To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the utmost authenticity, the true Celtic reveler will need more than green beer and plastic flowers.
Baton Rouge-based band Smithfield Fair celebrates their 20th anniversary with 20 for 20, a collection of – you guessed it – 20 of the group’s best-known songs. The album also features the instrumental work of guest musicians, including John Taylor (fiddle), Mark Kenneth (accordion) and Damon Small (drums).
Smithfield Fair’s spirited Celtic tunes express the somber-yet-upbeat Scottish spirit. Listeners may even pick up a hint of Zydeco from band member Jan Smith’s accordion jams.
Fans will be able to see Smithfield Fair live in April at the Scottish Tartan Festival in Minden, La.
Non-fiction l A fun, “spirited” romp through the libationary past, And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World In Ten Cocktails by Wayne Curtis explores alcohol’s sizable impact on colonial history.
Curtis’ work is well-written and full of facts and details that will refresh the reader’s interest throughout; for example, Captain Morgan (first name: Henry) was a real 17th century Welshman.
From the inception of rum through it’s cocktail permutations, Curtis proves that rum was more than just a pirate’s beverage, it was a driving force in modern history.
Cookbook l Acadian Plantation Country Cookbook by Anne Butler is more than just a collection of recipes; it’s an account of the history, economy, agriculture and architecture of one of Louisiana’s most distinct regions.
Black and white photos of locals and historical figures mix with informative text to emphasize the strong connection between Acadians and their cuisine. Many of the book’s photos were taken by the author herself.
Butler’s collection showcases Acadiana’s distinct array of local spices and game meats as well as Southern sweets and beverages.
Photography l Andrew D. Lytle’s Baton Rouge: Photographs, 1863-1910, is a compilation from the time (more than half a century), Lytle lived and worked as a photographer in the capitol city. Lytle’s subjects include political figures, students, Civil War soldiers, members of the Lytle family and architectural mainstays such as the State Capitol building and the Baton Rouge Sugar Refinery.
Fiction l As a child, Denise M. Snellgrove Wilkinson lived where her novel begins, the Vieux Carré, where she loved to watch “Sesame Street and old vampire movies.”
Readers will see Wilkinson’s childhood influences (minus the puppets) in her new novel, Isabella St. Clair: Vamp of New Orleans, the Vieux Carre, which has Louisiana references thicker than a Central Grocery muffuletta.
Wilkerson’s work is entertaining, full of voodoo, murder, romance and even a slave-turned-vampire as the main character. And if that doesn’t hold your attention, you’re watching too much TV.