Michael Monroe Goodman
From Buck to Johnny, to Waylon and Willie, to Merle and Lefty, the very best country music has shown the rich complexity of life. Steel backbones and breaking hearts. The true grit that helps people survive every difficult day. And those qualities haven’t been forgotten. They’re there in every word and note of Michael Monroe Goodman’s second album, The Flag, the Bible, and Bill Monroe (released November, 2015). It’s the sound of Kentucky calling.
Country music is like breathing to Goodman. It’s been part of his life since before he was even born. “My parents knew Bill Monroe for years,” Goodman recalls. “They were good friends and they all went to the same church. When I came along they asked him if they could call me Monroe, and Bill was thrilled. We used to go backstage at the Opry with him every weekend. It never seemed surreal until I began writing and playing.”
But Goodman carries that legacy of Bill Monroe in many ways. It blazes in the title cut of the album, and also in the aching “Rosine I Cry,” a lament for the small town in Kentucky where the Father of Bluegrass was born. Goodman wears his heart on his sleeve, and he’s happy to do so.“Most of these songs are straight out of my own life,” Goodman admits. “I believe some people will be able to directly relate to them. “Drunk Again” is about growing up with a father who was always battling alcoholism. When you’re a kid you don’t think about it, you don’t know any different and you take all those crazy events in stride. It’s only looking back that you have perspective. I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced that.”
When the band formed in 2004, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue were at the vanguard of New Orleans’ now-thriving country scene, and they’ve remained in a league of their own ever since. Combining evocative songwriting and impeccable musicianship, their dance hall show and infectious energy on stage have earned them their place in the upper echelon of local favorites and helped grow an avid fan-base of two-steppers around the world.
Sometimes called “The Punk Rock Patsy Cline”, “The Gal” is Vanessa Niemann, an Appalachian-born songstress who has lent her powerful voice and magnetic stage presence to various musical projects in New Orleans and around the country. Over the years, the Revue has counted among its ranks some of the finest musicians in the region. The current roster boasts guitarists Matt Slusher and Justin LeCuyer in addition to drummer Rose Cangelosi, and upright bassist Corey McGillivary, all excellent songwriters and singers in their own right, adding tight harmonies to the sound.
These multi-time Big Easy and Best of the Beat Award recipients have shared the stage with Willie Nelson, Marcia Ball, Blind Boys of Alabama, and countless others. 2018 was their eleventh year appearing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, packing the Gentilly Stage where Lyle Lovett would perform later that day. Their albums have reached as high as third on the FAR Charts (Freeform American Roots Music) and the top 100 on the AMA Charts (Americana Airplay, Americana Music Association.)
Gal Holiday continues to tour both within the U.S. and Internationally. After a successful European tour this past summer, the band returned home to make their newest release, Lost & Found. Recorded over four days in November 2017 at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, MS, the album has a lush soundscape thanks to the bands’ spirit guide and producer, Jimbo Mathus, and studio engineer, Bronson Tew. With an unmistakable Gulf Coast feel, Lost & Found touches on themes of loss, change, and discovery in twelve songs written by Vanessa, Rose, Justin and Jimbo.
Although 2018 will be a tour heavy year, you can still find them raising a ruckus in New Orleans and surrounding areas at dance halls, festivals, and local watering holes most any day of the week. They know the ins and outs of the country canon and can even get folks swinging to an unexpected pop cover or two, but above all, vivid songwriting is one of the group’s great strengths. Their rollicking foot-stompers and poignant Crescent City tributes alike crackle with an authentic country spirit.
Armed with this kind of versatility and an ever-growing body of original material, they put on a show that never gets old, delighting rowdy dancers, buttoned-down diners, and new-to-country music listeners alike. New Orleans may be most closely associated with Jazz and Funk, but Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue prove that the city celebrates its musical diversity with enthusiasm.
"Vanessa Niemann aka Gal Holiday paints a masterpiece on her new "Lost & Found." She's completely come into her own as a bandleader, songwriter and singer. Everyone needs to own this record and support Gal & her fine band out there on the road. Boot Scootin' Music!!!" -Jimbo - Taylor, MS
“Somehow this exciting band manages to sound like they’ve been around since the early days of the Grand Ol’ Opry while sounding new and fresh at the same time. Gal Holiday is the cure for modern country music’s doldrums if commercial radio would just pay attention.”
-Marvin O’Dell, Musikode Productions, The Country Campfire, Defenders of Freedom Radio, Albuquerque, NM and KKRN, - Redding, CA