published Friday, October 7th, 2011

Gill Landry channels Big Easy spirit at Barking Legs

IF YOU GO

What: Gill Landry.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Barking Legs Theater, 1307 Dodds Ave.

Admission: $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

Phone: 624-5347.

Venue website: www.barkinglegs.org.

Although he moved away from New Orleans more than five years ago, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gill Landry said that, in some ways, he never left.

"The people I met and that budding time of growth as a performer had a greater influence on me than anything else in my life has," Landry said. "I'm trying to get past it, actually.

"I'm really not trying to play the New Orleans card by any means, but it really affected me."

When he joined Old Crow Medicine Show in 2005, Landry had been living and playing in New Orleans for almost a decade.

His career there began one New Year's Eve in the late '90s, when he relocated from the Northwest and moved in with a well-known local washboard player and guitarist named Ragtime Annie who also worked in a voodoo shop.

Annie let him join her band. From that group, Landry eventually split off to form a group with a friend, the Kitchen Syncopators, which became one of the city's most respected acts.

Even after traveling the world with Old Crow, Landry said his mind keeps circling those formative years in the Ninth Ward rubbing shoulders with a cast of dark and twisted characters.

Landry introduced fans to many of those stories in his 2010 sophomore album, "Piety & Desire," which was based largely on his experiences in New Orleans as a young raconteur.

"Man, at that time, when we were younger, we sacrificed everything and didn't hold anything back," he said. "That was [the city's] massive influence."

With a lifelong love of travel and throwing himself pell-mell into any situation, Landry said he feels drawn to storytelling, a characteristic reflected in his songs, which usually take the form of ballads.

Like many aspects of New Orleans, the city's music scene was irrevocably changed after Hurricane Katrina struck.

Through his music, Landry said, he hopes to share some of its singular, off-kilter magic with audiences such as the one he will perform for Saturday at Barking Legs Theater.

"The whole thing was this big, grand experience," he said. "There's a spirit that town can teach you that you can't learn from records."

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...

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