Jesse Brooks & The Living Past gear up for last shows of the year and prepare to make a record

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YEAR’S END- Jesse Brooks & The Living Past will play a consecutive three-night in-state run next week before their final show of the year at Nick’s Ice House in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 9 p.m. Photo by Emily LaPrime.

Tangipahoa Parish-based rock and honky-tonk soul band Jesse Brooks & The Living Past will play three back-to-back shows next week before they hit the road for Nick’s Ice House on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 9 p.m. for their final show of 2019.

“We enjoyed the hell of playing Nick’s a few months back,” Brooks said. “That was back when we were doing acoustic shows and I think we forgot to pack our microphones so we had to do the show with no sound. I was nervous because all these people showed up right at 9, but they all quietly listened and were really engaged. That rarely ever happens!”

Before traveling to Hattiesburg, the band kicks off their three-day run with a show at The Starlight in New Orleans on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. The next night on Friday, Dec. 13 the band heads west to Lafayette at The Pearl to open for The Debtors and The Links at 10 p.m. Baton Rouge band The Rakers will open for the band on Saturday, Dec. 14 at Low Road Brewing at 7 p.m. back home in Hammond.

Brooks said that the acoustic shows a year ago were intimate and a good way to connect with audiences but that getting back into the flow of the scene is moving a lot faster now that he’s joined by his band, The Living Past. 

“I just love everything that the band is doing now,” he said. “The energy feels right and I love hearing these songs come to life.”

Brooks said that the band’s name comes from the William Faulkner quote from Requiem for a Nun, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

“Yeah, it’s strange how the world can be completely different just an hour outside of a city,” Brooks said. “I feel like both the country and the city influenced the way I sound and the more time I spent in New Orleans over the years the more I wanted to sound like a bridge between that world, folk music, and the Mississippi blues.” 

To build the band, Brooks recruited players with similar life experiences. Guitarist Clayton Wilson joined Brooks for a year before bassist Byron Daniel and drummer Jeremy Stringer were added consistently. 

“I think Clay and I first bonded having conversations about that Robert Johnson and Mississippi blues stuff because we both grew up not far from where that trail begins,”  Brooks said. “When I go electric, I think there’s an element of something kind of visceral and Clay has a smooth touch that is a great compliment to that.”

The band sounds something like Neil Young and Crazy Horse but with an Allman Brothers sensibility, Brooks said. He also said that hasn’t forgotten his punk roots and said that the story and message are specifically the duties of his job.

“I’m here for words. Clay is here to make us sound legit. Jeremy keeps us in line and Byron is like our producer in residence,” he said.

The band is preparing to release an EP called The Cherry Street Sessions, a collection of songs recorded in single takes inside of Riemer’s Auditorium on the grounds of the First Christian Church in Hammond, Louisiana. 

Jesse Brooks & The Living Past’s 2020 calendar to date: 

1/10 – Mid-City Ballroom w/ The Rakers and Michael Bones Miller – Baton Rouge
1/24 – Bayou Teche Brewing – Arnaudville
1/25 – Babylon Sports Bar (birthday show) w/ Alex Cook and Chris Rico – Metairie
1/30 – Banks Street Bar – New Orleans
2/27 – Banks Street Bar – New Orleans

Follow the band on Facebook and Instagram.

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