The Boom-Boom Room in the Fillmore District of San Francisco may be the closest place for a dose of New Orleans when you’re 2,300 miles from the Big Easy. It’s a room that pulls in music lovers itching for the cross-pollinated sounds found all over New Orleans, and was a needed spot for the handful of musicians that ended up in San Francisco when Hurricane Katrina wrecked New Orleans. It also served as the birthplace for the Honey Island Swamp Band, the New Orleans band formed by chance when members found themselves pining away some time in the Boom-Boom Room just after Hurricane Katrina.
“We all for various reasons had made our way out to San Francisco, oddly enough,” said vocalist and guitar player Aaron Wilkinson. “We literally ran into each other at a bar there. Everyone told their individual story, and we said ‘We don’t know how long we’re going to be here, but it looks like it’s going to be awhile; we should start a band.’ The owner of the bar gave us a gig every Sunday night, and that’s how the band started and we haven’t looked back. It sounds incredible but it really is true.”
The Honey Island Swamp Band will headline The Dolores River Festival in Dolores’ Joe Rowell Park on Saturday.
When there’s music in Dolores, Montezuma County represents. Maybe it’s the location, maybe it’s people’s inability to get to Durango, Denver, Albuquerque, or elsewhere for shows, but the support they show is full-force, a gathering of different tax brackets and political parties, all under the guise of enjoying a band; a collection of music fans in a town supporting all the live music offerings with an eager enthusiasm. There’s no better offering for the different fans than a rock band from a melting pot that is New Orleans, offering up a mix of all things Americana.
“New Orleans has always has been a lot of different cultures rubbing shoulders. It’s been that way since it started and its still that way today. The music is a direct reflection of that,” said Wilkerson. “The icons may be the first thing that leaps to mind, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s very broad. You could argue the most popular music coming out of New Orleans today on a global scale is hip hop. There’s all sorts of things going on, always has been, always will be.
“We try to reflect a lot of that stuff. We play blues, and we play some jazzier notes here and there. We certainly dip into the funk element of it when we can, and we like to rock out, too. When you put all that together you do end up with a band that sounds a little bit like Little Feat, or The Band, even the Allman Brothers to an extent, bands that borrow from all those different styles and I think that’s a starting point for us.”