Life often throws us curveballs. You have a vision, a plan. Then suddenly for any infinite amount of reasons things happen, and suddenly you’re in a fresh, new environment. New Orleans has often been the muse for many seeking such freshness, and for its citizens it is the spontaneity and adventure of the city that often keeps them here to experience that flavor of life. Capturing the essence of this human experience and translating it into art, New Orleans’s own The Honorable South has grown together as a band to culminate their own unique blend of flavors inspired by their wide backgrounds and the city that brought them together. Their journey has now taken them to their second Jazz Fest experience, where The Honorable South couldn’t be more thrilled to be apart of the cultural event that celebrates life in every way.
As a culmination of a host of experienced musicians, producers, and songwriters The Honorable South came together bit by bit. Having their first show at the old club Ray’s Boom Boom Room, singer Charm Taylor says “we all just kind of pulled each other into this Honorable South world.” Working musicians overlapping in their own trades, who came together to produce something bigger than themselves.
The group started out with Charm and guitarist Matt Rosenbeck writing some songs together before picking up the other three members of the band; bassist Charles Lumar II, drummer Jamal Batiste, and guitarist Danny Kartel. They developed the name early on as well, using the title in respect to all the good memories the south has given to them. “A re-visioning and more true version of what the south has been for me and other people as well,” says Charm, “I wanted to honor those people who made it not such a dirty place, ya know the dirty south, they say that all the time. We wanted to be The Honorable South,” she explains.
The group grew together. Recording their first album, I Love My Tribe, in 2012. This included many of the original pieces written by Charm and Rosenbeck in the very beginning, creating a more rock and soul sound in comparison to their latest release. The band’s 2014 Jazz Fest release of their album Faithful, Brave, and Honest, was a completely collaborative effort by all members from beginning to end. “We just got to know one another,” says Charm of the progression from album to the next. “This is what it feels like to be The Honorable South from start to finish, “ she says, “We wanted to share the music that we created over the course of that year and we’re really proud of it.”
Faithful, Brave, and Honest blurs the lines between rock, hip-hop, pop, and soul in the bands own unique way. Birthing something inspired, authentic, and fun as the Big Easy often does. “We’re not bent on upholding traditional song structures. I think that’s a real reflection of life. Sometimes you’re goin one direction and you’re like ya know what, what about this?” Charm says laughing.
They call their sound, ‘Come Alive Music.’ Inspired by their varying backgrounds and the city itself. “New Orleans promotes and encourages the flavor. Encourages the gumbo, encourages it. Mix all of that up. It’s gonna taste good!” the singer and songwriter exclaims. The band recognizes the eye for talent in the city and the love the citizens have for music. It is this love for the music that challenges and grows talent, inspiring artists to explore different territories in creative ways.
“No one wants a bland gumbo, no one wants a tasteless ettoufee,” she describes of the people in New Orleans, “and I also think that they love to love.”
One of the alluring things about the band is this constant drive to be The Honorable South. To inspire the people around them to be the best they can be. “We wanna see people at their best doing their best, and we’re just kind of the soundtrack to an empowered life,” says Charm. “Be completely into the essence of it all,” she says, “and that’s like the spirit of New Orleans. I don’t think we do anything half way or almost,” she concludes of the city’s inspiration for the group.
After a hugely memorable premiere Jazz Fest performance in 2014, The Honorable South is more ready than ever to perform at the special event again. “Last year was huge for us to be debuting our album the day of Jazz Fest and just to have people receive that moment with us and share in that moment with us we’re just totally grateful,” Charm Taylor describes. “This year to be invited back is huge. We love the crowd,” she concludes, “ Jazz Fest just feels like the homecoming or prom for New Orleans…This is our big dance.”
The Honorable South has grown from the city that inspired them. Coming together to create a sound of out of love, respect, and the awe of life as we know it. Check them out at this year’s Jazz Fest where the group is ready to share some new music in a fresh set that could only be created by The Honorable South.
Honorable South play Friday, May 1 at 11:20 a.m. on the Gentilly Stage.