When you think of New Orleans, the city’s foremost flambeaux-lit traditions of Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, voodoo, Po’ boys, beads, gumbo, and second line undoubtedly come to mind. You can also count Big Sam’s Funky Nation amongst those NOLA treasures.
Known for a boisterous blend of funk, jazz, rock, and hip-hop, nothing short of seismic live “experiences,” and a whole lot of Southern charm, Big Sam’s Funky Nation might very well be The Big Easy’s best kept secret.
No other place could birth such an undeniable, unpredictable, and downright unique collective.
“By playing on these streets, you learn how to work your craft and entertain an audience,” exclaims Sam. “You can go to Julliard and Berklee all you want, but they won’t teach you how to rock a stage. It comes naturally in New Orleans. I’ve been here my whole life and rocking these streets. Even during Hurricane Katrina, I drove nine hours from San Antonio every weekend for two years just to play live. The sound out here is unlike anything else in the world. It’s not just a figure of speech—there’s music going all night, literally.”
Against the backdrop of Crescent City, the group released five fan favorite albums and quietly developed a devout following. Powered by jaw-dropping technical talent and uncontainable energy on stage, their performances have become the stuff of legend. Big Sam ensures you’re not just a part of the crowd, but “a part of the show dancing and singing along.” Beyond standout sets at the likes of Voodoo Music + Experience and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the boys have performed at Bonnaroo, SXSW, and Austin City Limits, to name a few.
The frontman personally draws on over two decades in the game, spanning everything from 300 shows per year during his days in Dirty Dozen Brass Band and gigs backing up Widespread Panic and Dave Matthews Band to recording and touring with Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello. Additionally, he would be sought out for a recurring role on the critically acclaimed HBO series Treme.