New Orleans Suspects - Ouroboros

The following is an unpublished capsule review of Ouroboros by noted music writer Brett Milano:

On their third album in barely two years, the Suspects play a new kind of classic New Orleans music: Their own. When these musical heavyweights first got together, they did what came naturally; they jammed on local classics and dug up some buried treasures. But Oroboros marks their debut as an all-original band, and it’s an occasion to celebrate. The mighty grooves that you’d expect from these players are here in abundance, but now the writing’s just as impressive: The instrumentals have unshakeable riffs, the rock tunes tell some well-observed stories, and the spirit’s damn near irresistible. This is an album that takes you from the deep swamps to the funky backstreets, introduces you to some memorable neighborhood characters, and gets you back to the city in time for Mardi Gras. And from the first downbeat, it’s clear you’re with folks who rule the territory. -- Brett Milano, OffBeat Magazine

Band Biography

New Orleans Suspects began playing together in 2009 as a pick-up band at the Maple Leaf in New Orleans. Comprised of some of the most seasoned, highly respected players in NOLA, the group called themselves The Unusual Suspects. Their chemistry was undeniable and by the summer of 2011 they decided to tour full-time, renaming the band New Orleans Suspects. They quickly began attracting large crowds from San Francisco to New York. In three short years they released two CDs and established themselves as one of New Orleans’ best supergroups.

“Mean” Willie Green was the drummer for the Neville Brothers for over thirty years. His unparalleled style has helped shape New Orleans funk, and his drumming has graced recorded tracks by dozens of artists, including The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Edie Brickell.

Reggie Scanlan’s career has been defined by his thirty-three years playing bass in The Radiators - the longest running rock act in the history of New Orleans - but his résumé is far deeper; Scanlan spent much of the 1970’s in the bands of legends James Booker, Professor Longhair, and Earl King.

Jake Eckert was the longtime lead guitarist in the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Traveling the world, he has performed everywhere from Palace Square in Russia to the 2009 Grammy Awards ceremony. He has other talents as well, receiving a Grammy Award in 2011 for recording engineer and producing albums for John MooneyCedric Burnside, and New Orleans Suspects, among others. 

CR Gruver is a classically trained pianist who immersed himself in New Orleans piano styles after touring with national bands such as Outformation and singer/songwriter Angie Aparo. Adept at James Booker-style piano and the swelling B-3 stylings of Art Neville, Gruver has also become a well-regarded sideman for Leo Nocentelli of The Meters

Jeff Watkins is an accomplished sax player, engineer and producer. He spent twelve years leading the James Brown Band, including Brown’s induction into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. He also worked for six years with Joss Stone as her producer, engineer, and bandleader.

The two albums New Orleans Suspects have released since 2011 include their eponymous debut studio album and a live recording, Caught Live at the Maple Leaf, which made it into the iTunes® highly competitive “New and Noteworthy” page.

Their upcoming release, Ouroboros, is an all-original studio album that characterizes the band’s sound and places them in a class of their own. Putting a contemporary twist on the funk, rock, and R&B traditions of New Orleans music, this album is like taking a wild ride through they city’s musical history in a brand new vehicle. Ouroboros will be released on Louisiana Red Hot Records and distributed by E-1 in October of 2014 and will give the band their first shot at a national marketing campaign - including a radio push for their first single “Soothe Me,” written by Mr. Eckert. As always, the band will continue to keep the hot in support of the new release.


NEW ORLEANS, LA—August 21, 2014— Louisiana Red Hot Records is proud to announce the release of Ouroboros, the new studio effort from the NOLA supergroup, NEW ORLEANS SUSPECTS, on October 14, 2014.

New Orleans Suspects formed in summer of 2011 and is comprised of some of the best, most highly respected players in New Orleans including:  Reggie Scanlan on bass (The Radiators, Professor Longhair Band); “Mean” Willie Green on drums (Neville Bros.); Jeff Watkins on saxophone (James Brown Band, Joss Stone Band); Jake Eckert on guitar/vocals (Dirty Dozen Brass Band); and CR Gruver on keyboards and vocals (Polytoxic, Outformation).

Known for their blazing performances, the band’s live set combines original songs with hits and obscurities from the Allen Toussaint and Dr. John songbooks as well as favorites from Radiators, Neville Brothers and the Dirty Dozen repertoire. San Diego Union Tribune called them “a rollicking blend of funk, jazz, blues, rock and vintage N’awlins R&B, designed to fill dance floors with gyrating celebrants.”

Ouroboros is the band’s third release and the follow up to their 2012 live CD, Caught Live At The Maple Leaf. Featuring 10 original songs, Ouroboros defines the band’s sound, which is one that puts their own twist on the traditions of New Orleans music--fever-inducing funk, irresistible R&B rhythms, Longhair rhumbas, dancing-in-the-street second lines, jazzy soul-drenched horns, mind-melting swamp hoodoo, and feet-don’t-fail-me-now Carnivale music-- that takes the listener on a wild ride through the city’s musical history in a brand new vehicle. The title of the recording was carefully chosen by the band. The Ouroboros is a powerful symbol--an ancient circular icon of a serpent eating its own tail--that symbolizes cyclicality and things that begin anew as soon as they end. This idea perfectly describes New Orleans Suspects, a band that represents a second chance, or rebirth, for its veteran members.

Ouroboros was primarily recorded and mixed by Jeff Watkins and Grammy Award® winner Jake Eckert at Rhythm Shack Studio in New Orleans. It was mastered by Stephen Marsh at Marsh Mastering in Hollywood. Special guest players include: Col. Bruce Hampton, Ian Smith, Michael Skinkus, Tanya Shylock, River Eckert and Jasa Gruver.

Headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana Red Hot Records has released over 200 albums of the hottest Blues, Jazz, R&B, Gospel, Funk, Zydeco, Cajun and Rock, and is a leader among Southern independent labels in marketing and worldwide distribution via Entertainment One, the world’s #1 independent distributor for music and video. Owner Harris Rea has helped launch such artists as Trombone Shorty, Rebirth Brass Band, Hunter Hayes, Master P, Honey Island Swamp Band, Cowboy Mouth, Better Than Ezra, Cyril Neville and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk. His family also owns and operates the famed Peaches Records in the French Quarter. Founded in 1975 by Mr. Rea, it is one of the largest and oldest remaining indie music retailers in the U.S.

Mr. Rea comments, “Funkier than the Radiators, more rockin’ than the Neville Brothers, jazzier than James Brown - no band expresses the irresistible rhythms of the New Orleans songbook better than the Suspects.”  

The Ouroboros fall tour is as follows with all dates subject to change:

9/18/14--Bourbon Street Bar, Auburn, AL
9/19/14--Zydeco, Birmingham, AL
9/20/14--Pour House, Charleston, SC
9/21/14--Rooster's Wife, Aberdeen, NC
9/24/14--Rex Theater, Pittsburgh, PA
9/25/14--Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY
9/26/14--Newport Blues Cafe, Newport, RI
9/27/14—Meeting of the Minds, Messhoppen, PA
10/9/14--Funky Blues Shack, Sandestin, FL
10/10/14--Ace's Bradenton, FL
10/11/14--Funky Biscuit, Boca Raton, FL
10/17/14--Maple Leaf, New Orleans
10/19/14--Magnolia Fest, Live Oak, FL
10/24/14--Luna Bar and Grill, Lake Charles, LA
10/25/14--Holy Mountain, Austin, TX
10/26/14--Verizon Wireless Theatre, Grand Prairie, TX
10/29/14--Lafayette's Music Room, Memphis, TN
10/30/14--Broadway Oyster Bar, St. Louis, MO
11/1/14--Fitzgerald's, Berwyn, IL
11/7-8/14--Cervantes, Denver, CO
11/13/14--The Met, Providence
11/14/14--Bellevue Roots Concert Series, Newburyport, MA
11/15/14--Ardmore, Philadelphia, PA
11/21/14--Last Waltz, Boulder Theatre, Boulder, CO
11/26/14--Last Waltz, Fillmore, Denver, CO
11/28/14--Tipitina's, New Orleans, LA
11/29/14--Tipitina's, New Orleans, LA
12/4/14--Moe's Alley, Santa Cruz, CA
12/5/14--Leo's, Oakland, CA
12/6/14--Leo's, Oakland, CA
12/7/14--Hopmonk, Sebastopol, CA
12/26/14--Maple Leaf, New Orleans
12/27/14--Maple Leaf, New Orleans
1/9/15--Hamilton's, Washington, D.C.
1/10/15--Hamilton's, Washington, D.C.

For more information:

Michelle Roche Media Relations

Please be aware that this site is temporary and only serves the purpose
 of previewing the New Orleans Suspects' new album.

Album Preview

To listen to any of the songs below, click the play button:

1. Get Back What You Given

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6. Things (In Your Mind)

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2. Cigarette Smile

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7. Hoodoo and Cunyans

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3. Magdalena

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8. Carnivale

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4. Pocketful of Grits

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9. Walk of Shame

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5. Soothe Me

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10. Yo Flambeaux!

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What the critics say about NEW ORLEANS SUSPECTS:

“The Suspects – bassist Reggie Scanlan, drummer Willie Green, guitarist Jake Eckert, keyboardist C.R. Gruver and saxophonist Jeff Watkins – are much more than the sum of their impressive parts. When they’re hitting on all cylinders, they come across like a Big Easy version of the Allman Brothers, with sax and slide guitar solos soaring over a deep-seated New Orleans groove.” 
    New Orleans Times-Picayune

“On Friday, outstanding early sets came from New Orleans Suspects, a five-piece consisting of former members of some of the city's top rock/funk/R&B bands...proved adept at mixing swampy rock, funk and high-energy R&B into extended jams. It was a sound that could only have bubbled up from this city, and the Suspects put their own spin on the repertoire.”
    USA Today

“… a seriously funky crew.” 
    Village Voice

“Think of the Suspects as the Big Easy's version of The Traveling Wilburys or Velvet Revolver, an all-star ensemble whose members have ties to some of the biggest names in New Orleans music, including The Neville Brothers, Outformation, The Radiators and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Also, some cat named James Brown, who I hear was pretty good.” 
    Chattanooga Times Free Press

“New Orleans Suspects are a supergroup that fully embody the flavor of their city.” 
    The Aquarian Weekly 

“As one might expect, the band's current repertoire includes hits and obscurities from the Allen Toussaint and Dr. John songbooks, and favorites from the Radiators, the Neville Brothers and the Dirty Dozen Band repertoire, along with original songs performed that hold to a signature jazz/funk style. The combination is effectively spotlighted on the band's recently released sophomore album, Live at the Maple Leaf."
    Palm Beach New Times 

“During their first year on the road and in the studio, the Suspects' ever-evolving setlist became a healthy mix of old school blues, funk standards and obscurities, as well as a slew of soul-based originals with plenty of authentic New Orleans flavor… Fans and critics have been wildly enthusiastic about the group's bona fide funk.” 
    Flagpole Magazine 

“In terms of talent and musicianship, the New Orleans Suspects are certainly among the Crescent City’s ‘most wanted’ players.” 
    Quad-City Times

“Simply put, The New Orleans Suspects specialize in playing good times music; the type of good times music synonymous with the city they are named after...the band is tight, and each song possesses the ability to transport the listener to the musical sanctuary of the famous Maple Leaf Bar. The Suspects check the egos often associated with monstrously talented musicians at the door, blending their musical abilities together like a finely made roux and just having as much fun as possible on stage. The band skillfully incorporates down and dirty funk guitar riffs, barrel roll piano, soulful saxophone playing, and the jaw-dropping drum solos of “Mean” Willie Green, because, why the hell not? For those of us who think of New Orleans as a second home, The Suspects offer an experience that brings concert-goers as close to NOLA as possible without actually going there.”