Monday, May 15, 2006

Blues Legend Finds New Hope In Katrina’s Exile

GONZALES, La. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – One of the silver-lined clouds from Hurricane Katrina is following New Orleans blues legend Irma Thomas: a renewed interest in the music and musicians of Louisiana.

Thomas has been playing a steady string of packed houses, benefit concerts and media appearances around the country since the hurricane last fall gutted her N’Awlins nightclub and displaced her and many of her musical peers.

Lately, says the 65-year old singing veteran, “I’m so blessed, I don’t have time to be depressed.”

Thomas is also admired for the many songs she originally sang that other rock and pop artists covered over the years, most notably hits for the Rolling Stones, Helen Reddy, Tracey Ullman and the late Otis Redding.

But she also notes, with an ironic laugh, “I haven’t heard from Mick Jagger since the storm, or Tracey Ullman, or Helen Reddy. Of course, I’d be very surprised to get a call from Otis.”

Thomas recently played a triumphant set at a surprisingly packed New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and she is interviewed and performs in the Starz InBlack documentary New Orleans Music In Exile, which debuts May 19.

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