by Chad Campbell, senior producer
So…we took another trip down to New Orleans. I’m sure some of you are thrilled by this news while the rest of you are let’s say doubtful. Bob and I were there for the second weekend of the 2011 Jazz and Heritage Festival and this is the first of ten interviews we gathered there, but don’t worry, they won’t be packaged into a series one after the other like last year. You’ll hear the conversations here and there, sprinkled throughout the summer. In last year’s series, we focused on New Orleans and big names locally. This year, we revisited a few of those same guests but we tried to get bigger names known nationally. And there is a variety of music represented. You’ll hear from different artists who play country gospel, bluegrass, zydeco, jazz, rock, blues and “island” music. And today’s interview combines just about all of those genres into one band.
The Voice of the Wetlands Allstars was founded by Louisiana blues rocker Tab Benoit. (You might remember our visit with him last year aboard his boat on a tour of the swamps southwest of Houma.) Benoit formed the non-profit organization Voice of the Wetlands in 2003 to draw attention to the disappearing swamps and marshes and he started the band a year later. We sat down with three members backstage - Tab Benoit, Cyril Neville and Anders Osborne, (another repeat visitor from last year) just after their Jazz Fest performance. Bob tried to keep the focus on the band’s new CD Box of Pictures, but the conversation kept coming back to floods, hurricanes and wetlands.