’s love and affinity for New Orleans music goes back to the rural British village of Cranbrook, Kent, where he was raised in a musical family. Cleary’s maternal grandparents performed in London in the 1940s, under the respective stage names Sweet Dolly Daydream and Frank Neville, The Little Fellow With The Educated Feet – she as a singer, and he as a crooner and tap dancer. As a teen Cleary grew increasingly interested in funk-infused music and discovered that three such songs that he particularly admired – LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” Robert Palmer’s version of “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley,” and Frankie Miller’s rendition of “Brickyard Blues” – were attributed to Allen Toussaint as either the songwriter, the producer, or both. Cleary’s knowledge of Toussaint’s work expanded significantly when his uncle returned home to the U.K., after a two-year sojourn in New Orleans, with a copy of a Toussaint LP and two suitcases full of New Orleans R&B 45s. In 1981 Cleary flew to New Orleans for an initial pilgrimage and took a cab straight from the airport to the Maple Leaf Bar, a storied venue which then featured such great blues-rooted eclectic pianists as Roosevelt Sykes and James Booker. Cleary first worked at the Maple Leaf as a painter, but soon graduated to playing piano there – even though his first instrument was the guitar, which he still plays and has recently reintroduced into his live performances. As word of Cleary’s burgeoning talent began to spread around town, he was hired by such New Orleans R&B legends as Snooks Eaglin, Earl “Trick Bag” King, Johnny Adams, and Jessie “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” Hill, while also gaining the respect of the great Crescent City pianists Dr. John and the late Allen Toussaint. Years later, in 2012, Cleary recorded a critically acclaimed album of all-Toussaint songs entitled Occapella.
 Today, Cleary’s work pays obvious homage to the classic Crescent City keyboard repertoire created by such icons as Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Dr. John, and James Booker – while also using it as a launching pad for a style that incorporates such other diverse influences as ’70s soul and R&B, gospel music, funk, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Cuban rhythms, and much more. Deciding to stay in New Orleans, Cleary recorded his first album of nine, to date, in 1989. His ever-elevating profile led to global touring work in the bands of Taj Mahal, John Scofield, Dr. John, and Bonnie Raitt. Cleary has led his own group, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, for over two decades now, but he still collaborates frequently with these old friends. At the 2018 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, for instance, Cleary performed alongside Raitt in a heartfelt tribute to Fats Domino. DYNA-MITE (2018) Following up on his critically acclaimed, Grammy-winning album GoGo Juice, Jon Cleary made a triumphant return with the infectiously ebullient Dyna-Mite (FHQ Records). Sly, slinky, and deeply soulful, the aptly entitled new release finds this Big Easy funk savant – a virtuosic keyboardist, profoundly expressive vocalist, and quite distinctive songwriter – in peak form on a set of all-original material. Like GoGo Juice, Dyna-Mite was co-produced by Cleary and the prolific John Porter, whose eclectic, behind-the-board credits include albums by Ryan Adams, Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, R.L. Burnside, Taj Mahal, and the late Hammond B-3 master Jimmy Smith. Dyna-Mite was recorded in several studios around New Orleans, including Cleary’s in-home facility, with accompaniment by a host of the Crescent City’s A-list musicians. These ace co-conspirators include the Lettuce Horns, guitarists Leo Nocentelli (formerly of The Meters) and Shane Theriot, the rhythm sections of drummers Jamison Ross and A.J. Hall, bassists Calvin Turner and Cornell Williams, and the multi-instrumentalist and songwriting partner-in-crime Nigel Hall, among many others. 
“There’s such a great pool of talent in New Orleans,” Cleary comments. “And it’s a real pleasure to work with such a wide variety of the local characters. I’ve been so lucky to have played with so many great New Orleans rhythm sections over the years. And I love recording with Nigel; he’s an inspiring creative accomplice.” Dyna-Mite flows seamlessly, from straight-up New Orleans grooves à la Professor Longhair – such as the raucous, streetwise title track – to shades of classic ’70s soul reminiscent of Bobby Womack, as heard on the lush, plaintive “21st Century Gypsy Singing Lover Man,” which Cleary co-wrote with Taj Mahal. “That song is about a musician’s life on the road – we wandering minstrels represent the world’s second-oldest profession,” Clearly wryly notes. “Skin In The Game” explores a similarly reflective mode, utilizing a deep-pocket 1-6-2-5 chord progression. “Hit, Git, Quit, Split,” by contrast, is a joyous interlude of classic New Orleans wordplay and double-talk, as exemplified by such gems of skewed Crescent City logic as “Take your time, we ain’t got all night!”. “We were having so much fun with that song in the studio,” Cleary recalls, “that it went on for about 20 minutes, so we had to trim it a bit to fit here on the finished album.” “Big Greasy” incorporates a New Orleans sensibility with the related Afro-Caribbean sounds of Jamaica – “a hybrid,” Cleary explains, “of putting Crescent City funk and reggae through a blender.” Cleary originally wrote “Frenchmen Street Blues” to be played at a friend’s funeral, and it was recorded again for use in the popular HBO television drama Treme. In reprising it here on Dyna-Mite, Cleary utilized an approach to songwriting in which compositions may be worked and reworked for years. “I have bits and pieces of songs on cassettes, hard drives, and scraps of paper. I love to keep tinkering with them, sometimes for years, until eventually I feel that they are finished and ready to record.” Dyna-Mite closes out, appropriately, with “All Good Things.” Cleary is eager for his legions of fans to hear Dyna-Mite. “Dig this latest from my Big and Greasy, high-class symphony swamp orchestra,” he says with great exuberance. (Admirers of Cleary’s flair for verbiage are highly encouraged to read his lengthy and hilarious Facebook posts, which suggest a magical merger of Jack Kerouac and P.G. Wodehouse.) “A killer combination,” Cleary continues, “of horn howlers and snare snappers, bass bangers and guitar grinders. 21st-century gypsies, pickin’ up the gettin’ down from the old cats in the saloons, studios, and street parades of New Orleans. “This particular party,” Cleary concludes, “has been a movable feast, recorded in between the gigs and tours that pay the bills and keep us out of the wrong sort of mischief (some of the time, at least.) Thank you, fans and music lovers, for being patient while we took the time to get it right. This will keep the fire burning ’til we next bring our funky Dyna-Mite to your town. Turn it up LOUD, and press play to detonate!”
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