Ted Hearne’s Katrina Ballads Released Today

Commemorating the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Ted Hearne has just released his acclaimed Katrina Ballads as a digital download on New Amsterdam Records.

I highly recommend it.

It is one of those rare pieces that manages to be dense and ornate, while being accessible to a large audience; sharply political, while avoiding a condescending, preachy tone. I’ve seen it live and it’s an experience. All of my friends playing in it spoke of how challenging it was to perform, but it didn’t seem much of an effort – partly because they’re great players, but also because the music lends itself to a casual style of virtuosity. The music is deep and difficult, but unlike much modern music, the physical and interpretive challenges it poses are so linear and melodic in nature that the music translates very well to the audience. It helps that much of it has a groove behind it, likely inspired by both minimalism and rock/pop. It’s a perfect project for New Amsterdam, who caters to the younger generation of devotees to music that is both series and accessible. And plus, it’s got Nathan Koci playing electric fucking horn. How can you beat that??

You can listen to the whole thing streaming on the New Am site. Also, here’s a cool article in The Times-Picayune about it. Seriously, give it a listen. You will not be disappointed. And 10 bucks for the whole 70 minute piece? Can’t beat it.

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