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French Quarter Fest, 2012 from nola.com.

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Times-Picayune interview with Lil Red

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Times-Picayune Article about Lil Red

Where Y’at magazine CD review

March 2011

Lil’ Red and Big Bad

Blues Gone Wild


The worst thing that could happen to any musical genre would be for a whole generation to lose interest in it and have it fade into obscurity. Of course, some genres deserve precisely that fate (hear that, disco?) but thankfully the blues is not in that number. As the pioneering bluesmen of a great bygone era age and pass on, there are still enough performers keeping it alive, among whom are Nancy Gros (a.k.a Lil’ Red) and her group Big Bad. On this, their debut CD, the band performs nine blues numbers, most of which are little known and infrequently performed but all equally good and deserving of exposure. Better known tracks, also well covered by the group, are Eta James’ “Tell Momma,” Roy Brown’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and Irma Thomas’ “Ruler of My Heart.” The group does an especially outstanding job on the Roosevelt Sykes-penned “Driving Wheel,” a rollicking, feel-good blues number I first heard more than 40 years ago on Paul Butterfield’s innovative “The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw” album, which introduced horns to the blues genre. As Lil’ Red, Gros’ vocal style is as fiery as her eponymous hair color- raw, unfiltered and straight from the heart as well as from the gut. The lil’ gal can sure ‘nuf sing the blues and she has some solid backing from Charlie Hermann on guitar, Sandy Maillho on bass, Donald Wightkin on drums, Thomas Walker on harmonica and rhythm guitar and Marc Ballard on sax. “ The blues is alright” right here with more to come soon. Lil’ Red and Co., with some new members, is working on their new release as we speak. Stay tuned.   Dean Shapiro

Lil Red and Big Bad win blues competition, are bound for Memphis

Published: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 9:00 AM     Updated: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 9:08 AM

By Keith Spera, The Times-Picayune

Local blues and R&B ensemble Lil Red & Big Bad won the second annual New Orleans Voodoo Blues Challenge on Friday at Rock ’n’ Bowl, earning a spot in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., in February.

Photo by Matthew Schlenker

Lil Red & Big Bad vocalist Nancy Gros, at right, accepts a check after her band won the New Orleans Voodoo Blues Challenge at Rock ‘n’ Bowl last weekend.

The Voodoo Blues Krewe New Orleans Blues Society staged the challenge, which was broadcast live by WWOZ. Judges included Grammy Award-winning musician and actor Chris Thomas King, pianist and Rabadash Records founder John Autin, and pianist, singer and songwriter Leslie Smith.

Lil Red & Big Bad, consisting of singer Nancy Gros, guitarists Charlie Hermann and Jeff Ruello, bassist Sandy Maillho, drummer Willie Panker, saxophonist Marc Ballard and keyboardist Greg Villafranco, prevailed over the Danny Alexander Blues Band, Ernie Vincent & the Top Notes and Joe Simon’s Big 3.

Lil Red’s winning set included Junior Wells, Roosevelt Sykes, Slim Harpo and James Brown covers, as well as an original composition, “Shoes for My Blues.” “I’m trying to get to the next level,” Gros said. “I’m blessed to work with these guys. I’m really happy and proud.” As winners, they received $1,000 to help cover expenses for the trip to Memphis.

In August, Owen “Big Daddy O” Tufts won the solo/duo category of the Voodoo Blues Challenge; he’ll also travel to Memphis in February. Tufts performed as a special guest at last weekend’s contest, as did Little Freddie King. Both the city and state honored King with proclamations, and he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Additionally, the Voodoo Blues Krewe presented King with its Snooks Eaglin Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lil Red & Big Bad perform Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. at the free Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival in Lafayette Square downtown. Owen “Big Daddy O” performs Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the festival.