New Orleans has long been the subject of iconic songs. From the celebratory “When The Saints Go Marching In” to the cautionary “House Of The Rising Sun,” the Big Easy occupies a prominent place in the Great American Songbook and beyond. Now, Jeff Tuohy writes the latest chapter in that history with “The Devil’s In New Orleans” — a song straddling genres, moods and messages to deliver a swampy, bluesy feast for the ears that would make Marie Laveau proud.
“Writing this song was a very fulfilling experience,” Tuohy comments. “I was thinking about the history of religious turmoil, and how there are certain places where, if you immerse yourself, it almost seems like God and the Devil are in a constant face-off. New Orleans has a way of bringing out that internal struggle in all of us.”
Tuohy distills disparate essences from Tom Waits to Dr. John to Nick Cave (and maybe a little Louis Prima in hell) to spin a warped yet immediately memorable tale.
Premiering today is the video for “The Devil’s In New Orleans.” Visually, we’re treated to a black and white spook show that recalls Max Fleisher’s classic take on “Minnie The Moocher,” The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, and elements of The Muppets Take Manhattan — wrapping them in a Southern Gothic framework.
Of the song and video, Tuohy elaborates:
A record executive told me this song doesn’t sound ‘radio-friendly.’ I don’t give a shit. I don’t want to make songs that are safe or sound the same. It’s not every day you can let horn players loose with voodoo vibes and still keep it tight and rocking.
The pandemic made the prospect of filming this video a logistical nightmare. Animation afforded an opportunity to manifest the imagery the song conjured in my head. The entire collaboration was via email between a Portuguese-speaking animator, Marcus Guio of São Paulo’s 77 Marcus, and me, an English-speaking musician. I detailed a storyline and frames down to the second and he executed the vision.