At the Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage Friday, local singer-songwriter Paul Sanchez played with not one, but two bands during his one-hour set.
The first was Minimum Rage, the all-woman band that took turns showcasing a variety of quirky roles — guitarist Sonia Tetlow sang a song about mobile food vendor Mr. Okra while drummer Linda Bolley fired off a guitar solo during a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” while her feet kept beat banging the bass drum and high-hat cymbal. Bass player Mary Lasseigne stepped into the title role of “Maggie Don’t Two-Step,” a Cowboy Mouth song that got the crowd to do what they’re supposed to do at a stage titled Fais Do-Do: dance.
Midway through the band stepped aside for The Write Brothers, a new ensemble featuring Sanchez that just released a debut album this year. The group, featuring songwriters Spencer Bohren, Jim McCormick and Alex McMurray, is reminiscent of “Workingman’s Dead”-era Grateful Dead. Their set was all about democracy: All four leads trade vocals equally over four songs that ended with “We’ll Be Together Again,” a Celtic-inflected song that would also be appropriate at a liquor-induced funeral. As a vocalist and guitarist, McMurray is the group’s secret weapon; when he crouched to fire off a solo on his steel guitar, he literally lost his hat.