It seems like the streets of New Orleans are always filled with music, but it’s not every day that the music flowing through the Big Easy is Grammy award-winning.
A small front porch might not seem like the kind of place you’d expect the winners of one of the biggest awards in music to play their victory show, but that’s just what the New Orleans Nightcrawlers did following their Grammy win for Best Regional Roots Music Album for their 2020 album “Atmosphere.”
The victory is the culmination of over 25 years of making music, which trumpet player Kevin Ray Clark revealed started as just a writing workshop in 1994.
“We had enough material for a gig, so we did a gig,” Clark said. “Then we did more gigs. Then we did an album and another album and that’s how...that’s how it all started, it started as a writer’s workshop.”
Clark also believes that while the Grammy win was exciting, it was not really a surprise to him.
“I mean, it’s like, the band… it’s been a long time coming,” Clark said. “Sometimes it takes a while for people to catch up.”
The band’s lineup has grown and changed over the years, bringing together members of several different area jazz bands to make something special. Drummer Kerry “Fatman” Hunter recalled being asked to fill in for a show and the rest, as they say, is history.
“Since that day I played the first gig, once I played with the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, I was in the band,” Hunter said. “So it’s been like, over 20 years now.”
Due to current restrictions, the band learned that they won the award at home in New Orleans. Sousaphone player Matt Perrine, who said he’d been imagining accepting the award for the two weeks leading up to the ceremony, says he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“To be in New Orleans with our family and friends, on a show,” Perrine said, “to accept a Grammy that way, that was more than I could have ever hoped for.”
When thinking about his favorite memories over his time with the Nightcrawlers, drummer Cayetano Hingle couldn’t narrow it down to just one.
“Being with the band,” Hingle said, “and the Grammy’s, you know already. It’s wild!”
Wild seems like the right word to describe the effect this band has on even the people just passing by. During their front porch concert, dozens of people stopped to dance in the streets to the sounds of “Atmosphere.”
The New Orleans Nightcrawlers will continue to celebrate their success with gigs in the New Orleans area, with more information available on their Facebook.