2023 goes out with a bang and a big week of live music in New Orleans.



Born William Apostol in Lansing, Michigan, and now based in the country music epicenter of Nashville, Tennessee, Billy Strings possesses a nasal twang right out of an Appalachian holler. His speed, precision and overall prowess on an acoustic guitar can be breathtaking. In 2018, he made his New Orleans debut in front of a couple hundred people at d.b.a. on Frenchmen Street. Four years later, he dazzled a vast crowd at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s Gentilly Stage, then returned for two sold-out shows at the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena to close 2022. He added a third night to his 2023 New Year’s Eve stand at the Lakefront Arena. Fans will be traveling from across the country to hear the fleet-fingered acoustic guitarist and his equally skilled string players — he typically doesn’t use a drummer — whip through original songs and bluegrassed covers. At press time, face-value tickets were still available for all three nights (the Sunday night show had the fewest), starting at $49.50 plus fees.


The 2022 version of Little Feat includes, from left, Sam Clayton, Scott Sharrard, Bill Payne, Tony Leone, Fred Tackett and Kenny Gradney.



Little Feat formed in California more than 50 years ago, incorporating top-flight musicianship, idiosyncratic songwriting, New Orleans-inspired funkiness, blues-tinged guitar leads, country-flecked harmonies, jazz-fusion forays and a seat-of-the-pants soulfulness. Little Feat’s 1978 double-LP “Waiting for Columbus” is considered one of the greatest live albums of all time. Lowell George, the band’s madcap frontman and driving creative force, died at 34, but the band continued on. The current roster includes founding keyboardist Bill Payne, bassist and Baton Rouge native Kenny Gradney and percussionist Sam Clayton, all of whom hail from the Lowell George era, plus multi-instrumentalist Fred Tackett, who contributed to Little Feat recordings in the 1970s but didn’t officially become a member until 1988. Guitarist and vocalist Scott Sharrard, who was Gregg Allman’s longtime bandleader, replaced the late Paul Barrere in Little Feat in 2019; drummer Tony Leone joined during the COVID years. Little Feat brings its "Rollin’ Into ‘24 Tour" to the Joy Theater on Friday. Tickets start at $40 plus fees.



Victor Goines for Red

Jazz saxophonist and clarinetist Victor Goines.

Renowned modern jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and educator Victor Goines got his start in New Orleans, where he was a member of pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr.’s band and Marsalis’ jazz studies staff at the University of New Orleans. Goines has spent the past 30 years in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Wynton Marsalis Septet. He’s performed or recorded with Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Dizzy Gillespie, Dianne Reeves, Willie Nelson, Marcus Roberts, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and many others. While home for the holidays, Goines performs at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Thursday with drummer Jason Marsalis, bassist Jason Stewart and pianist Oscar Rossignoli. Tickets are $40.

Saxophonist Brad Walker, who has toured as a member of Sturgill Simpson’s band while also making his own cutting-edge jazz, leads his band at Chickie Wah Wah at 8 p.m. ($20).

Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band are featured for the final Zydeco Night of 2023 at Rock ‘N’ Bowl ($15).

Legendary New Orleans drummer Johnny Vidacovich teams up with pianist Michael Pellera and bassist Grayson Brockamp at the Maple Leaf Bar at 8 p.m. ($20).

Electronic dance music producer Inzo holds court at the Joy Theater with Super Future and Heyz ($30 and up).


The venerable Dirty Dozen Brass Band shares a bill with clarinetist, saxophonist and singer Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses at Tipitina’s starting at 8:30 p.m. ($25).

Billy Strings fans looking for something to do after his shows at the UNO Lakefront Arena can catch the bluegrass-inspired, Nashville-based jam band Sicard Hollow — its members deploy fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar and electric bass — at Chickie Wah Wah on both Friday and Saturday, starting about 11 p.m. ($20).

Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers swing out at the Blue Nile at 11 p.m. ($20 advance).

Jason Marsalis powers his vibes quartet at Snug Harbor at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ($35).

Costumed cover band Bag of Donuts hits Rock ‘N’ Bowl ($15).

It’s a big night of guitars at the Maple Leaf with the blues-based Eric Johanson at 8 p.m. ($20) then the Joe Marcinek Band at 11 p.m. ($20).


DJ Soul Sister behind the turntables circa 2017.


DJ Soul Sister, New Orleans’ mistress of rare groove vinyl and the host of WWOZ’s long-running Saturday night “Soul Power” show, traditionally hosts one of her epic dance parties on New Year’s Eve. But in a break with tradition, she’s throwing a New Year’s Eve Eve party instead. At this “Saturday Super Party” at Tipitina’s, the old-school DJ Captain Charles will spin from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Soul Sister takes over at 10 p.m. and keeps mixing classic soul, funk, R&B and more until 1 a.m. Tickets start at $25; a VIP balcony option is available for $50.

New Orleans piano man John “Papa” Gros anchors a full band, with horns, for an 8 p.m. show at Chickie Wah Wah ($32). Later, at 11 p.m., bluegrass jam band Sicard Hollow is back for its second night at Chickie Wah Wah ($20).

Trombonist Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet funk up the Blue Nile at 11 p.m. ($15 advance).

The horn-heavy Bucktown Allstars play rock ‘n’ roll and soul classics at Rock ‘N’ Bowl ($10).

The Iko Allstars jam on in the spirit of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead at the Toulouse Theater in the French Quarter ($20).

New Orleans drummer extraordinaire Herlin Riley powers his quartet at Snug Harbor at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ($35).


It’s New Year’s Eve! Your musical options include Juvenile at the Saenger Theater, Big Freedia and Boyfriend at the Orpheum Theater, Galactic at Tipitina’s, Mahmoud Chouki at Snug Harbor, Tommy McLain with CC Adcock and Dickie Landry at Chickie Wah Wah, Flow Tribe at the Blue Nile, The Quickening at the Maple Leaf, the Boogie Men at Rock ‘N’ Bowl and the Hot 8 Brass Band at the Howlin’ Wolf.


Kick off 2024 with bassist George Porter Jr.’s trio at the Maple Leaf. They’ll play an early show at 7 p.m. followed by a later show at 10 p.m. ($20).


The To Be Continued Brass Band extends its Tuesday night residency at the Maple Leaf into 2024 ($15).

Email Keith Spera at kspera@theadvocate.com.