July 21, 2015

FTV: Bayou Billabong

Some time ago I mentioned one of our ‘golden nugget’ moments at WOAS-FM occurred when Australian Hammond B-3 wizard Lachy Doley dropped us a line announcing the release of his newest CD Conviction.  Subsequent research lead to another happy accident when I discovered that Lachy has a keyboard playing brother named Clayton, a fact confirmed good naturedly by Lachy when I asked ‘which one of you is better’ and he replied, “ I’m better of course hahahahahahaha – I reckon we are both pretty different in style even though we both play the organ and keys.”  Not long after this exchange, I got my second ‘Doley family golden nugget surprise’ when Clayton himself sent me an email inquiring if we would like to air a copy his new CD Bayou Billabong.  It has arrived and it is going to be a lot of fun contrasting the Doley brothers music because Lachy hit the nail on the head about them having ‘pretty different styles . . . even though we both play the organ and keys’.

The first thing I noticed in the CD notes is the long list of international artists that Clayton has worked with.  Included on the list were Joe Bonamassa, Steve Cropper, Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn,  Jim Barnes, The Divinyls, Louisiana Red, Guitar Shorty, and Hubert Sumlin.  The last three were especially interesting to me because it puts a decidedly Americana – Roots spin on Clayton’s resume and all three are artists we spin on our Pete & Zenith’s Blues program.

The second interesting item in the liner notes was the eclectic line up of musicians who perform on Bayou Billabong.  The Didgeridoo player (Ganga Giri) was of course an interesting inclusion, as were members of Galactic,  Trombone Shorty’s New Orleans Ave and lap slide master Harry Manx.  We have aired both Trombone Shorty and Manx over the years and took note that Clayton has toured backing up Canadian Manx as well as Texan Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges.  The other special guest who wasn’t a huge surprise was Clayton’s organ playing brother, Lachy.

What Bayou Billabong represents is not an Americana-roots music cover album or even a tribute album for that matter.  It is a collection of Doley originals inspired by the music of New Orleans piano masters and the songs ‘feature not only Doley’s amazing keyboard skills but his quirky lyrics and song artistry’ according to the media info sheet provided.   I am looking forward to hearing Doley’s previous release Desperate Times as it made quite a splash in the world of Blues Radio.  It reached number two on the Australian Blues and Roots charts and number nine in the US Roots Music Report Blues Charts.  It will be interesting to see how deep in the blues Clayton was before taking a slight swing toward the New Orleans roots end of the spectrum.

The first thought I had previewing Bayou Billabong was ‘it swings’.  I am not sure what ‘New Orleans style music’ conjures up in your mind, but I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of styles presented here.  While there are only so many ways to play a polka, for instance, this isn’t even close to the ‘one song sounds just like another’ pit that some artists fall into.  Clayton infuses all the songs here with a New Orleans vibe, yet they contain everything from Professor Longhair piano to Stax R&B to smooth, almost Barry White like groove.  Amazingly, Doley has a pleasant vocal style that fits all of the songs presented here.

Although this article is primarily about Clayton’s new CD, I should also mention that I have been previewing Lachy’s SOS and Conviction CDs which will no doubt be reviewed in the not so distant future..  The Doley brother’s CDs will be shared with our listeners when the broadcast year resumes in the fall and I think the best way to settle the contrast issue between the two keyboard players is to let our listeners decide.  WOAS-FM will do our share to spread the word about some of the great music coming from the land down under.  We also appreciate Clayton and Lachy contributing their stories to our upcoming segment ‘Everybody Starts Somewhere – Part 2’ that chronicles the first paying gigs of some of the musicians we have been in contact with.  Stay tuned!

The video posted with this FTV is a great example of Clayton’s playing on Bayou Billabong – here is is description of the clip:

A sneak peak into our recording session at The Music Shed in New Orleans. It was our first day and we were tracking just the beds at the time of this video so here it’s drums, guitar, bass and piano but the finished product has vocals, horns and organ added.  The song is one of my original tunes played in a Professor Longhair style called ‘Lose It’ and the Musicians are New Orleans heavyweights Dig D Perkins on Guitar, Cornell Williams on Bass and Eddie Christmas on Drums.  We recorded some great stuff on the day and I am really excited about this album, I can’t wait for everyone to hear it when it is finished. Thanks to Kim Welsh for taking the Video.