Wayne Baker Brooks: Electrifying Contemporary Blues


Electrified and electrifying—that’s the Chicago blues of guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Wayne Baker Brooks, a leading force in the latest generation of contemporary blues luminaries.

Born and raised in Chicago, IL among the most prolific blues masters in the world, Wayne Baker Brooks’ roots run deep, as all good blues roots should. Yes, he’s the son of the renowned Lonnie Brooks, but he is an innovative and talented bluesman in his own right. Continue reading

Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue at Gator By the Bay


Think of music from New Orleans and probably Dixieland comes to mind.  Or jazz. Or maybe funk. Or even blues.  Perhaps even a little Cajun or zydeco.  But classic Honky Tonk? Well, in a city where anything goes and all good music is as venerated as shrimp etuoffee washed down with a sazerac, why not?


Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue are based in New Orleans, but their sound could just as easily come from Austin or Nashville, with a country cadence and dancehall dynamism that delivers on a promise of roadhouse rowdyism mingled with humorously sung real-life stories of broken down rigs and hard luck on the road. Continue reading

Terry & the Zydeco Bad Boys Headlining at Gator by the Bay


Terry Domingue brings his Zydeco Bad Boys to Gator By the Bay

You could call Terry Domingue a self-made accordionist. “I never had a formal lesson in my life,” he says while explaining his passion for the music he has made his own. “Growing up in southwest Louisiana, I’d go to those trail rides with my dad when I was a little kid, and there was always zydeco and Creole music playing, and I’d stand by the stage and watch those guys, and I KNEW that was what I wanted to do. I loved that zydeco music from the first time I heard it, and that has never changed.” Continue reading

Carrying a Torch for Linnzi Zaorski

In New   Orleans, indie-jazz torch singer and songwriter Linnzi Zaorski has been an acclaimed presence on the neo-trad jazz scene of Frenchmen   Street since its very beginnings over a decade ago. Known for her cheeky lyrics, unique and refreshing phrasing, and retro style, she breathes new life classic depression-era swing tunes as well as rocking her original material.  It’s been said that Linnzi can transform a venue into a late night speak easy with her coy, after-hours charm.

Linnzi has released 5 albums since 2002 and in 2006 her music and career were featured on NPR’ s “ All Things Considered” in a story by Andrei Codrescu.

Here’s what others have said about Ms Zaorski:

“ Linnzi is the Ninth Ward’ s torchiest torch singer, evoking the lost,
romantic days when men were men and women were dames in seamed stockings
and stiletto heels.” —Offbeat Magazine

“ Most of the current female jazz vocalists sing with an airy-prettiness, but Zaorski sings
like the brassy, sassy broads of yesteryear.” —-ZeeGig San Diego

Gator By the Bay is most excited to bring Linnzi Zaorski to the Bourbon Street Supper Club on Friday Night and to the Bourbon Street Stage on Saturday afternoon.

Gator Gets Lucky with Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums

In case you haven’t noticed (been sleeping under a rock, have you?) there has been a huge revival in swing music in recent years, and Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, featuring Miss Carmen Getit, have been at the forefront, performing jump blues, swing, jazz and rare gems inspired by the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s in their own inimitable style.

At their best before a live audience—especially a live dancing audience!—the band brings an intense energy and sheer personal magnetism to the stage, exercising wit in a continuous battle of the sexes played out by husband and wife Lucky and Getit.

Raised in the Detroit area, Steve Lucky started playing piano at age eight and was playing and singing professionally by the time he was thirteen. In the 80’s, while a student in Ann Arobr, Lucky founded his own blues/swing band, which enjoyed huge popularity on the Midwest college circuit, and after moving to NYC in 1987 to play keyboards for Grammy award-winning guitarist and vocalist Johnny Clyde Copeland he became very active in the Greenwich Village music scene, and performed with a diverse group of musicians such as Joan Osborne and Blues Traveller.

In 1993, Steve Lucky moved to San Francisco and started The Rhumba Bums, and the band really started taking off in ‘94 with the addition of Miss Carmen Getit on vocals and guitar.

Carmen’s powerful vocals call to mind the influences of her idols Ruth Brown, Etta James, and Dinah Washington.  She began plucking out melodies on the piano before she learned to read, and at age ten Carmen began singing and playing acoustic guitar with a group of girl guitarists at her local church. Over fifteen years later Steve Lucky bought her an electric guitar and turned her on to early blues and jazz. She has performed and recorded with Elvin Bishop, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and piano blues legend Pinetop Perkinsand is featured in productions like “Queens of Boogie Woogie”, “Women In Blues” and “Divas of the Blues”.

Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, featuring Miss Carmen Getit will play on the Bourbon Street Stage on Saturday afternoon, and Steve Lucky will join Sue Palmer and Deanna Bogart on Sunday in a Six-Hand Boogie Woogie Piano Extravaganza, while Carmen Getit will also appear with Sue Palmer’s Ladies Shoes Blues Review on Saturday afternoon on the Mardi Gras Stage.

For a taste of the exciting talent and energy that is Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums, featuring Miss Carmen Getit, check out this video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdxVSVEbxn8

Horace Trahan & the New Ossun Express

Horace-Trahan“Back by Popular Demand” is a phrase often heard, but in the case of Horace Trahan & the New Ossun Express, it is literally true.  Ever since the band played Gator By the Bay in 2011, the fans have been begging us to bring them back—and we listened!  Horace and the Band rarely tour outside of their native southwest Louisiana, so we are doubly excited to present them on both Saturday and Sunday on each of the main stages.

Horace Trahan is a world renowned Cajun and Zydeco artist, respected for his ability to “pull the hell” out of an accordion and belt out powerful vocals.  He is known as the creator of the much-covered, ironic zyde-cajun classic, “That Butt Thing”, and no stranger to controversy when, in the middle of a successful career in the early 2000s, he defied stereotypes and switched his focus from Cajun to zydeco music—something relatively unheard of in his Louisiana Cajun community.

Horace began playing the accordion at 15, having already achieved proficiency on the guitar and saxophone. At 16, he began singing Cajun music in French and English, and by 18 he was on the road touring with the great D.L. Menard.

These days, Horace Trahan and the New Ossun Express is known as a quintessential zydeco dancers’ band, playing not only tunes that are a joy to dance to, but are musically sophisticated as well.  Horace’s creativity and mastery of the accordion has earned him the respect and admiration of his fans and his fellow musicians.

In addition to Horace, The New Ossun Express members are: James Prejean, bass; Horace’s father-in-law, Rodney Bernard, rubboard; Doug Garb, saxophone, harmonica, flute; and Shane Bernard, Horace’s brother-in-law, drums.

Horace Trahan & the New Ossun Express will be playing at Gator By the Bay on both Saturday & Sunday, and, in a special appearance, Horace Trahan will join Andre Thierry, along with Chubby Carrier and Ryan Brunet for a four accordion masters’ extravaganza at the festival’s Saturday Night Dance, held in the Harbor Island Ballroom of the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. You KNOW you don’t want to miss that!

Dancing Shoes! The Ladies Shoes Blues Review–Only at Gator By the Bay

ladyshoesreview_logoOne of the great things about Gator By the Bay has always been how it seems to be the perfect venue for musicians who don’t usually (or ever) perform together, to do just that—combining talents and energy and coming up with exciting shows to delight the festival goers.

One of these “never done before” showcases that promises to be absolutely amazing is The Ladies Shoes Blues Review”, a powerhouse 10 piece all women, all-star band, performing together for one show only.  With Sue Palmer, the Queen of Boogie Woogie, at the helm, there’s no doubt that the end result will be a rollicking good time.

The band is an eclectic mix of local and national talent, hand picked by Sue, and includes a dynamic three person horn section and powerful lead vocals along with Sue’s signature piano boogie woogie blues. The collaboration includes:

Sue Palmer, piano:  Sue Palmer’s flashy piano stylings are legendary, not only with her Motel Swing Orchestra in here in San Diego, but among audiences she has played for all over the world. She has shared the stage and/or recorded with the likes of Marcia Ball, Steve Lucky, Hadda Brooks, Sonny Leland, Candye Kane, Big Sandy & the FlyRite Boys, Rosie Flores, Dave Alvin, Earl Thomas and a host of other luminaries, racking up a slew of awards along the way.

Deanna Bogart, saxophone:  Pianist, saxophonist, vocalist and songwriter, Deanna is best known as an award-winning multi-instrumentalist and multifaceted musician whose fans value the eclectic diversity of her genre defying sensibilities and talents. Among her many honors are three consecutive Blues Music Awards. Deanna has recently moved to northern California from the East Coast and we welcome her to Gator by the Bay!

Carmen Getit, guitar and vocals: Carmen, is best known for her partnership with husband pianist Steve Lucky and their band the Rhumba Bums. She has performed and recorded with Elvin Bishop, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and piano blues legend Pinetop Perkins, and has been profiled in the All Music Guide’s “500 Top Jazz Vocalists” released in 2005.

Missy Andersen, vocals:  A two-time San Diego Music Award nominee, Missy was voted Best New Artist-Female in 2009 by Real Blues Magazine and her self-titled CD also won Best Debut Album-Female that same year.

April West, trombone: Often seen performing with Sue Palmer in her Motel Swing Orchestra, or with San Diego’s Euphoria Brass Band and other gigs around town, April also lends her skills on bass guitar and vocals in such diverse genres as swing, salsa, big band, western, and rock.

Elizabeth Meeker, trumpet: Elizabeth has performed with the San Diego Symphony, Orchestra Nova, the Old Globe Theater, the “Lawrence” Welk Theater, and is a member of Westwind Brass Quintet. She holds music degrees from both Boston University and Yale University and is on the faculty of Southwestern Community College.

Deejha Marie, vocals: If you’ve seen Sue Palmer’s Motel Swing Orchestra, then you’ve been awed by the lead vocals of Deejha Marie. She was the recipient of San Diego’s African American Heritage Foundation Hall of Fame in 2009, and her album :”Carpet Ride,” was nominated for Best Jazz Album by the San Diego Music Awards the same year.

Laura Jane, vocals: Laura Jane’s big soulful blues voice has won her a strong San Diego following as lead singer/songwriter for San Diego Music Award-nominated band, THE TIGHTEN UPS! A background in comedy improve adds some saucy humor into the mix.

Jodie Hill, bass: A Berklee School of Music alum, Jodie Hill has a 20 year history of excelling on acoustic and electric bass in NYC and San Diego. She plays it all: Jazz, Rock, Country & Western, Pop, Top Forty, Lounge, Latin, and has been a seesion musician on numerous TV and radio jingle recordings.

Sharon Shufelt, drums: In addition to being Sue Palmer’s drummer for many years, Sharon is a multi instrumentalist, playing guitar, banjo, and upright bass. In addition to being a great drummer, she is a stellar backup vocalist.

Sue Palmer is anticipating the show with excitement.  “There will be SO much talent onstage, I think it will be just unreal!” she enthuses. “We’ve never all played together before, but we’re working on lots of fun material, and I can guarantee that the dancers—particularly the swing dancers—are going to absolutely love it!  I’m really happy to have this opportunity to play with all these fabulous women, including some with whom I’ve never had the chance to collaborate before.”

Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band—Grammy Winning Funky Zydeco

Chubby Publicity photo 2014_sd220px“Ain’t no party like a Chubby party, ‘cause a Chubby party don’t stop!”

For 25 years, Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band have been turning audiences into “zydeco junkies”, by plying them with the band’s own brand of high energy, funky swamp zydeco, and instigating dancing and listening euphoria.  When Chubby and the guys played Gator By the Bay in 2012, the response was so overwhelming that we knew we had to have them back!

Chubby’s sound is infectious— a concoction of blues, 70s funk, rock and roll, and good-ole zydeco flavor—and is flat out made for dancing. Like any good gumbo, it serves up the tastiest musical flavors of Louisiana in one big bowl of “gotta have more!” and it is this quality that earned band’s 2011 release, “Zydeco Junkie,” one of the highest musical accolades when it was named Best Zydeco or Cajun Album during the 53rd annual Grammy Awards celebration in 2011.

In addition to the coveted Grammy, accordionist Carrier was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame on October 16, 2011, the band was honored with OffBeat magazine’s Best of the Beat award when it named “Zydeco Junkie” as the Best Zydeco Album, and the 2011 Big Easy Music Awards awarded the group the title of Best Zydeco. In recognition of Carrier’s accomplishments as a musician and humanitarian, the band has been bestowed with keys to the city from such Louisiana municipalities as Lake Charles, Opelousas, and Lafayette.

The consummate showman, Chubby is a third generation prince of zydeco royalty. His father, Roy Carrier; his grandfather, Warren Carrier, and his cousins, Bebe and Calvin Carrier, are considered zydeco legends, and the band’s newly released 13th album, Back to My Roots, draws on the influences from these greats. Chubby began his musical career at the age of 12, playing drums with his father’s band, and took up the accordion at the age of 15. By age 17, Chubby had begun to play with Terrance Siemien and toured the world for 2 1/2 years, before forming his own band in 1989.

The tight sounds of The Bayou Swamp Band are a result of the talents and professionalism of its members. Guitarist Randy Ellis has been playing guitars since he was 5 years old and brings together elements of zydeco, blues, and  rock’n’roll, Jordy Guidry delivers on bass guitar, AJ Bellow sets the beat on drums, and Neal Williams on rubboard channels the AJ Bellow / Randy Ellis / Neal Williams / Jordy Guidry zydeco syncopation . Together, they give Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band the pizzazz-laden musicality that “zydeco junkies” everywhere have been clamoring for, for 25 years.


Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band will be playing at Gator By the Bay on Friday, Saturday, & Sunday!


Balfa Toujours—Exceptional Musicians Coming Together!

BalfaTouj_RevTo call Balfa Toujours a band of All Stars would not be an exaggeration in the least.  This exciting Cajun band from Louisiana, carrying on in the soulful, impassioned Balfa Brothers tradition, is led by Christine Balfa, daughter of the late, great Cajun fiddler Dewey Balfa. Originally founded after Dewey’s death in 1993, the extended family band reemerged last year after a five year hiatus, revitalized and repopulated by some of the finest Cajun musicians on the scene today—each a well-respected musician in his or her own right who also plays with some of the most recognized contemporary Cajun bands.  According to Christine, they’ve come together with the stated purpose of expressing music through good times and bad, and just celebrating life.

The band members include:

Christine Balfa, guitar and vocals.  Christine grew up playing triangle with her father Dewey and absorbed music and language from the thriving culture around Basile, Louisiana. Her singing communicates powerful feelings directly to the heart, and she collaborates on many of the group’s original songs. You might have seen her cameo appearances in the 1986 movie, “The Big Easy” but you’ve probably enjoyed her performances more recently with the (mostly) all-women Cajun Band, Bonsoir Catin, which she also founded and which drew rave reviews at Gator By the Bay in 2012. Christine is the founder and director of Louisiana Folk Roots, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Louisiana traditions.

Yvette Landry, bass guitar, vocals.  Yvette is one busy lady! Not only is the Breaux Bridge, La native an integral member of Balfa Toujours, she leads her own band, The Yvette Landry Band, and plays with both Bonsoir Catin and  Lafayette Rhythm Devils, whom we loved last year at Gator By the Bay. By day, Yvette is an educator, teaching American Sign Language and Song Writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and she has also taught bass, guitar, accordion and vocals at numerous music and dance camps.  And if that isn’t enough, she just published her first children’s book!

Courtney Granger, fiddle, vocals.  Master fiddler Courtney is a Balfa family cousin, evidenced in his powerful vocals and heavily Balfa-influenced fiddling. He originally joined Balfa Toujours as a teenager in 1999, but most people recognize him as the highly sought-after fiddler in the four-time Grammy nominated The Pine Leaf Boys, with whom he has played since 2008, including at Gator By the Bay in 2009.

Kevin Wimmer, fiddle. Kevin Wimmer, who has been playing fiddle since the tender age of three, performed frequently with Dewey Balfa and learned the essence of the tradition directly from him. One of the original members of  Balfa Toujours, Kevin is best known today as the fine fiddler and powerful vocalist of the Grammy nominated Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, which he joined in 2011, performing with them at Gator By the Bay in 2012. He has also been a member of the Red Stick Ramblers and played with some of the biggest names in both Cajun and zydeco music.

Ryan Brunet, accordion. Ryan, raised on the Louisiana bayou in a French speaking household, was introduced to the accordion at the age of 12, and his passion for Cajun music was born.  A multi-instrumentalist, he fronted his own band, Ryan Brunet & the Malfecteurs, wowing the Gator By the Bay crowds in 2012, and has played with The Dirt Pile Ramblers, Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys, Kermit Venerable, Lafayette Rhythm Devils as well as the Grammy Nominated Pine Leaf Boys and Lost Bayou Ramblers. In 1999 he was honored by the Cajun French Music Association with their prestigious New Dawn Award.

Danny DeVillier, drums.  In addition to playing the drums with Christine and Yvette in both Balfa Toujours and Bonsoir Catin, and with the Lafayette rock band FIGHTS!, Danny teaches music at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, South Louisiana Community College and the Acadiana School of the Arts. He has shared the worldwide stage with some of Louisiana’s most well-known musicians and his arrangements and compositions include works for marching band, orchestra, percussion ensemble, dance, theater, and other mixed media.


All together, Balfa Toujours packs some powerful talent, and we are beyond excited to bring them to the Gator By the Bay stage!  Look for the band’s latest cd, due out this year featuring both original music and traditional favorites.

Tab Benoit Comes to Gator By the Bay!

tab-benoit-2Now in it’s 13th year, Gator By the Bay continues to be the West Coast’s largest Cajun, Zydeco, and Blues music festival, delighting over 17,000 attendees on the 2nd weekend of May, every year.

This year, the good times of Gator By the Bay expand to 4 days, with the addition of a festival kick-off, Thursday Night Blues Extravaganza featuring Louisiana guitar legend Tab Benoit on May 8,  under the Festival Stage tent at 6:30 PM.

Benoit, who has chocked up three Grammy nominations, four Blues Music Award’s “Entertainer of the Year” titles, and has garnered five Contemporary Male Blues Music Awards, consistently plays to sold-out crowds. A founding member and driving force of Voice of the Wetlands, an organization of musicians, filmmakers and conservationists dedicated to preserving Louisiana’s endangered wetlands, Tab Benoit is the real deal— a masterful musician and a true son of the Louisiana bayou.

Seating is limited and this concert WILL sell out! Don’t wait—order tickets here: https://events.admitoneproducts.com/tkt_sales.php?test=true&event_id=776414&sales=