Honey Island Swamp Band from New Orleans will take the BB&T Stage at Canal Place on Saturday, July 23, at 8 pm for a free concert as part of Cumberland Comes Alive. The band’s music has been described as Blues, Southern rock boogie, Appalachian music, and New Orleans swamp funk.

Great music begins with great songs, and great songs are what the Honey Island Swamp Band is all about. The band came together when Aaron Wilkinson (acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Chris Mulé (electric guitar, vocals) were marooned in San Francisco after the levee breaches following Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. After a chance encounter with fellow New Orleans evacuees Sam Price (bass, vocals) and Garland Paul (drums, vocals), and with no prospects of getting home any time soon, they figured they’d better cook up something new, and quick!

A few days later they had put together a song list, landed a weekly gig at San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room, and settled in to share a little taste of Southern culture with their new West coast neighbors. Their 7-song eponymous debut was recorded in 2006 at famed Record Plant studios in Sausalito, CA, and was received so well that the band decided to make the new group priority number one upon moving back to New Orleans in early 2008.

Honey Island Swamp Band’s music has been described as “Bayou Americana”, with timeless songs from Wilkinson & Mulé, highlighted by Mulé’s searing guitar, Wilkinson’s sure-handed mandolin, and 4-part vocal harmonies, all anchored by the powerful groove of Price & Paul’s Louisiana stomp rhythm section. The addition of Trevor Brooks on Hammond B-3 organ to the HISB family in 2010 has rounded out the band’s sound, which draws from a variety of influences in the world of roots music, including artists such as Lowell George & Little Feat, The Band, Taj Mahal, Gram Parsons, Jerry Garcia, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Reed, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and New Orleans’ own Earl King and Dr. John.

In April 2009, the band released its first full-length album – Wishing Well – and on the strength of such songs as “Natural Born Fool”, “Till the Money’s Gone”, and the album’s title track, Wishing Well was awarded 2009’s “Best Blues Album” by OffBeat Magazine, which also named HISB as 2009’s “Best Emerging Artist” and 2010’s “Best Roots Rock Artist”. Most recently HISB won the award for “Best Roots Rock Artist” of 2011 at the Big Easy Awards, New Orleans’ most prestigious arts & entertainment honors.

The event is free of charge, but seating is limited, so don’t forget your folding lawn chair.

Cumberland Comes Alive is Western Maryland’s premier outdoor concert series. It is presented by Burgmeiers Hauling Inc. and is produced by the City of Cumberland’s Downtown Development Commission and Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority with a Maryland Heritage Area Grant.

For more information, contact Canal Place at 301-724-3655 or visit www.canalplace.org or visit www.honeyislandswampband.com

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