Saturday, September 25, 2010

Paul Sanchez, Or How I Should Stop Worrying (Yeah, Right) And Enjoy Life

Paul Sanchez makes you feel good. And it's not like this guy has had an easy go of it. There was of course, a little storm that left him homeless, as well as some recent health issues which led to surgery not too many months ago, and still the man effortlessly spreads positive thoughts to all in his presence. He made me feel good, and as some of you know, that is no easy task.

Last night at Chickie Wah Wah, Mr. Sanchez spread that joy, as he does most Fridays at this warm, little club on the far end of Canal Street in New Orleans, with a 2 hour set of music that felt like a private party for 100 friends. The mood began on a perfect note, as he greeted me with a hug just seconds before taking the stage, where during the course of the night, dedicated not one, but two songs to yours truly.

Joined by Alex McMurray and Matt Perrine, on guitar and sousaphone respectively, and two thirds of New Orleans' Tin Men, this trio created a sound that can...and I offer no apologies for using this somewhat hackneyed phrase...only be found in New Orleans.

While it was Sanchez' show, with a healthy does of original songs from his solo records, as well as a few from his collaborations with John Boutte and Shamarr Allen, he generously handed the mic over to Alex McMurray, who is not only one of America's finest songwriters---his 2009 release "How To Be A Cannonball" made my year end best list---but, as Paul put it, "a stupid guitar player." McMurray seamlessly showed off his fretwork, often sounding like Tal Farlow, occasionally like Marc Ribot, and always melodic through the ever-changing styles of this band's repertoire.

Some of the more-inspired covers of the night included Paul Simon's "American Tune," Cat Stevens' "Father & Son," and of course, "If I Only Had A Brain," all of which had that New Orleans intangible that makes this town and these musicians so special.

As for Matt Perrine, words will not do justice to what this man can do on the sousaphone. I'm sure there are more skeptics than believers, but this isn't some oompah fest. Perrine has mastered this instrument, often moving his body with the music, creating the illusion that he is bending the notes as if playing guitar. And, nowhere else on Earth, will you get a medley of the "Mexican Hat Dance" into the "Washington Post March." Perrine is beyond belief.

My plan was to report on the Ponderosa Stomp, and I still will. But right now, this is what I'm still thinking about.

Look these guys up and buy the records. You won't be sorry.


CBH said...

You can find links to purchase their latest efforts and links to listen/buy the downloads at

Gene Oberto said...

Thanks to your tip and the great device they call Spotify, I was able to crank up the jukebox and be VERY pleasantly surprised by the great set by Paul called, "Exit to Mystery Street."

A very eclectic mix of fun music, which might not be defined by most as a New Orleans sound, that LP could only have been concocted in the openness of the Crescent City.

Thanks for the point in the right direction!

charlie c. said...