ST. AMANT SESSIONS
CHALET MUSIC CH–1501
LOUISIANA SUNRISE–BOUDIN–JE NE SAIS QUOI–SPIRIT PASSING BY–BOURBON STREET BLUE–WOMAN IN MY DREAMS–STORY IN YOUR MIND–SHREVEPORT STOMP–THINKIN’ OR DRINKIN’–I-10 BOOGIE–ZYDECO RIDE
New Orleans-based guitarist, composer, and singer Peter Novelli has played with so many greats that one couldn’t name them all, but Dr. John, Chubby Carrier, and Sonny Landreth are a few. Peter got together with a few of his buddies down in St. Amant, Louisiana, and “The St. Amant Sessions,” his third CD, is the result. He’s crafted eleven originals that incorporate a funky blues sound with the unique gumbo of swamp and zydeco, and makes it all come out sounding just as cool as can be!
Peter wrote the leadoff cut, “Louisiana Sunrise,” with a nod to Sonny Landreth. It’s a song about life on the road, and ol’ Sonny turns in some mighty fine slide work, and so does Kevin McKendree on keys. “Je Ne Sais Quoi” is a tale of a lover that’s hard to explain, with her, “hundred pairs of shoes and a million different moods,” while “Bourbon Street Blue” is an ode to the ever-evolving street musician scene in New Orleans, and to those that have spent their lives busking for tips and little else, other than satisfaction. The spooky, pounding percussion of “Spirit Passing By” is written about his grandfather, buried in the Lower Ninth Ward—“they buried my body, but they’ll never get my soul.” Peter’s fiery fretwork adds to the spiritual ambience of this one.
The set has several juiced-up instrumentals, too, all done up Louisiana style. There’s the jazzy “Boudin,” the rolling “Shreveport Stomp,” and the Elmore James-ish “I-10 Boogie,” that gives way to the set-closing jam between Chubby Carrier and drummer Brian Brignac, “Zydeco Ride.”
We had two favorites, too. A run-in with “Mr. Policeman” on the way to a gig is the humorous theme of “was I Thinkin’ Or Drinkin,” or vice versa? And, one of the more somber pieces on the set is the sad tale of a long-distance love affair that sours after one lover’s penchant for making things a lot worse than they actually are, by making up a “Story In Your Mind.”
Peter Novelli mixes the sounds of Louisiana with clever, insightful, and fun lyrics to create a good gumbo with the “St Amant Sessions.” Bring it on home, and let the good times roll! Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.