NEW ORLEANS – On Friday, Jan. 29, New Orleans songwriter and performer Jeremy Joyce will release his first Mardi Gras single, “Come Back to New Orleans (Celebrate the Mardi Gras),” on all major digital/streaming platforms. Produced by Mike Harvey (Hot 8 Brass Band, The Wild Magnolias, Samantha Fish), this Mardi Gras anthem has its left foot planted in ‘50s R&B and its right foot dancing in outer space.
“You can break all the musical rules in New Orleans,” says Joyce. “No one looks at you sideways if you are writing out of four or five different traditions,” he says. Indeed, one glance at the songs sung or written by Allen Toussaint and Dr. John provides ready evidence of the Crescent City’s long obsession with mixing musical traditions. New Orleans couldn’t offer a more appropriate musical backdrop for Joyce, whose genre-defying songs are born out of a macro-level interest in music history and a micro-level interest in what makes songs tick.
“Come Back to New Orleans (Celebrate the Mardi Gras)” represents a step into the tradition of New Orleans Mardi Gras music culture. The song has long been a crowd-pleasing closer at Joyce’s live shows but has remained unreleased until now. Joyce recorded a version of the song with producer Mike Harvey before the COVID-19 pandemic hit New Orleans, but it wasn’t until a pandemic-era, distanced porch jam that Joyce and Harvey accidentally stumbled upon a new production approach. Harvey programmed a brass band-style beat on a drum machine that sent the song spinning in a new, more whacky direction. After adding a little Professor Longhair-inspired piano, horns, guitar, and vocals, the song took on a mind of its own.
Not to be misconstrued as a call for tourists to flock to New Orleans during a pandemic, “Come Back to New Orleans” was written with a local’s love of the city and its people in mind. For Joyce, the words “come back” imply a return home. The song’s release is intended to reflect the joie de vivre of Carnival season and spread celebratory cheer during a difficult year that has seen fewer local music releases and far fewer live music performances.
“We want to encourage people to celebrate Mardi Gras in their own safe ways wherever they are,” says Joyce. “It’s a reminder for those who have a connection with this city and miss it—perhaps even those who had to leave this year to make a living elsewhere—that New Orleans and Mardi Gras can be a state of mind,” he says.
Jeremy Joyce: Words & Music, Lead Vocal
Ghalia Volt & Emily Robertson: Backing Vocals
Alex Geddes: Horn Arrangement, Tenor and Baritone Saxophone
Jonathan Bauer: Trumpet (solo)
Daniel Meinecke: Piano
Chip Wilson: Slide Guitar
Mike Harvey: Beat Programming, Electric Bass, Synth Bass, Clavinet, Vocoder, Guitar, Production