Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue were at the vanguard of New Orleans’ now-thriving country scene when they formed over a decade ago, and they’ve remained in a league of their own ever since. Combining evocative songwriting, impeccable musicianship, and a twinge of punk sensibility to boot, their infectious Western swing energy has earned them their place in the upper echelon of local favorites and helped grow an avid fan-base of two-steppers around the world.
“The Gal” is Vanessa Niemann, an Appalachian-born songstress who has lent her powerful voice and magnetic stage presence to various musical projects in New Orleans and around the country. Upright bassist/musical director David Brouillette, who hails from small-town Louisiana, co-leads the band and provides the backbone for their hard-swinging rhythm. Over the years, they’ve counted among their ranks some of the finest musicians in the region. Their current roster boasts guitarists Gregory Good and Izzy Zaidman along with drummer Rose Cangelosi.
2016 will be their ninth year appearing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and they perform regularly at dozens of other fests and fairs. They’ve shared the stage with Willie Nelson, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Lyle Lovett, and countless other talents. New Orleans has honored them with multiple Big Easy and Best of the Beat Awards, and they reached as high as third on the FAR Charts (Freeform American Roots Music) and the top 100 on the AMA Charts (Americana Airplay, Americana Music Association.)
“When it comes to honky tonk,” OffBeat Magazine said of their third and most recent album, Last to Leave, “the real deal’s right here.” When not busy recording, they spend a good deal of time on the road. Last year alone took them to Southern California, Colorado, Texas, South Florida, the Northeast, Germany, Switzerland, England, and Scotland.
Their vigorous touring schedule doesn’t prevent the Honky Tonk Revue from remaining 100% native to their hometown, and you can find them raising a ruckus in local watering holes and dance halls any day of the week. Vivid songwriting is undoubtedly one of the group’s greatest strengths, and everything from their rollicking foot-stompers to poignant Crescent City tributes crackles with an authentic country spirit. They know the ins and outs of the country canon and can even get folks swinging to an unexpected pop cover or two. Armed with this kind of versatility and an ever-growing body of original material, they put on a show that never gets old and delights rowdy dancers and buttoned-down diners alike. New Orleans may be most closely associated with jazz and brass, but Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue prove that the city celebrates its musical diversity with enthusiasm.