When you think of New Orleans, the city’s foremost flambeaux-lit traditions of Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, voodoo, Po’ boys, beads, gumbo, and second line undoubtedly come to mind. You can also count Big Sam’s Funky Nation amongst those NOLA treasures. Known for a boisterous blend of funk, jazz, rock, and hip-hop, nothing short of seismic live “experiences,” and a whole lot of Southern charm, Big Sam’s Funky Nation might very well be The Big Easy’s best kept secret. Big Sam, the frontman, personally draws on over two decades in the game, spanning everything from 300 shows per year during his days in Dirty Dozen Brass Band and gigs backing up Widespread Panic and Dave Matthews Band to recording and touring with Mr. Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello. Additionally, he was sought out for a recurring role on the critically acclaimed HBO series Treme.
I had the pleasure of catching up quick with Big Sam in advance of the Funky Nation heading to Madison on June 28th to play the Ruby Lounge. We spoke about what kinda party will be happening when we all get together to celebrate. We dive into the new album, “Songs In The Key Of Funk Vol. 1”, and how not only is it a New Orleans sound, but it heads knee deep into a funk that is beyond one area of the world. Big Sam’s Funky Nation bring their sound to all sizes and shapes of people including the kids….as I recall a great album FUNKY KIDZ….where they get down to the Hokey Pokey. That’s what it’s all about.