New Album and a New Year with Crescent City Connection

From left to Right Jake Opdahl, Jason Russell, Brandon Vigil, Luke Jones, Greg Leistikow, Ben Myers at Magic Rat. Photo by CCC.

Jonson Kuhn | New SCENE

Still trying to figure out what to do with yourself this New Year’s Eve?  Well, not to worry because we’ve got you covered!  Fort Collins-based Crescent City Connection is performing at the Magic Rat on Friday, December 31 at 9 pm.  They’ve got a new album out called “Yeah You Right!” and yeah, you’re right if you think it’s great! Described as Colorado’s Mardi Gras and New Orleans Party Band, these guys don’t disappoint; they deliver a solid punch of good times and solid vibes with a dance floor never empty.

Being the super cool dudes that they are, they were willing to stop by and do a quick interview aboard North Forty’s private jet.  We can’t afford to take it off the runway, honestly, we can’t even afford to put fuel in it at all, so we keep it parked in a hangar at Northern Colorado Regional Airport and just use it for interviews and staff birthday parties.  Here now is that interview in its entirety.

NFN: I’ve heard rumors on the streets that there are roughly 114 different people in this band, is that true?  Who is in the band?

Jason:  You are not that far off.  To date, there have been 16 members of the band.  Currently, there are 6 of us.  Brandon Vigil on Tenor Saxophone, Ben Myers on trumpet and vocals, Luke Jones plays drums, Jake Opdahl on guitar and vocals, Greg Leistikow on piano, organ and vocals, and Jason Russell on bass and vocals.  That number is likely to grow however if we were to ever talk about recording again.

NFN: The name of the newest album is Color Red, but I think the question a lot of fans are asking is…why not blue?  What was the motivation behind the title?

CCC:  Actually, the name of the album is “Yeah You Right!” and it’s on the Color Red record label.  “Yeah, You Right!” is New Orleans for “ I agree!”,  “Let’s do it!”, Word!”, etc.… There is an original song on the album titled Blue Car… for the fans.

NFN: Oh, I see.  Well, I guess my jokes don’t land as well when I get the initial information wrong, huh?  Okay, let’s try a different question: my favorite song by far is “Cracks on the Sidewalk,” it’s extremely difficult not to tap your foot along to that one.  I noticed the lyrics say, “this is not that same old town I used to know” and I can’t help but wonder if it’s about Fort Collins specifically?

Jason: “Cracks…” is not specifically about Fort Collins so much.  I grew up in small-town outside of New Orleans and “Cracks…” for me is about that town.  The town changed as I was growing up and it didn’t feel the same to me as it did when I was young.  I haven’t lived there in many years and when I visit, it doesn’t feel like the town I grew up in.  I think it’s a relatable song for anyone who came from a town that doesn’t feel like home anymore.

NFN: You’re playing your NYE show at the Magic Rat and I saw that you’ve played there before, so I have to imagine it must be somewhat of a special venue to you?  Why pick the Magic Rat for this show as opposed to say Carnegie Hall?

CCC: Magic Rat is probably our favorite place to play in Fort Collins. We played their very first New Year’s Eve party when they opened and have played and, if my count is correct, this will be our 4th time playing NYE.  We also have played several Mardi Gras parties there, had our album release party there, and currently we have a monthly residency on the 2nd Friday of each month running through May.  When we got the call from Carnegie Hall, we weighed our options and Carnegie didn’t have a meatloaf that rivaled Magic Rat and Magic Rat always treats us so well that it was an easy decision to go with Them.

NFN: No, that makes perfect sense; I base a lot of my decisions in life on meatloaf, as well. It’s safe to assume that most people attending the show know what they’re in for, but for that rare individual who might not have any idea, what might you say to folks who don’t know what to expect?

CCC: If you have never experienced a Crescent City Connection show, prepare to have your face melted with bayou boogie-woogie piano, funky organ, slap-you-in-the-face horns and a backbeat pocket, second-line rhythm section bringing you the carnival music and experience of New Orleans.

NFN: Are there individual resolutions for the new year or just one collective resolution from the band?  What are CCC’s hopes and dreams for 2022?

Jason: I can’t speak for anyone’s individual resolutions but mine is always to try to be better.  For CCC, we would like to see things get back to some sense of normalcy with festivals and music opportunities pre-covid.  We also are looking to write and record some more of our original music and hopefully keep the same line up with the band.  Although I probably jinxed us by mentioning recording twice in this interview.

NFN: Seeing how this interview is taking place on an airplane, albeit a parked airplane, I still had more questions for you if you’re up for it.  So, you’re all in a plane and it suddenly crashes in the mountains; everyone survives, but no one knows where you are, and they assume you’re dead.  In that scenario, who in the band is the first to get eaten and why?

Jason: I’ve given this a lot of thought over the 6 years CCC has been together. Being that we are an economical band, we would most likely be traveling coach.  We would invite the other passengers to join in a campfire jam using Luke’s extra drumsticks for wood, and then invite them to join the band.  We would start with who appears to have the most marbling at the time.

Thanks to Jason and the entire Crescent City Connection band for making the time for this interview.  For more information, please visit crescentcityband.com or for more information about the upcoming show and how to buy tickets, please visit facebook.com/MagicRatLiveMusic.

Left to Right = Jake Opdahl-Guitar, Jason Russell-Bass, Ben Myers-trumpet, Brandon Vigil-Tenor Saxophone at Magic Rat. Photo by CCC.

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