Few moments stood out at the 50th New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival like the mid-set standing ovation that The War and Treaty received in the Blues Tent. Tanya Trotter’s tears of passion and appreciation had me close to tears.
The Trotters’ soul roots sound is as powerful as their story, and, oh, those voices. Michael, an Iraq war vet who wrote songs for the fallen, lived through hard knocks before enlisting and came out the other side to meet Tanya and forge this must be heard musical union.
I wasn’t going to miss the chance to catch them in the intimate confines of the world famous Troubadour, and made sure to bring a gaggle of friends along. Surprisingly, day of tickets were still available, and despite some glowing press from NPR and Rolling Stone, the world is just waking up to this band. Don’t expect that to last long.
With two horns and eight-pieces in tow, the 90 minute set was rousing out the gate and “Take Me In” stopped everyone in their tracks early, as it did at Jazz Fest.
The Trotters air it all out, warts and all. The new “5 Minutes” was preceded by marital banter that could have been on full display on your best friend’s couch (without the Stax-y horns at the end).
Michael Trotter introduced “Reach Out” as about depression and mental health from someone who’s been there, and still going through, all of the human condition. “This band is the band that cares” he reassured us, after asking the crowd whether anyone has lived with the secret of depression or mental struggles.
“Whoa Darling” was a smile fest for the room, a bouncy and humorously honest recollection of their courtship and the rise up power of “Down to the River” just killed it, with every player taking their turn.
The largely a cappella “Love Like There’s No Tomorrow” was the final encore, stunning and heartfelt, as much of the spirit in the room was throughout this joyful performance.”