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Fred Tackett Interview

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Rooster Rag is the fifteenth album of original material by American rock band Little Feat due to be released in the summer of 2012. It marks their first original album since 2003's Kickin' It at the Barn and the recording debut with the group of new drummer Gabe Ford who replaced the late Richie Hayward. Four of the songs were written by former Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter in collaboration with keyboard player Bill Payne now the only musician to have played with every line-up of the group. Surprisingly, Paul Barrere the group's main writer/singer has only been credited with writing on one track, but his usual co-author Fred Tackett contributes four songs, all of which have appeared on his solo albums but not all of which he sings lead on. 



Friday, August 3rd, 2012
Variety Playhouse
Atlanta, GA
The Villains to open

Saturday, August 4th, 2012
Cats Cradle
Carrboro, NC
The Villains to open

Sunday, August 5th, 2012
The Morehead Center
Morehead City, NC
The Villains to open

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
Bottle and Cork
Dewey Beach, DE
Amy Lennard to open

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
Rams Head Live
Baltimore, MD
Amy Lennard to open, VetSTOCK Benefit show.

Friday, August 10th, 2012
Flying Monkey Performance Center
Plymouth, NH
Amy Lennard to open

Saturday, August 11th, 2012
Indian Ranch
Webster, MA

Sunday, August 12th, 2012
Blue Ocean Music Hall
Salisbury, MA
Amy Lennard to open

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
Theatre at Westbury
Westbury, NY

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Ridgefield Playhouse
Ridgefield, CT
Amy Lennard to open

Friday, August 17th, 2012
Whitaker Ctenter
Harrisburg, PA
Amy Lennard to open

Saturday, August 18th, 2012
Philadelphia Folk Festival
Schwenksville, PA
Just Added!

Monday, August 20th, 2012
The Music Pier
Ocean City, NJ

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club NYC, NY
Papa Grows Funk and Honey Island Swamp Band

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012
Zoo Amphitheater
Minneapolis, MN
Just Added!, Tom Fuller Band to open

Monday, September 3rd, 2012
Vetter Stone Amphitheater
Mankato, MN

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 Englert Theatre
Iowa City, IA
Just Added!, Tom Fuller Band to open

Thursday, September 6th, 2012 Park West Chicago, IL
Just Added!, Tom Fuller Band to open

Saturday, September 8th, 2012 PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Cincinnati, OH
Just Added!

Monday, September 10th, 2012 The Rev Room
Little Rock, AR
Just Added!, The Villains to open

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 Cains Ballroom
Tulsa, OK Just Added!, The Villains to open

Thursday, September 13th, 2012 Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO Just Added!, The Villains to open

Friday, September 14th, 2012
Blues & Brews Festival
Telluride, CO Just Added!, Show Time: 5:30pm

Saturday, September 15th, 2012 Talking Stick Resort
Scottsdale, AZ Just Added!, The Villains to open

Sunday, September 16th, 2012
El Rey Theatre Los Angeles, CA Just Added!, The Villains  to open

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 Laxson Auditorium
Chico, CA Paul and Fred Acoustic Duo Show

Friday, September 28th, 2012
Lobero Theatre Santa Barbara, CA Paul and Fred Acoustic Duo Show, Benefit Concert for The Rhythmic Arts Project

Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Furys Publick House
Dover, NH "Tracing Footsteps" show with Bill Payne and Dennis McNally

Saturday, October 13th, 2012
Middleburg Community Center
Middleburg, VA
Paul and Fred Acoustic Duo Show

Friday, October 19th, 2012
Magnolia Fest Live Oak, FL
Paul and Fred Acoustic Duo Show

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013
Landmark On Main Street
Port Washington, NY
SATURDAY, Paul and Fred Acoustic Duo Show, Just Added!

March 6-9, 2013
Breezes Grand Resort & Spa
Negril, Jamaica
11th Annual Feat Fan Excursion,
w/ Hot Tuna, Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams




Here at Jams Plus Media, our primary focus has always been on Jambands plus their musical influences.  The summer of 2012 brought a band that fits the bill on both accounts to our own backyard, and we jumped at the chance to see the legendary Little Feat.  Since 1969 Little Feat has been jamming with a unique style encompassing an eclectic array of musical genres.  Along the way, they have garnered a large and loyal fan base, and have influenced many musicians around the world.  With the release of their first new album in nine years, Rooster Rag, the band finds fresh inspiration, and embarks on a tour stretching clear across the United States through mid-October.  Now we present a glimpse of Little Feat as they graciously made three stops down here on the coast.

Little Feat: Down On The Coast, Part I – Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA – 07/28/2012

If you are Little Feat and doing a three show run on the coast, where should you start? I would have to say the classic location of Tipitina's in New Orleans is an excellent choice.  Now understand something about the music scene in New Orleans:  there are many great music venues in the Crescent City, but the local fans and local musicians love their Tips!  And on a sweet Saturday night near the river is where we first hit the ground running with Little Feat.  This was a night with a packed house at the famous Tipitina's, all waiting for NOLA’s favorite west coast band who sounds like they were raised on Bourbon Street.  And what better way to start a NOLA show than with "Voodoo Jam" right into "All That You Dream".  

We talked with Billy Iuso, New Orleans musician and friend of the Feat, who features a few of the members playing on his latest album.  Billy was our man on the spot for this show, and it’s always insightful to hear about a great band from the perspective of a great band man.  Billy said in our conversation, "Little Feat is the true hard working band. These guys have always stayed busy and play show after show with true passion and commitment".  And folks, Billy would know, not only about how hard they work but also how passionate they are when they work.  Billy says, "You will never meet a nicer bunch of guys, and [they’re] true to their cause".  These nice guys from the west coast brought their “A” game to this one.  Not only did they play great Feat classics like the traveling song "Let it Roll", they also brought out new tunes from their just-released album Rooster Rag.  One new treat features solid dueling vocals with Sam Clayton and Paul Barrere in Fred Tackett's "One Breath at a Time".  Paul also collaborated with long-time friend and musician Stephen Bruton, who passed away on May 9th 2009, for the song "Just the Fever".  

The enthusiastic fans were also blessed with the new track "The Blues Keep Coming" written by Bill Payne and newest member and drummer Gabriel Ford.  Billy Iuso said in our short conversation, "I was really excited about the crowd tonight, not so much for us the fans, but for the band.  It is great to see them getting the support they deserve, and the new album is outstanding."  Now as I said, the band did play some of the amazing songs from the new album, but also broke out some true gems.  One of the favorites was the classic "Fat Man in the Bathtub" which is from the 1973 album Dixie Chicken.  In my opinion, the best quote from New Orleans entertainer Billy Iuso was at the end of our great conversation when Billy said, "The reason I came to New Orleans to be a musician was because of Little Feat.  And you can ask many musicians around town, and I know they would say the same.  They did so much for me to define who I was as an artist."  Wow Billy, those are very strong words about a very strong band.  And a packed crowd in the famous Tipitina's must also agree with you.  But remember, this is the first show of a three show run with Little Feat on the Coast.  So we will see you in Mobile Alabama, and thank you Billy for covering this amazing start of this triple hitter…but we all know it was not like work, it was just work you like.    

Little Feat: Down On The Coast, Part II – Soul Kitchen Music Hall, Mobile, AL – 07/30/2012

If you are traveling from New Orleans to Jacksonville, what is the best thing to do while in route?  Stop at the Port City of Mobile Alabama, of course.  And that is exactly what Little Feat did, and so will we as we continue with show two of our "Little Feat: Down On the Coast" extravaganza.  The Roy Jay Band from Florida kicked off the evening right, leaving a positive and lasting impression on the crowd with their guitar-laden jams often reminiscent of the Grateful Dead (they even covered “Franklin’s Tower”), and a jubilant saxophone providing extra flavor.  Typical of summertime on the coast, the night was smoking hot; but on this night at the Soul Kitchen, the Feat were leading the heat wave.  Opening with the 1979 song/album where we all went "Down on the Farm", you knew this band was going to bring it like they did for almost the last 40 years.  Throughout the entire show the band was so tight, and their harmonies are still absolutely amazing.  Our second song was from the new album Rooster Rag and a Mississippi John Hurt tune "Candy Man Blues", because blues in the south is always going to get the joint a jumping.  A fabulously smooth “Red Streamliner” followed, and then Paul Barrere asked us if we were ready for some Sam.  Hello!?  Big daddy Sam Clayton means we are going to a place they call the "Spanish Moon" and the crowd loved it.  After jamming a bit, the key change was cause for celebration as they faded into the classic "Skin It Back" a Paul Barrere tune from the 1974 release Feats Don't Fail Me Now.  Bill Payne was perfect with the haunting keys that have always given this song its own identity. 

A new CD means new tunes, and I was really excited to hear some of them live.  Now some of these fans got their first taste of a Robert Hunter tune, long time lyrical genius for Jerry Garcia throughout his career.  Robert has teamed up with original Feat member Bill Payne to give us "Rag Top Down".  If you look at the lyrics and the challenging chord changes, you know that these guys will do some great sounds together.  Since I had talked with Fred Tackett earlier in the week about the songs he had contributed to the fabulous new album, I was very excited when he changed gears to his Mandolin and started strumming the sweet sounds of "Church Falling Down".  This song is deep and melodic in a magical way.  A fun "Willin'>Don't Bogart that Joint" had the crowd singing along; then they moved into another Payne and Hunter tune with the tease to the ears in "Salome" that will trick you into thinking it is Sally Mae, and she is a girl from Jasper.  Good old Hunter and his great story telling abilities are fun with the Feat!  Next they did the title tune from the album "Rooster Rag" with great tempo changes and nice southern picking, and lyrics that leave you with a line you remember and the rest you forget, something about stroking that rooster.  To end the Alabama show, it was appropriate to get the fan favorite in the 1973 classic "Dixie Chicken".  Now, in my 20 plus years of seeing Little Feat I saw this version evolve right in front of me.  Fred and Paul got down and dirty with a duel of electric power, the band keeping the southern sound dancing right underneath.  It may be the sickest “Chicken” I have ever seen.  Not sure if the Feat were on fire, or does Mobile just do that to people?  We will see what awaits us in the beautiful Florida Theatre.   

Little Feat: Down On the Coast, Part III – Florida Theatre, Jacksonville, FL – 07/31/2012


The weather was surprisingly consistent all afternoon as I prepared to catch the legendary band Little Feat in Jacksonville, Florida.  If the weather was not enticing enough, the venue was the elegant and monumental Florida Theatre, an indoor theatre built with phenomenal acoustics providing for a more intimate viewing.  Since I had lived the previous two shows vicariously through other associates at Jams Plus Media, I was very enthusiastic to hear new Little Feat material in such a renowned theatre.


I arrived early to enjoy downtown with my mother who accompanied me for her birthday. She was excited to see Little Feat and curious about the opener, The Roy Jay Band out of Orlando, Florida.  Earlier that day, I had received a text from a good friend in Mobile urging me not to miss this opening act.  He convincingly told me, “They cover the Grateful Dead, and their original stuff is still...very Dead-ish”.  Before the doors opened, I sat with a long-time fan since 1982 named Larry.  We were on a bench across from the tour bus, and he had laminates dangling from his neck in bulk.  He pumped me up for Little Feat and when I asked him about The Roy Jay Band, he replied “Do you like the [Grateful] Dead?”, and coincidently gave the same band description, stating “They are very Dead-ish”.  The venue was rather empty as The Roy Jay Band opened, and it felt almost as if it were a self-fulfilling prophecy when they jammed a couple songs right into “Cassidy” by the Dead.  After the well-executed cover they played a few entertaining originals, and left the stage with a very pleased crowd.


With the release of Rooster Rag and the previous conversations detailing the earlier shows, I was very eager to hear some Little Feat.  I was familiar with the new album and was delighted to hear such wonderful live versions of “One Breath at a Time”, “Church Falling Down”, and “Rag Top Down”. Written by guitarist Fred Tackett, “One Breath at a Time” was very pleasant and was my favorite of the night.  The song “Day or Night”, from their 1975 album The Last Record Album, was a turn of events.  Fred had been toying with his guitar, playing it with what appeared to be a Maestro/Conductor’s baton, reminding me of the movie August Rush. In the new songs, you could hear Robert Hunter’s lyrics come alive in keyboardist Bill Payne’s voice, resonating pleasantly off of the boisterous acoustics, tickling your inner ear with a hint of nostalgia.  The lyrics of the songs subconsciously place you on the west coast, with a feeling of riding in a classic convertible listening to Little Feat’s portrayal of the legendary Robert Hunter stories. They ended the set with heavy jam sessions and playing some older favorites like “Fat Man in the Bathtub”, teasing Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” and Dr. John’s “I Walk on Guilded Splinters”. The “Dixie Chicken” encore was better described as a 20 minute, crunchy jam of “Dixie Chicken> drums&bass>drums>drums&keys>Dixie Chicken”.  During the drums&keys portion, Payne danced around playing some off the wall sequences.  The highlight of the evening was the very tasty “Willin” sammich. The setlist only had “Willin” on it, but after some dueling back and forth between the members and their instruments, they wound up playing “Willin>Dont Bogart that Joint>The Weight>Willin”. The meat of that sammich, come to find out, was entirely improvisational.  After the show, I got the luxury to sit and speak with a few members of the band, including Fred Tackett and I asked him if it [“The Weight”] was intentional or was it added on the spot, and with a big smile he replied, “We were all jamming it, we were feeling it, so...we had to share it!”  So, if you were wondering whether or not they still had it, I can assure you they can still bring the funky, country-flavored sound they are recognized for, and can do it on the fly. 

As we wrap up our run with Little Feat "Down On The Coast", I thought about my first time hearing "Dixie Chicken" as a young child:  the swing of the ivory keys, the beat of the percussion, the strum of the guitar and the thump of the bass.  It was really my first experience with a band that would jam.  It was the mid 1970's; I had only listened to radio in Nashville Tennessee, and they were not playing 9 minute songs.  These guys changed my view of music and the sounds that can be created with all the influences I heard.  It was a true mixing pot of groove.  And as time traveled, I started seeing them live, buying their albums and opening my mind.  Little Feat was a major part of that journey and almost became the soundtrack for a kid entering his teens.  So yes, I was excited to turn the focus of Jams Plus Media to a three show run by this band, not so much because I am such a fan, but because I feel everyone else should have the chance to be.  I can write about Little Feat to those who know the Feat; but we want to introduce those who never knew that they have Feat, too.  So from beginning to end, no matter if it is Lowell, Roy, Bill and Richie; or Fred, Kenny, Paul and Sam, and a new album; through all the different faces and changes over the years this band has become what they are and never forgotten who they were.  And forty years from now we will still be walking with Little Feat.


Written by:  Dale Taylor, Rosemary A.W. Roberts, Joey A. Pye, and Billy Iuso

Edited by:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by: Clayton Roberts, Joey A. Pye, Jeffrey Dupuis, and Beverly Pye


 Fat Man in the Bathtub by RAD GUMBO: A New Orleans All Star Tribute to Little Feat bringing together members of Little Feat (Paul Barrere, Fred Tackett and Kenny Gradney), Bily Iuso and others






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