The new year begins with some absolutely legendary appearances. On Jan. 8, Willie Nelson will take the stage at the House of Blues. The ever-prolific Nelson put out two excellent albums last year. The first is a collection of Gershwin covers. The second is a tribute to Ray Price. Hopefully he’ll pepper the live show with a generous helping of these new arrangements from both records.

Just a few nights later, The Radiators will take up residency at Tipitina’s for their annual winter reunion shows. This year they will play shows on Jan. 12, 13 and 14. As usual, this event is a homecoming for Fishheads, and a reunion of old friends and great music. Of all the great fan families in New Orleans, the Rads have one of the largest and most inclusive.

There is something about a Rads show at Tips that just feels like home.

If you’re looking for something a more modern psychedelic sound that weekend, on Jan. 12 Chicago rockers NE-HI will be at Gasa Gasa. Their sophomore record is due in February, so expect to hear some new music.

On Jan. 11 local indie folk favorites Mighty Brother will play a homecoming show at Gasa Gasa.

Generally, January starts slow, and then picks up toward the end of the month as everyone shakes off the dust of the holidays and gets back on the road. This year there are a number of great shows all skewed toward the end of the month.

Things pick up when Mike Doughty arrives at Gasa Gasa on Jan. 24. Doughty has had a long and successful solo career after his excellent work at the front of Soul Coughing.

You have a choice of three great shows on Jan. 28. At the Joy, ska punks Reel Big Fish will play some old favorites along with some of their new efforts. The ample space for dancing at the Joy should make for a great time. At the same time across town, Marching Church will play Siberia. The avant-garde group is lead by Iceage frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt.

The group released the excellent record Telling It Like It Is earlier this year. There is a foundation of soul here that’s pulled apart by the ensemble’s experimentation. I can’t wait to see what they bring to the stage at Siberia. Finally, you can catch the instrumental combo Consider the Source at Gasa Gasa that night as well. The group is touring on their 2015 release World War Trio, which has perhaps become a bit more relevant in light of recent events.

You can end the month at Tipitina’s for the Carnival Kickoff Party with host John “Papa” Gros on Jan. 29. Gros will be joined by Cyril Nevill, George Porter Jr. and The Naughty Professor Horns. Roll yourself into February and Carnival with this great night of music.

Note: Dates are subject to change. Playlist of mentioned bands available at:  Link


Country and Americana
In addition to Willie at the start of the month, there are some great country and Americana shows in town this month. On Jan. 21, Lydia Loveless will play Gasa Gasa. Loveless is touring on her excellent alt country record Real. This will be one to see for sure. On the 26th, Dave Jordan and the Neighborhood Improvement Association will pay at the Ogden. This project grew out of a residency at the Banks Street Bar into a remarkably full Southern Louisiana sound. On the 27th, dark country troubadour Unknown Hinson will play Siberia. Hinson had to cancel his last show in town so make sure to catch him this time.


To contact Mike about music news, upcoming performances and recordings, email or contact him through Twitter @Minima.