"In 2005, my Mom passed away and Katrina hit three months later."
These songs were originally released as part of a 19-song collection.
Lela Cloud and I formed a duo under the name Watyr and decided to make a record consisting of eight of her songs, eight of mine, and three co-written songs in late 2004. We met with Steve Reynolds and David Farrell at Ultrasonic studios in New Orleans, loved the studio, and scheduled studio time.
Although I’d been in a studio before and recorded a few things, this was my first real experience with recording an album. Each session was new and exciting, but I was having trouble getting what I wanted out of the production of my songs. In my search for another engineer, I discovered Mike Mayeaux. He had a studio in the back of his house in Meraux, LA. Mike had great ideas and helped me colorize the bland tracks. He brought in guitarist Peter Holesapple, who came in, sat down with his guitar never hearing the songs before, and blew my mind.
We finished the album in January 2004, but my Mom had been in and out of the hospital and was ultimately sent to a nursing home located two hours away from where I lived. I spent most of my days with her, but Lela and I managed to release the album in March 2005, which is also when we parted ways. My Mom passed away the following May.
My Mom was gone. I was her caretaker for over ten years. Her absence left a hole but also a new and strange sense of freedom. I decided I needed some experience as a front person and auditioned as the lead singer position for the band Juniper Row. This is when I met percussionist Michael Ennis and Cellist Suki Kuehn at Steve Norton’s house (guitarist for Juniper Row).
The change of music, musicians, and scenery was refreshing. I felt a new sense of confidence as a musician and decided it was time to go solo. I released the eight songs from Watyr’s album on “Interrupted” and formed band with drummer Eddie Ecker, guitarist Marty Morgan, and bassist Brendan O’donnell. The level of musicianship was amazing and a little scary as I had never been surrounded by such great musicians willing to play my music.
We rehearsed like crazy and played a few well-attended shows. We were looking forward to our show scheduled at The Howlin’ Wolf on September 1st, 2005. Katrina hit the previous Sunday on August 31st.
After a month of being displaced from my home, my first thought was to check on the studios where I had recently recorded. I pushed open the door to Ultrasonic studio and found the ceiling had fallen to the floor - a beautiful studio, gone. Mike Mayeux's place had a boat on its roof. Steve Reynolds and David Farrell remained in New Orleans but would not reopen their studio. Mike Mayeux moved to Nashville. My new band mates had also scattered, but I managed to keep in touch with Suki and Mike.