Traditional New Orleans music this weekend at Delta Blue

TUPPER LAKE – When George Kilby Jr. thinks about New Orleans, it’s all about music and the spectacle of celebration.

Kilby lived in The Big Easy while he was growing up, and it’s safe to say a part of him never left. That part revels in jubilant rhythms, loud horns and even louder costumes.

The New York City-based guitarist is bringing a heaping spoonful of New Orleans-inspired musical flavors to Delta Blue in Lake Placid this Saturday, starting at 9 p.m. The songs will be a blend of originals and traditional New Orleans street staples.

“Playing New Orleans music in New York, it’s really about the Mardi Gras tradition,” Kilby said. “When you do these kinds of songs, you do them your own way. We’ll do the ‘Mardi Gras Mambo,’ and all the things about Mardi Gras itself.”

The band will don Mardi Gras attire, and audience members are encouraged to do the same. Kilby said gold and purple are common colors during Mardi Gras, but there really isn’t a standard color scheme. Some people work on their costumes all year, and once the celebration begins, the more flamboyant and outlandish the garb, the better.

“We’ll have a second line on Saturday,” Kilby said. “In the old days, they would play a dirge in a funeral on the way to the graveyard. Once the body was put into the ground, they would play a happier tune leading back to the house for the reception. That term second line became known as dancing in the street behind the band. There’s actually a song called ‘Second Line.’ It’s a very fun, danceable groove. That’s where we’ll take the crowd out into the street.”

Aside from costumes, Kilby also recommended dancing – lots of it – and he wasn’t kidding about taking the crowd into the street, either. If the audience is receptive, there will be a lively Mardi Gras procession onto Main Street.

“The Mardi Gras celebration counts on the crowd as well the band,” Kilby said. “Without a crowd, a Mardi Gras gig can fall flat. When we do it in Brooklyn, half the audience also comes in costume. During the second line, the crowd follows the umbrella and everybody waves a handkerchief.”

The Alabama-born Kilby traces his roots back to New Orleans, but his music is also firmly planted in blues and Americana. He has recorded albums with blues piano legend Pinetop Perkins, worked with Bob Dylan sideman Howie Wyeth and has shared the stage with Albert King, Etta James and James Brown.

Kilby has also recorded several of his own albums, including his newest release, “Let the Melody Live On.”

At 9 p.m. Friday at Delta Blue and at 3 p.m. Sunday at Whiteface Mountain, Kilby will join three of his friends for a blues- and Americana-inspired performance. The big party, the eight-piece George Kilby Jr. Mardi Gras Review, is Saturday. Three Lake Placid musicians, Zack Jakub, Derrick LaVoy and Lowell Bailey, will join the review.

“The Mardi Gras review will represent Lake Placid, as well as New York City,” Kilby said. “This is the first time we’re doing this, and I’m really trying to make this Mardi Gras show a yearly event.”

Contact Shaun Kittle at 891-2600 ext. 25 or skittle@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.