The New Orleans outfit heralds the arrival of their new album, “Electric Baby Carriage,” with an enticing new tune.
Hailing from New Orleans, The Duane Bartels Band has quickly established itself as a well-known name on the local music scene from their hard work and love of music. The band plays 4-5 shows a week, sharpening and showing off their skills to adoring audiences at legendary venues like Tipitina's and House of Blues. Although the Covid-19 pandemic would halt some of the band’s musical goals, they’ve picked up right where they left off, going from strength to strength.
The Duane Bartels Band’s new album, “Electric Baby Carriage” (produced by Justin Armstrong), features a mature, electric sound that showcases the band's range. Speaking on the album, the band mentioned that “Electric Baby Carriage” represents how far the band has come, representing growth and a departure from the grittier sound that their debut EP, “The Ballad of Johnny Loveless,” embodied.
“Wildfires” is the song the band decided to appoint as the herald of the good things to come on “Electric Baby Carriage.” First-time listeners will note a smooth, effortless groove to the instrumentals that perfectly accentuate the spunky vocals. Daring the listener to “Take me on, to California” in the opening lines, The Duane Bartels Band takes the listener on an easy, no-frills musical journey that seems to sap your worries away.
“Wildfires” is a standout track on “Electric Baby Carriage” and a thrilling love letter to California and those who protect it. Whenever you need some soulful groove in your musical rotation, tap in and stream “Wildfires,” available now on all major streaming platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Duane Bartels Band! We loved “Wildfires” What a perfect introduction to your music and the standard you’ve set for “Electric Baby Carriage”! We had to ask, so you mentioned “Wildfires” was a love letter to California. What connection do you have there, and how did it become?
Thanks for having us! I (Duane) was born in California—San Diego, to be exact. Moved around a bit and ended up in the Bay Area for about 12 years. Spent 8 of those in San Francisco. My Dad’s family goes back generations in Ventura County. Even though I call New Orleans home now, California will always be where my heart is. Our Saxophone player Nick and Trombonist David are from California as well. The major fires we experience today began when I moved to New Orleans. It broke my heart. My family had a close brush with one in Ventura. One of my best friends from high school works for Cal Fire and is risking his life to keep everyone safe. It is a love letter to them and others to experience the beauty of California. Many people, especially here in the South, have a disdain for California. I think more so about the people, politics and price of living. But it is a majestic place on this earth. I wanted to evoke that in the song. It also has this underlying theme about me bringing someone back home with me one day. Which I still hope to do. Likely with my beautiful and loving girlfriend Sam.
How did the Duane Bartels Band come to be? Can you give us the origin story?
When I moved to New Orleans, I was a lost soul. A bad breakup had sent me packing, and I came to the city on a whim. I ended up living and working at The India House Hostel. It is the second-largest hostel in the United States. Our drummer Matthieu was working there as a handyman (so was I, but not a very good one), and we hit it off quickly. We started jamming and slowly brought the band together. At the time, he was in an Arab-based Rock ground called Kuwaisiana, and our two groups fused together. Jonathan (Trumpet) and Nick (Sax) were both in that band, and so was our original bass player John. Colin (Bass/Keys) and David (Trombone) joined later on, around 2019, along with John (Guitar). Although the latter isn’t in the band any longer due to a need to take a step back from the lifestyle, we still consider him as such. We’ve been a solid unit since.
What’s been your favourite musical memory together as a group?
We recently headlined The House of Blues stage at French Quarter Fest. That was a big one for us. Playing Tipatina’s in 2019 was another. We did a small three-piece tour during Hurricane Ida (wasn’t planned out that way) that certainly brought us a lot closer together. It was also putting this record together with our engineer and friend Justin Armstrong.
Can you take us through your creative process? How do you normally create your music?
It generally starts with a melody. I’ll write a chord structure or melody, then slowly add lyrics. Often I will write the horn lines to it as well. Then I will bring the skeleton of this tune to the band. We expand from there. Things get added on or taken away. It is a slow process that can take months or years, although every once in a while, a song will fly out of us. It’s not over till it’s recorded. This a motto I learned from an old drummer of mine back in San Francisco. I still work on that mantra. Sometimes it's the perfect collaboration between us. For example, on the tune “Every Song.” Colin took a horn line from the band he used to lead called Elephant’s Gerald (David used to play in it as well), and it fits perfectly over the top of my chord structure. Sometimes it's pure magic. When he went into the studio with Justin, he would always have some input on it. He is a true magician behind the boards.
What was your favourite part of bringing the vision for “Electric Baby Carriage” to life, and are there any favourite pieces on the album we should look out for?
Seeing the artwork completed was a real joy. It was done by our friend Fox Capone. (also part of Colin’s old band) He did a great job. Just being able to release it was the greatest joy. It was a three effort to make it this far. A hurricane, Covid, health problems and a whole lot more set us back greatly. But we finally got here. Some of our favorite tracks are “Passion Project” “Every Song” “Nothing Left” and of course “Wildfires.” There are little nuances in all the songs that I think make them special. For the old school Baby Boy Bartels and The Boys fans (not that there are too many) we recorded “Always Got You On My Mind” from our first record.