Top o’ the morning to the powers that be, as well as the common folk. I, Lingo Starr, have been tasked with finding an “additional” journalist for Neworleansmusicians.com. And I use quotes because, as I am told, this is not my replacement. “Lingo, we’re not looking to replace you. We just think that David (the owner) is writing more articles than need be at the moment. And we think you could use a hand with expediting finished works.” This, as per second in command. So, without further ado, and in good faith, the facts are as follows. Neworleansmusicians.com is searching for a journalist interested in covering the music scene in Louisiana. Specifically, we need someone to both draw from material we give you, as well as from your own findings (research, interactions, and otherwise). If you would like to establish a catalog of published works and get involved with a website that supports Louisiana musicians, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m going to go through applicants myself. Please send example(s) of your work, and feel free to include any questions. We do perform within deadlines here, so expect that. We do not, however, (thank God) report to an office, so that’s a perk. You can check out examples of NOM’s subject matter here https://neworleansmusicians.com/blog/. I look forward to hearing from, and working with, all of you!
Start by creating a profile on Neworleansmusicians.com. Be sure to fill in all the blanks and upload a song. With your registration, you can message other bands and businesses in the industry. You can also list on the show calendar and music classifieds. And any tracks you have on the 12 streaming platforms we are a member of will be added to our public playlists on those platforms. Your music presence online has just doubled!
Because you uploaded at least one track, you are e-mailed a questionnaire. This contains questions about your band’s style, inspiration, and history. Once this is returned, you will be featured in our podcast. Instead of commercials half-way through every episode, we shout out our members. We draw our discussion from your questionnaire answers, and then play an example of your work for the audience to hear.
Once you are a member, you are able to upload videos. This would preferably be footage related to your band, and you do this from your profile. Your video is displayed on your profile, as well as our Videos page. And it will appear on our Youtube Channel as well. We will also began promoting your video on social media. You’re one of the family now. We’ve got you!
Contact us via e-mail, social, or by phone and inquire about being interviewed. After we verify that you have a complete account with us, we confirm your eligibility and place you in the interview pool. We choose all our interviews from this group, making sure to cover every genre. Our interviews result in several Youtube videos, an article on our blog, and a podcast episode on our show.
Becoming a member of NOM means many things….
In becoming a member of our growing network of Louisiana musicians, you gain many advantages. This site is not like facebook and other social media sites. It exists strictly for networking purposes. We are onboarding Louisiana bands currently, and will move on to filling Vendor directories soon. These will include venues, sound & light companies, recording studios, and the like from all over the world. Our goal is to empower Louisiana’s talent with tools while remaining exclusive to bands from our state. This is why we only accept bands from Louisiana. Members can message other bands or vendors directly within the site at any time. I created this site and personally keep in touch with its members. Promotional material that our members create is shared constantly on our social. You will begin to see your show announcements shared by us. Promotional material that we create for our interviewees is shared repeatedly on social for months. Any leads on gigs that we generate are sent to members first. We have assisted in filling spots at venues, in movies, and on podcasts. Members’ song plays are tracked through our site and those with the most plays earn placement as Artist of the Month. There are three chosen per month. Those bands are given a spot at the top of our home page with a graphic and link. I look forward to getting to know your band and fulfilling your needs. And remember, I will NEVER ask you for money. I have created a line of merchandise and an account at BuyMeaCoffee to help support my efforts. With enough eyes and ears, I also hope to generate money from Youtube and podcast ads. Any money generated from this site goes right back into it, back into supporting Louisiana’s independent artists.
“Spinning and turning and feeling alone. Understanding all the time. Forgetting things that are gone in the past. Facing the fate of time. Spinning and turning and feeling alone. Understanding all the time. Screaming and clawing and losing your soul. Digging a grave-less hole. Cause I, I stand alone, ashamed of this world. Now I’m feeding the wolf.”
Feeding the Wolf… Blackwater Canal
In the days of old you got together with a group of friends, worked out who was playing what instrument at the time, and started a band. The same holds true to this day. But now more than ever there is a thirst for new blood. The scene needs it, and the people want it. One of my favorite sayings has always been “stagnation is death”. And both lie right around the corner just waiting for things to go stale. You can pump as many bands as you want into a scene, but if they aren’t fresh; if they aren’t bringing anything new to the table, the rot starts to set in. What serves to complicate this concept is that there needs to be elements of the old within the new. Think single-malt scotch from a metal distillery called Louisiana. There’s always little bit of the last batch in the next. You down it, and exhale heritage. There’s a new band in the boot that aims to step up and man the still. And their name is Blackwater Canal. As Blake Lowery (vocals) pointed out in our interview, even to this day that old Fat City southern metal sound has never left the hearts and minds of the people that embraced it back then. But he feels as though it is dying. And combined with their fresh perspective, this band aims to breathe a little heritage back into the scene.
Cemented in the tenets of the south has always been the blues. It is literally in every facet of our music culture and commands respect from all those intelligent enough to recognize its presence. Louisiana metal pays homage to, and draws inspiration from, the blues. I’m not saying metal in other places does not. I’m saying it is the mud in the waters for which we are famous. Another essential ingredient of this southern dish is the groove. As Jay Gracianette (guitar) puts it, “Groove is the biggest thing I found in all of the New Orleans (metal) bands. From Exhorder, to Crowbar, to Eyehategod, to Soilent. Everything has groove. And you can be heavy. You can be a ballet performer. It’s got to be memorable. It’s got to have some sort of groove…”
While the overall metal genre embraces multiple styles, many bands choose to remain in one lane and exploit the possibilities within to the fullest. Perhaps a little harder, maybe a little faster, but always remaining within bounds. The lesser common option is to use this multiplicate for a more comprehensive approach. Acid Bath was a gladiator in this arena. Take The Blue for example, one minute you heard blood curdling screams over what could best be described as the Amen Break (drum solo in Amen Brother by The Winstons), the next minute you heard harmonizing vocals over a simple 4/4 signature with rides and fills; back and forth with this, all in one song! And they exploded, sending shrapnel in every direction.
The time has come to once again to embrace what’s on the other side of the dotted line. And as co-producer on this album Vinnie LaBella (Exhorder) put it, it’s a hard sell. But frankly the era of musicians “pushing the envelope” by using extreme violence or showing more ass on stage has me ready to vomit. Autotune, by now, has asphyxiated us all. And the majors long ago lost the audio-sizing chart to what we choose to wear. There’s a clear difference between demanding respect and commanding it. And all of the previously mentioned elements knocked themselves out the box in my opinion. Often times those who demand respect are undeserving. But by the way they have chosen to carry the torch, Blackwater Canal shall command repsect. Their torches are dipped in the fat of Sabbath, Crowbar, Pentagram and Eyehategod. You can smell the flesh of their predecessors burning through the speakers. Their style is evocative of the sweet southern blues, honed to a metal’s edge. And like my favorite black and white film noirs of the 50’s, their lyrics delve into the seedier side of life. Blake Lowery’s cavernous vocals deliver the message. And similar to Kirk Windstein’s (Crowbar) approach, harmonies lie within. Jay Gracianette (guitar) and Steven Sessum (bass) could change their names to Gritty and Domineering, respectively. And respectfully, they deliver the listener a remembrance of that southern metal sound we all grew to love, while forging ahead to inject their own brand of passion. All of this teetering on edge is balanced in good meter by the super solid foundation they have found in Brian Ordoyne (drums). Together, they form like Voltron to see what parts of space they can go f**k up.
But these intergalactic pilots are far from teenagers. And this is where the roux gets thick. As we all know, nothing can substitute the knowledge gained from experience. For all the bands named before the start of this article, you’re looking at decades of just that, experience. By far, these words fail to convey the amount of time spent in the Louisiana metal scene by the members of Blackwater Canal. The realization of the proverbial 10,000 hours manifests itself in their design. In short, they’ve put in the work and it shows. But even considering how dope this sonic editorial has been, you need to go listen to these guys for yourself. Their album, titled Force Fed Lies, will be coming out on July 15th. It was produced by OCD Recordings and co-produced by Vinnie LaBella of Exhorder. Blackwater Canal will be performing live for the Album Release Party on July 15th at The Hideaway Den in Mandeville, at the foot of the Causeway Bridge on the North Shore. Thorn Prick and Gristnam will be there to fill the bill as well.
Listen to Shadows of Light by Blackwater Canal here.