Published on July 17th, 2013 | by Tom Speed0
Dave Jordan & The Neighborhood Improvement Association play Proud Larrys’ Thursday, July 18
“There Goes The Neighborhood”
By Tom Speed
Like most New Orleanians, Dave Jordan’s recent history can be cleanly divided into pre-Katrina and post-Katrina realities. Pre-Katrina, his funk band Juice had just released an expansive double disc live album following years of relentless touring, two studio albums and a hard-won but growing fan base. Post-Katrina, when the flooding scattered residents far and wide, including the members of Juice, Jordan found himself playing solo acoustic gigs at his neighborhood bar to make ends meet.
In time, friends joined him, friends from other bands like Johnny Sketch & The Dirty Notes, Walter Wolfman’s Roadmasters and others. The music they played ended up straying from the funk days of Juice and landing in a decidedly more Americana neighborhood. Acoustic guitars, fiddles and accordions were employed. Those gigs lasted two years. The group soon adopted a name—The Neighborhood Improvement Association— and began playing elsewhere too.
They’re touring in support of Jordan’s latest record, Bring Back Red Raspberry (a reference to a now defunct flavor of Hubig’s Pies). In 2010, Jordan released his first solo album, These Old Boots, and it was critically acclaimed by a local press who marveled at its country-rock inclinations, Jordan’s gruff vocals and the heart-wrenchingly honest songwriting.
This year’s Raspberry expands Jordan’s sonic palette even more. Where Boots was more rustic and leaned toward melancholia at times, Raspberry is a record that utilizes a wider array of flavors. Zydeco shuffles meet alt-country rockers in a winding progression that feels like walking the fairgrounds during Jazz Fest. You find yourself dancing and swaying in different ways as you go from track to track, much like walking from stage to stage. The diversity is an intentional reflection of Jordan’s musical affinities.
“I think with this record all the music of my life is coming to a natural juncture,” Jordan says. “I’m into funk, I’m into Dr. John, Tom Petty and the Dead. I think this record shows that. One of the things I’m most proud of with this record and the band really is that we are touching on a lot of bases but it doesn’t come off like we’re forcing any of it.”
Jordan and the NIA will travel to Oxford for the first time to play at Proud Larrys’ Thursday night following a taping of Music In The Hall.