The band played early New Orleans jazz and put on a fine concert, if not a tribute, to those songs and bands of bygone days. The only thing missing were the skips, clicks and hisses of an old 78.
In the crowd, I saw Yvette Landry seemingly minding her own business.
Landry, a local musician, singer, songwriter, author, educator, Grammy nominee with Bonsoir, Catin, said she was going to sing a couple of songs. I’ve heard her do Cajun, country and swamp pop, so I couldn’t wait to hear how this would go down.
What I would later learn is Landry and the frontman and trumpeter of the Blowhards, Sam Irwin, grew up next door to each other. He’d called her and asked if she would sit in, and I’m glad he did.
“To me, it was a challenge because I’ve never sang that kind of music before,” Landry said. “We didn’t rehearse. So it was just kind of an on-the-fly kind of thing.”
That latest episode of a premediated yet unrehearsed performance seems to be the way things sometimes go for Landry.
Last year, Landry got the opportunity to sit in with one of her favorite country musicians and bands, Vince Gill, and the Time Jumpers.
Those fellas have a standing Monday night gig at Nashville’s 3rd & Lindsley.
Landry sang “Driving Nails in My Coffin” and “Tennessee Waltz” in July (sans Gill, on tour with the Eagles), and returned December to sing “I’m Not Lisa,” with Gill back in the house.
And on Monday, Landry goes back.
Not a bad deal for someone who first picked up a bass in 2004 with no plans or goals relating to music.
“I never really set goals when I started this whole music thing,” Landry said. “I never was planning on being a musician.”
Early on as she learned the bass, truth be told, Landry’s one goal was to sit in with the Huval Family Band at Pont Breaux’s. “Man, if I could do that? Jeez, I made it, you know. I’ve done it,” she said.
Before they were married, Luke Bourque urged Landry to set another goal, “something to reach for, you know, almost unattainable,” he said. That’s when he learned Landry “always loved Vince Gill,” she said. “That would be my dream to share the stage with Vince Gill and or the Time Jumpers.’”
That’s all Bourque needed to hear.
So one day, Bourque asked Landry if she had plans on a particular weekend because they were going to Nashville.
“And he said there’s this club on Monday nights where they have this band, and I said, ‘Oh my God. It’s Third and Lindsley’” recalled Landry. “‘It’s the Time Jumpers.”
But wait, there’s more.
“And he said, ‘Oh, and by the way, you’re going to be singing two songs with them,” said Landry. “‘I said, ‘If you are lying to me, I will cut you. Do not mess with me like that.’”
No lie and no cuts. A third stand with the band.
About that first time, Landry was offered an alternate date because of Gill’s absence.
Landry demurred because the tickets were purchased and she was “going sing with whoever was there,” she said. “My God, these guys are world class with or without Vince Gill. This is something that I want to do.”
Afterward, an email from the group stated they’d enjoyed the gig with her and wanted her to return. This time, Gill would be there.
“I just remember being so nervous and telling myself, ‘You did this before, six months ago, you can do this again,’” said Landry, psyching up herself. “I stood up on the stage and looked to the right and I saw Kenny Sears and all those guys. And I looked to the left and there was Vince, sitting, holding his guitar and looking at me.
“And I remember thinking, ‘Oh, crap. This just got real,’” she said laughing. “My knees got weak, and I held onto the microphone stand, and then I just took a deep breath and closed my eyes and just went for it.”
But about rehearsal, Landry was invited to the greenroom to talk about songs she’d be doing. The guys wanted to know in what key and how to begin the song and so Landry duly informed the band.
“They said, ‘Well, alright,’” Landry said. “That was rehearsal. We’ll see you after the break.”
And like she did with Baton Rouge’s Florida Street Blowhards, the results were impressive. You can check out Landry and Gill and the Time Jumpers on YouTube.