This cover of the Lucinda Williams song comes from New Orleans band Loose Cattle who have a line-up backstory which is so complicated we’re just going to tell you it all verbatim. Up front there’s Kimberly Kaye, co-leader of Loose Cattle with Michael Cerveris. Kinberley is the lead singer on ‘Crescent City.’ Kimberley is from New Jersey, whilst Michael Cerveris is a West Virginian. He’s had a varied musical career including being sideman for Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould, and sharing stages with Pete Townshend, The Breeders, The Pixies’ Frank Black, Teenage Fanclub, and more. A two-time Tony and Grammy Award-winner, he’s co-starred in Broadway shows from The Who’s Tommy to Sweeney Todd as well as Hedwig and the Angry Inch off-Broadway, in L.A. and London’s West End. Michael’s also co-starred in films with Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini, and John C. Reilly and the TV series Mindhunter, Gotham, Fringe, Treme, and HBO’s current hit The Gilded Age.
That’s not all – featured on this song are Louis Michot of Lost Bayou Ramblers on fiddle and Drive By Truckers’ Jay Gonzalez on organ. Loose Cattle are rounded out with bass player and native New Orleanian René Coman, and Memphis-raised drummer Doug Garrison, who are both members of The Iguanas. Georgia-raised fiddler and vocalist Rurik Nunan tours with Cracker and Dave Jordan and is a former member of roots rockers The Whisky Gentry. And now you know everyone.
You are probably wondering why Loose Cattle chose to cover Lucinda’s song. Good question – and we have the answer in the form of a two narrator anecdote, as Kimberly tells it: “Michael had known Lucinda for a while through Lu’s tour manager, his fellow native West Virginian, Travis Stephens. When we came to town for an unofficial Louisiana Americana showcase during last year’s Americana Music Fest in Nashville, with typical Southern hospitality, Lu invited us to stay with her.” Michael Cerveris adds: “We bonded right away, talking about parents, writing, and her childhood in Louisiana. It seemed natural for us to invite her to sit in on our Vinyl Tap set. And despite being scheduled to head out on her own tour later that day, she said she’d love to come out and make music with her Louisiana people. We all decided ‘Crescent City’ would be the perfect song especially since we’d brought Cajun fiddler Louis Michot with us filling in for our regular fiddle player, Rurik Nunan.”
Kimberley interjected at this point that “We kept it a surprise ‘til Lu came up onstage, and then the tiny room exploded with joy, appreciation and most of all, love for Lucinda.” Michael finishes the story with a flourish: “We carried that feeling back home to New Orleans and then into Dockside when we started recording our second album. One day, when Louis stopped by to deliver andouille sausage and boudin balls as a local treat for the out-of-towners (more of that Southern hospitality), we decided to try and recapture a little of the magic of that day in Nashville, this time with two fiddlers, just for Lu.”