Review: Music from the HBO Original Series “Treme'”
It might be dirty and smell like piss sometimes, but, if you’ve ever been, you know there is something special about New Orleans. The French Quarter, Cafe’ Du Monde, Aunt Sally’s, Cafe Maspero, Mother’s Restaurant, Chartres House Cafe’, Jackson Square, Temptations, the Panda Bear and, of course, the music. The soundtrack to excellent HBO series, Treme’, a tale of how the people of the Crescent City dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, takes us away from the Quarter and drops into the middle of one of the oldest African-American neighborhoods in America and gives us the pleasure of hearing some of the city’s greatest musicians do their thing.
Many of the artists on the soundtrack were right in the thick of Katrina. The 6th Ward house where John Boutte wrote the stellar title track was washed away in the storm. The Free Agents Brass Band tells us exactly what it was like to live through that hell in “We Made It Through the Water,” and the great Steve Earle, who wasn’t in the storm, but had a recurring role in the series, says “this city won’t wash away…this city will never drown” on his moving new track, “This City.”
The music is not all doom and gloom because, as may have heard, the people of New Orleans like to party. The Rebirth Brass Band “Feels Like Funkin’ It Up,” Trombone Shorty and James Andrews do the “Ooo Poo Pah Doo,” Dr. John does his thing on “My Indian Red,” the great Kermit Ruffins and Barbecue Swingers smoke on “Skokiaan” and The New Orleans Jazz Vipers rip through “I Hope You’re Coming Back to New Orleans.”
If you haven’t had a chance to experience the music or flavor of New Orleans in person, the Treme’ soundtrack will do you just fine until you get there.
“Treme'” by John Boutte’
“This City” by Steve Earle
“Treme: Beyond Bourbon St.”