Doctor John has always been known for staying true to his musical roots. The 69-year-old singer and pianist gives us a taste of "old" New Orleans on his new album, Tribal.
While Doctor John's so-called "gris-gris" music may be a thing of the past, his famed mix of New Orleans funk, blues and soul that earned him the nickname "The Night Tripper," is alive and well on a new track called "Jinky Jinx."
Even the artwork on the cover of Tribal is reminiscent of Doctor John's debut album, which portrays him as a voodoo practitioner, complete with elaborate makeup and a colorful headdress. In part, the album is a tribute to the city's Mardi Gras Indians and the traditions passed on to them through Native American tribal ceremonies. It's also a commentary on the trials and tribulations of the people of New Orleans, a theme he visited on his previous album, "City That Care Forgot."
Tribal has its share of somber themes. With tunes like "Manoovas," "Big Gap" and "Only In America," Doctor John and his band The Lower 911 address the lingering frustration among survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
Of course, Doctor John always leaves his audience on a high note. There's spirited "swamp" rock (music inspired by the bayou country of the southern U.S.) on "When I'm Right (I'm Wrong)," an offer of hope on "A Place In The Sun," and his mystical depiction of the all-knowing medicine man on "Feel Good Music."