In GROOVE INTERRUPTED, Keith Spera captures both the elation and the heartbreak of post-Katrina New Orleans through the stories of some of the city's best musicians. Spera knows New Orleans and its music inside-out, and he lived through the disaster and saw it all for himself. Anybody who loves the Crescent City and its music will experience shocks of recognition, humor, sadness, and intense beauty throughout. This is a terrific book.
—Tom Piazza, author of City Of Refuge and Why New Orleans Matters
Please join us for a special evening with Keith Spera, music writer at The Times-Picayune, as we celebrate the launch of his new book, GROOVE INTERRUPTED: Loss, Renewal and the Music of New Orleans, with a reading, signing, and more. Musician, composer, and record producer Allen Toussaint -- to whom a whole chapter of the book is devoted -- will also join Keith in signing books.
The highs and lows of New Orleans' recent history are reflected in the city’s storied music community, a vibrant, idiosyncratic medley of rhythm & blues, jazz, rock and rap.
In GROOVE INTERRUPTED, musicians confront challenges and adversity that threaten their ability to make music. These intimately reported, contemporary narratives, resonate with joy, sadness, defiance, humor, hope, heartache and resolve.
Aaron Neville returns to New Orleans for the first time after Katrina to bury his wife. Fats Domino improbably rambles around Manhattan to promote a post-Katrina tribute CD. Alex Chilton lives anonymously in a battered cottage in the Treme neighborhood.
Platinum-selling rapper Mystikal rekindles his career after six years in prison. Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard struggles to tell the tale of Katrina with music. Hard rocker Phil Anselmo battles multiple demons to find a measure of peace. The Rebirth Brass Band’s Phil Frazier restores himself even as his band supplies the soundtrack for an entire city’s renewal.
Allen Toussaint, Pete Fountain, Gatemouth Brown, the rapper Juvenile, trumpeter Jeremy Davenport and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival producer Quint Davis are also featured in GROOVE INTERRUPTED. Each story stands on its own; together, they convey a sense of what New Orleans music was and is, in spite of Katrina’s interruption. A common theme emerges: the spirit of the Crescent City, as personified by its musicians, is unbreakable.
Listen to the podcast of Susan Larson's interview with Keith Spera as broadcast on WWNO's "The Reading Life." (Click here.)
Read the review by Times-Picayune contributing writer Suzanne Stouse: "IN THE KEY OF LIFE: 'Groove Interrupted' shows why Katrina couldn't silence New Orleans music."
KEITH SPERA was born and raised in New Orleans, where he resides with his wife and two young children. In addition to his work at The Times-Picayune, he has contributed to Rolling Stone, Vibe, Blender, and LA Weekly.
The recent history of New Orleans is fraught with tragedy and triumph. Both are reflected in the city's vibrant, idiosyncratic music community. In Keith Spera's intimately reported "Groove Interrupted," Aaron Neville returns to New Orleans for the first time after Hurricane Katrina to bury his wife. Fats Domino improbably rambles around Manhattan to promote a post-Katrina tribute CD.