Next week in New Orleans, the three-day NOLA Crawfish Fest will bring together some of the finest New Orleans musicians, paired with a couple choice out-of-towners. Among the latter category is Cris Jacobs, a talented singer-songwriter formerly of Baltimore’s The Bridge, who has a wonderful collaborative project Neville Jacobs with Crescent City icon Ivan Neville. Cris was kind enough to give B. Getz of Live For Live Music the 411 on what’s going down in New Orleans and what he’s been up to in recent months.
L4LM: Cris! Thanks so much for your time. Where are ya at right about now?
Cris Jacobs: In Atlanta right now, in the middle of a little tour. We played at the City Winery.
L4LM: Right on! With Ryan Montbleu? You’re on tour with him right now?
Cris: Yeah, we are doing this thing where I open solo and then play as the guitar with his band.
L4LM: Oh that’s pretty awesome. Is Marc Friedman playing bass?
Cris: Yeah. He is.
L4LM: Oh, that’s a killer band. I’ll have to check that out sometime.
Cris: We play this Thursday in NOLA with Anders Osborne at Tips.
L4LM: That’s a sweet gig! Thanks for giving me a few minutes of your time to talk about the Crawfish Fest and the collab with Ivan Neville. You’re doing the Crawfish Fest with the Neville Jacobs project, right? Can you tell me a little bit about how that came together, how you and Ivan linked up?
Cris: Ivan and I sort of became friends when I was with The Bridge. We used to cross paths with Dumpstaphunk all the time at festivals and what not. I actually bumped into him at couple Jazz Fest ago. I happened to walk into Harrah’s to play some poker on some idle time and happened to bump right into Ivan, and it was like, “Oh you like to play cards too?” So we sat down and played cards together for a few hours and chatted and realized we had a lot in common, so we sort of became friendly through that. . . . That sort of solidified it. By way of music, we were playing around together one day and decided we should sit down and write some stuff and put something together. You know just came up with the idea and we did! That’s how it all came about.
L4LM: That’s pretty cool man. I didn’t really understand cause y’all come from such divergent backgrounds when I saw the project—it kind of struck me by surprise. I think that’s the beauty of the scene, cause it’s not everyday cats like you two find each other.
Cris Jacobs: We’ve become good friends, and, you know, there’s definitely pretty natural chemistry there musically, so it’s been fun.
L4LM: Is it going to be just the two of at the Crawfish Fest, or are y’all going to have guys playing with you?
Cris: Oh no, we got Tony Hall, Brady Blade, and then potentially a couple of other nice special guests that haven’t been confirmed, But the band—the band is absolutely crushing. They are really good.
L4LM: Yeah that’s a killer rhythm section you got there with Brady and Tony. Absolutely.
Cris: They recorded the Neville Jacobs record with us, so that’s the core group right there.
L4LM: I see you also have some Chickie Wah Wah gigs while you’re down there. What are you doing over there?
Cris Jacobs: I‘m doing the NOLA Crawfish afterparty the night of the day I have the gig with Neville Jacobs. I’m going over there to do a thing with Papa Mali, Brady Blade on drums, so who knows what we’re going to get into. We’ve never played together, so it should be fun and interesting. I love his stuff, and I’ve enjoyed talking to him about it. Seems like it’s going to be a real nice vibe, so I am looking forward to that and maybe I shouldn’t mention the next thing. Shaggy will get mad at me….
L4LM: Well, it’s on your schedule, but it doesn’t say anything other than just the date and schedule, so it’ll give our readers something to wonder about and come see what’s going down the second night. Well how about the Carver Theatre on Sunday night?
Cris: Yeah, I don’t really know yet. It’s a wild line up. It’s like Cyril Neville, Brady Blade, Nikki Glaspie, Zack Starkey. . . . I was asked to participate in it, and that’s the beauty of some of these things. You have no idea what’s going to happen; just a bunch of musicians getting together and trying to make the best of it. That’s where the magic happens.
L4LM: Yeah, that’s the beauty of Jazz Fest. I really think that’s the cool thing about you guys as professional musicians going down there when really all you know is that you’re going to jam with core players, and it all turns out pretty epic. Thanks so much for your time, Cris. I’ll see you at the Crawfish Fest!
Cris: Yup. I am so excited for that one, man!
On May 1-3, during the days between Jazz Fest weekends, the second annual NOLA Crawfish Festival will return to an exciting new home of Central City BBQ. Presented by NOLA Crawfish King and Live for Live Music, the three day event will bring together some of New Orleans’ best musicians, food, and music for a true New Orleans experience from top to bottom. With beer and crawfish included in every ticket purchase, an Ultimate Crawfish Cook-Off judged by a celebrity panel, and unique supergroups featuring talent from George Porter Jr., John Medeski, Eric Krasno, Luther Dickinson, Jon Cleary, Ivan Neville, and so many more, NOLA Crawfish Festival is an experience unlike any other. The full daily schedules have been released and can be seen here. Single day, three day, and VIP tickets are still available and can be purchased here.