Read and SpinBack and funky as ever, Big Sam’s Funky Nation has just released their newest study in Funkology, Peace, Love & Understanding. It’s tough to translate the bold, reverberating horns of Big Sam’s onto a disc, but this album  manages to capture the lively, fun and upbeat spirit that keeps Big Sam’s fans on board. While it still may be preferable to catch them live, this CD is a great substitution if you can’t keep Big Sam and the band in the backseat of your car.

Demo l Just to keep y’all on your toes, I’m throwing in something new this month. After all, we’re all about live music here in New Orleans, so we’re introducing some musicians, still in their formative stages, with potential.

Read and SpinWithout further ado: Fernando Braxton and the Earthmovers. You may have seen them around town at places like the Spotted Cat, Le Bon Temps and Checkpoint Charlie’s. Braxton, on the band’s Demo tracks, sounds a little like Brad Corrigan from Dispatch (the band that did “The General”). The guitar work is similarly jam-bandy, as is the bass and drum work, all of which feature twanging strings and sprinklings of funk.

Read and SpinPhotography l As if each photo were an illustration from a twisted children’s storybook, The Color of Loss: An Intimate Portrait of New Orleans After Katrina, captures the depredation of the hurricane through still-life photography.

Through use of high dynamic range imaging, a type of digital photo technology, photographer Dan Burkholder is able to highlight shadows and color to create images with the richness of oil on canvas.

Burkholder’s photographic essay presents images that are both haunting and beautiful; capturing, with vibrant and intense color, a surreal and warped beauty buried in desecrated homes and buildings.  

Read and SpinNon-fiction l As a Yankee, I’m fascinated by the mother-daughter dynamic in the southern U.S.; I’m intrigued when I come across books such as, Suck Your Stomach In & Put Some Color On! What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters That the Rest of Y’all Should Know Too, by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson. Tomlinson’s cute, lighthearted look at life provides such cornbread wisdom as, “Mama always said, ‘Boys are like streetcars. There will be another one by in the next 15 minutes.’”

Maybe Mama does know best …