Meandering to Where the music flows
“Wolfman,” the new music video from the Dirty Bourbon River Show, stars one of the band’s two lead singers.
Often shirtless, sometimes chained to a train engine, other times playing his accordion, Noah Adams lurches and leers into the camera.
“I am the wolf man! I am the wolf!” Adams barks. “You cannot stop me! You cannot stop me!”
“Wolfman” and its silent film comedy-inspired video do a fun, if sometimes startling, job of illustrating the Dirty Bourbon River Show’s self-described “New Orleans gypsy brass circus rock.”
Entertaining as the Dirty Bourbon River Show is, the remarkably productive quintet isn’t fooling when it comes to music. Since forming in early 2009, the group has recorded six studio albums and performed hundreds of shows.
It was Adams’ idea to make two albums a year during the band’s first four years. Following the plan, the group released “Volume Three,” its deceptively titled fifth album, earlier this year. Album No. 6, “The Most Peculiar Thing,” debuts Friday at an album-release show at the Blue Nile. The $8 admission also gets clubgoers a copy of the new album.
“It’s really important,” Adams said of the band’s prolific recording schedule. “In the digital age, artists are becoming more and more self-conscious. They’re really monitoring and editing their releases and being inhibited about it.
“But I think music should be like newspapers. There should be as much to choose from as possible, from any act. That gives anybody who makes music a better shot at staying real.”
The Dirty Bourbon River Show — featuring the singing and piano-, guitar- and accordion-playing Adams; singer-trombonist Charles “Big Charlie” Skinner; multireed man Matt Thomas; bass and sousaphone player Jimmy Williams; and drummer Dane “Bootsy” Schindler — moved out of its band house in March.
Placing its collective belongings in storage, the group toured throughout 2012, spending as long as four months straight on the road. So the band’s members, who range in ages 22 to 28, didn’t need a home for much of the year.
“Yeah, we’ve been busy-busy trying to meet the world,” Adams said.
Reactions to the Dirty Bourbon River Show tend to be extreme, singer and songwriter Adams added.
“It’s never in the middle with us. They love the hell out of it, and the music moves every inch of their bones, or they kind of stare and say, ‘What are you guys doing?’ ”
Originally from way up yonder in Portland, Ore., the previously itinerant Adams settled in New Orleans in August 2008.
“I’d been visiting the city a lot,” he recalled. “I also wanted to learn more about music. I wanted to be a part of something. And after I’d traveled a lot, I was a little lonely out there. I wanted a place to call my own.”
After Hurricane Katrina and the flood, Adams saw a parallel between the city’s reconstruction and the rebuilding of his own life. So he stayed, drawn in part by the tradition-based music of New Orleans.
“When you’re young, you’re subject to the trendiness of the times,” he said. “But I like to look a hundred years before and a hundred years after. And the music of today is trash.”
Adams considers the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to be the best jazz band in the world. He also loves the classic rhythm-and-blues piano players of New Orleans.
“True Blue Blues,” a track on the Dirty Bourbon River Show’s “Volume Three” album, is his ode to Professor Longhair.
“Any time you’re a piano player in New Orleans, you’re going to be influenced by Longhair, James Booker, Huey P. Smith, Fats Domino and, moving up to now, Dr. John and even further. Ears can’t deny it.”
John Wirt is music writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.