Imagine for a moment that instead of losing a football field’s worth of Louisiana coast every hour to erosion, the earth found a way to start producing new land to replenish a shoreline that’s receded 2,000 square miles in the past 80 years. Imagine that where oil and gas pipelines now crisscross the boundaries of our southernmost beaches, an underwater volcano were to sprout from a hotspot and begin to erupt, creating ground in place of water in the same way volcanoes produced the Hawaiian islands 40 million years ago.
That’s the fantasy that informs the Lost Bayou Ramblers‘ new, double-sided 12″ single, “Aloha Golden Meadow,” their first studio recording since 2012’s “Mammoth Waltz.” Due out Thursday, Dec. 15, the album’s release comes in conjunction with the band’s first music video and their first beer, a fruity, high-alcohol farmhouse-style ale from Bayou Teche Brewing that shares the album’s name.
The Ramblers celebrate their triplicate of new releases this weekend with a show at One Eyed Jack’s, where they’ll stage the New Orleans debut of the new music and video, along with a performance of Spider Stacy’s Poguetry and plenty of Aloha Golden Meadow cold ones.
“It’s kind of like a dream of this funky reality,” the band’s co-founder, fiddler and singer Louis Michot, says of the album’s title track. “The message is really just: ‘Slow down and enjoy your life, and do the best you can, and hope for good things,’ you know?”
He pauses, then lets out a chuckle. “Like, let’s just hope a volcano erupts off the Gulf of Mexico and creates some new land.”
Eh, crazier things have happened in 2016.
Inspired by a mix of Hawaiian music elements, concern for the future of our coast, and perhaps a global need for positive thinking, the title track and accompanying B-side, “Cote Claire,” were both written by accordionist and Ramblers co-founder, Andre Michot. While both songs retain the Cajun and French influences that have characterized most of the band’s output over the past 20 years, the tunes also feature Andre and guitarist Johnny Campos on steel guitar, a Hawaiian music staple that began finding its way into Cajun music in the 1930s and ‘40s.
“It’s just a real, simple, laid-back, positive, and joyful message,” Louis Michot says, adding that the music also serves to remind listeners of the “beautiful coast and beautiful beaches” that Louisiana will continue to have “if we take care of them.”
The songs were both taken from recording sessions for a forthcoming LP, due out next year. The group noticed they stood out as being different from the rest, though, and wanted to release them in a way that would let their differences shine.
Michot ultimately leaned on his long-running relationship with Bayou Teche to develop a collaborative concept. After the band sampled a few different beers that were already in the works, they liked the strong character and light taste provided by the champagne yeast that went into a blueberry- and lime-juice-spiked ale. Once the Ramblers played the Hawaiian-influenced tracks for the guys over at Bayou Teche, more changes were made, including the addition of pineapple … et voila, la biere des Lost Bayou Ramblers est arrivee.
Finally, two of the brothers from the brewery, Coyo and Karlos Knott, created the artwork for the album cover, beer label, and video.
Shot in Holly Beach not far from the border of Texas, the video’s premise is that Louisiana has receded so far that Golden Meadow – a town that “in real life” sits to the north of Grand Isle — has become a beach.
According to a press release:
The video recounts the story of the fictitious King of Golden Meadow, a local man who believes that he is descended from Hawaiian royalty. The King clings to the hope of one day being reunited with his island kin even as his kingdom struggles with rising sea-levels along the post-BP Louisiana coast. His dreams come true when a mysterious alien visitor bestows a gift, a moment that would change the king’s life, and his steel guitar playing, forever.
What gift, you ask? Check out the video to find out.