When the snazzy 54 Below club asked Loose Cattle repeatedly to play, they dragged their boots in typically disorganized fashion. What was this shabby downtown bunch going to do uptown in such plush surroundings? Well, the same ramshackle thing they always did, as it turned out. At least it was literally underground. And then, on the eve of their residency, Hurricane Sandy made the psychic distance between New Orleans and New York seem very small indeed.
After 5 days spent
in the cold and dark, it seemed unlikely the shows would go on. But all the same, they carried instruments and walked miles across bridges, rode bikes, huddled in cars to practice with a heater on and squeezed on top of each other into a Broadway dressing room to keep playing--and to keep their minds off how creepy it was in pitch black lower Manhattan and how precarious this whole civilization thing was after all.
And the shows did go on. The first one was the Friday post-storm. A surprising number of hearty souls braved the lack of transportation and power. The night started heavy with the weight of what friends, families and neighbors in the Rockaways and Jersey Shore were digging out from under. Just being around people felt good, and songs like Get Down River and Evangeline got added to the set and took on more meaning. They learned (ok, half learned) Electricity at sound check as a kind of ode to wishful thinking. And Lo and Behold, by the end of the set, word trickled in that power was coming back on slowly in their homes downtown...not saying they made it happen, but....
By the end, worry and uncertainty was giving way to relief and resilience and a commitment to celebrating community...there may even have been Skynyrd played at some point. The next night was a rowdy show for a full crowd that carried on well past the allotted time, ending with an utterly unrehearsed, countrified Pinball Wizard.
Followers of Michael Cerveris’ stage and screen work may be surprised by the lack of Broadway crooning and pretense on hand here. But then, Cerveris’ fans know the only thing to expect from him is that expectations will be confounded. What is here instead is a document of a band at a moment in time, friends just playing together and making music they were raised on regardless of where they were born and how they pay their rent these days.
recorded live, clams and all, at 54 Below, NYC, and mixed by legendary producer Mark Bingham at Piety Studios, New Orleans
released November 15, 2013
Michael Cerveris - vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin on Backwater
Kimberly Kaye - vocals
Gabriel Caplan - electric guitar
Jon Graboff – pedal steel
Alex Harvey – mandolin, acoustic guitar on Backwater
Justin Smith – fiddle
Lorenzo Wolff – acoustic and electric bass, sousaphone
Eddy Zweiback – drums, harmonica
produced by Loose Cattle
recorded live (no overdubs) at 54 Below, New York City
2 & 3 November 2012 and 4 &18 January 2013
by ----- --------- and ----- ----------
mixed by Mark Bingham at Piety Street Studios, New Orleans
mastered by Paul Martino at Piety Street Studios, New Orleans
thanks to KJ Hardy and the bar and wait staff at 54 Below for making us welcome
all the friends, family and fans who paid for tickets and expensive drinks
transportation by Larry ‘Braulio’ Torres and Dennis Torres
Loose Cattle has appeared at Lincoln Center in NYC, on Mountain Stage (twice!) live from West Virginia with Arlo Guthrie, at
Jazz Fest in New Orleans and on tour throughout Louisiana and New York City, confounding expectations and moving audiences all the way to the bar and back again.