A great thing about being a New Orleanian in New York City is the steady stream of familiar faces you get to see, whether just passing through or here for a while. The Crescent City and the Big Apple cross-pollinate quite a bit, especially within the music community. Both musicians and their fans seem to dig each other’s scenes and frequent them often. How could they not? With all the cultural contributions to history that both cities have made over the years, it seems only natural that a strong kinship would form.
Our local New Orleans musicians are embraced and hailed by the Big City’s music lovers and players, who come out in droves to enjoy Nola’s soulful syncopation, with many of NYC’s finest bringing their instruments along to sit-in and join the party. Likewise, many of New York’s giants of music come down to Nola for Jazzfest or any other occasion they can find to add their sounds to the city’s incredible musical cacophony. Not to mention, going back to the days of Louis Armstrong, many talented New Orleans players have moved up to make a name for themselves in the big city.
I was quite pleased to see that my good friend Colin Lake was coming up to NYC. Colin is a great singer, songwriter and guitarist who has become one of my favorite emerging talents coming out of NOLA these days. He’s a good songsmith with an incredibly powerful and soulful set of vocal chords, not to mention his guitar playing and lap steel slide prowess. This was Colin’s first time in NYC and no doubt he’ll be returning sometime soon after having won over some new fans. As part of the Export Nola showcase in NYC, Colin Played 3 gigs, 2 of them late nights at Zirzamin, a tiny bar in the West Village, in the same neighborhood that Bob Dylan and all the old New York folk music greats honed their craft. These were the gigs I made it to.
Colin & his band comprised of Marc Adams on keys, Eric Golson on drums & Bill Richards on bass, a talented bunch all from NOLA. They played a great mix of covers and originals, drawing some songs from his latest studio release “Ones I Love” as well as some new songs that he’s just recently composed. “I Said I’m Sorry” is a one of Colin’s new tunes played on his hollowbody Washburn electric with a swampy-blues feel. This was my first time hearing this one and I was quite impressed. Another new Colin Lake original, “Lonesome For The West” a deep soulful number, was also a great addition to his repertoire.
Eric Golson held a nice deep syncopated pocket, as Louisiana drummers always do, while Marc Adams threw down some great New Orleans style blues piano with its signature rag-time and junker style chops. Colin always breathes new life into classic songs at his shows performing some great renditions of the old O.V. Wright soul classic “Blind Crippled & Crazy”, Paul Pena’s “Gotta Move”, and a wonderful lap-steel played “I’ll Fly Away” with a New Orleans second line beat underneath it. They were a very tasteful choice of covers that got the New York crowd moving.
Colin continues to impress me with his skills as a performer. He’s got an amazing voice, powerful with lots of soul. He’s a great guitar player, especially his skills on the lap steel and a good songwriter who continues to grow. I’ve enjoyed watching Colin develop as an artist over the past few years and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this sincere, gifted and hardworking musician who’s quite proud to call New Orleans home.