2013 Red River Revel Arts Festival Music Picks

The first thing that I noticed about the 38th Annual Red River Revel Arts Festival’s music schedule was the decidedly regional feel of the list of headliner acts. From legends like the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (7:30 p.m., Oct. 6) and five-time Grammy winners Blind Boys of Alabama (7:30 p.m., Oct. 7), to riskier programming choices like South Florida-based hip-hop/classical duo Black Violin (8 p.m., Oct. 5) and New Orleans media darling Eric Lindell (8:30 p.m., Oct. 5), a lot of the Deep South will be represented among the headlining acts this year. I’m probably most excited about seeing the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, whose spectacular new album, “That’s It!,” the first album of original compositions in the band’s 50-year history, was produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket.

Irene and the Sleepers, photographed by John Linden. Image taken from the band's Facebook page.
Irene and the Sleepers, photographed by John Linden. Image taken from the band’s Facebook page.

And, honestly, the list of local and regional acts slated to perform at the Revel is also a bumper crop. Irene and the Sleepers (2 p.m., Oct. 5), Professor Porkchop and the Dirty Dishes (1 p.m., Oct. 11), Superwater Sympathy (6:30 p.m., Oct. 5) and Lions May Cry (5 p.m., Oct. 5) – just to name a few – have all had fantastic years in 2013. Professor Porkchop put out a great record and SWS went on the Warped Tour. Irene and the Sleepers faced some challenges getting the entire band together in one spot, but when they did get together, they sounded like “Tim”-era Replacements, at least to me. 2013 has sincerely been a great year for local music, and you can see a lot of the reasons why on stage at the Revel, Oct. 5-12.

If you asked me to pick one “wild card” recommendation for a band that probably won’t get too much attention leading up to the festival, but could put on an incredible show, I’d recommend Babineaux Sisters (6:30 p.m., Oct. 12). From the Abbeville/Kaplan area, this group performs “pre-modern” style Cajun music with accordion and fiddle. Among their influences, they list “Steve Riley, Bob Dylan and Metallica.” I don’t hear those last two influences on the record, but we’ll see how it translates live!

P.S. If you’re visiting Shreveport-Bossier for the opening weekend of the Revel, check out these hotel deals being offered for that weekend by several local hotels.

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