The New Orleans Social Club © KLRU photo by Scott Newton

The New Orleans Social Club


Weeks after Hurricane Katrina, a group of New Orleans musicians gathered in Austin to record music in celebration of the ravaged city’s musical history and cultural heritage. Calling themselves the New Orleans Social Club, this group of Crescent City legends recorded a collection of poignant covers for a CD titled Sing Me Back Home, which is scheduled for release next month.

At the core of the New Orleans Social Club is Ivan Neville on organ, Henry Butler on piano, The Meters founding members Leo Nocentelli on guitar and George Porter Jr. on bass and Raymond Weber on drums. The CD also features guest performances by Cyril Neville, Irma Thomas, Marcia Ball, Willie Tee, John Boutte, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and others.

The universal themes brought to light by Hurricane Katrina are explored through some unexpected song choices including Curtis Mayfield’s “This Is My Country” and John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son.” Rolling Stone called the NOSC’s version of this classic “outraged funk.”

Another song, Annie Lennox’s “Why,” illustrates one of the central themes on Sing Me Back Home — inspiration and hope. “{‘Why’} seems appropriate,” Boutte said in a recent interview. “It’s like, ‘Why man?’ Who knows? Life is hard. Anybody with any true love in them is going to realize what’s important when they hear this track — and what’s important is the people you love.”