Dan Erlewine and Spencer fix a Supro lap steel

Dan Erlewine and Spencer fix a Supro lap steel

Spencer brought his Supro lap steel to Dan Erlewine to have some scratchy control posts fixed.

Spencer was here last week with an ailing lap steel: a Supro Jet Airlinermodel from 1960. Here’s what he said:

“These control pots are scratchy and hard to turn, and the tone is lackluster. Can you can fix them without changing the vintage parts?”

Read the whole story here


Spencer and Dan also fixed another guitar together. You can watch the video below

BB King tribute for June 2015 Blues Music Magazine

BB King tribute for June 2015 Blues Music Magazine

Spencer contributed a BB King tribute to Blues Music Magazine's special edition.

The first time I saw B.B. King perform was at the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival. He was explosive, exciting, and the very picture of dignity. A few months later, he opened a show for the Rolling Stones in Fort Collins, Colorado, and while the situation was wildly different, he was once again exciting and dignified. My friends and I had worn the grooves off our copies of B.B. King, Live At The Regal, and his live shows delivered every ounce of the promise implied on that amazing record.

Fast forward 15 years or so to the legendary La Cigale Theatre in Paris, France. B.B. King was the headliner, and I was the support act along with a trio. We had been in France for a month, and my bass player was quite unhappy when our tour manager informed us we would be playing an extra show and he had changed all our tickets accordingly. When we arrived at the venue with my grumpy bass player, I had an interview with a journalist, so my band went backstage to the dressing rooms. By the time I was finished with the interview, B.B.’s dressing room door was closed, but my bass player was beaming and going on and on about what a wonderful man B.B. King was, and how he had talked with him and my drummer as if they were all old buddies and on and on. He was transformed, and he was happy.

After our opening set, B.B. went on stage with his killer band and told the audience how much he’d enjoyed our music, and we got another round of enthusiastic applause. Then B.B. leaned into the microphone and said something like, “Do you want to know a secret?”

Of course, the audience howled, “Oui, oui,” in response. B.B. once again leaned into the microphone and stage whispered that it was my bass player’s birthday. Again, the audience
went crazy while B.B. led them in a weird French version of Happy Birthday.  

B.B. King certainly didn’t have to do that, but it made for one of the most unforgettable evenings in that bass player’s life. It also made a lifelong fan out of me.

– Spencer Bohren

The Write Brothers in No Depression

The Write Brothers in No Depression

by Robert H. Cataliotti for No Depression.
May 24, 2015

Names like Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Allen Toussaint, Earl King, and Dr. John a.k.a. Mac Rebennack come to mind when talking about hit songs emanating from New Orleans. Over the past few years, however, the biggest hits from a Big Easy songwriter have come from the pen of Jim McCormick. A New Orleans native, McCormick divides his time between his hometown and Nashville, where, working with songwriting teams, he has co-written such chart toppers as Jason Aldean’s “Take A Little Ride” and Brantley Gilbert’s “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do,” as well as songs for the likes of Tim McGraw, Trisha Yearwood, Randy Travers, and Trace Adkins. While he’s carved out a place for his talents in the Music City, he remains deeply connected to the Crescent City and the music scene where he developed his skills. McCormick explains: “It has long been a real goal of mine to highlight the rich songwriting history and present down in the Crescent City. It’s something that’s pretty overlooked given the extraordinary caliber of musicians and bands in New Orleans with the jazz and the funk, so many great things, but the quiet practice of songwriting kind of gets overshadowed. A trumpet is louder than the pen. But there’s great history here when you start scratching at it.” Asked by Threadhead Records president Chris Joseph to come home to do a solo recording, McCormick suggested a collaborative project involving three of his favorite songwriters and stalwart performers on the New Orleans scene — Spencer Bohren, Paul Sanchez, and Alex McMurray. Clearly signaling that songwriting is at the heart of the project they call themselves The Write Brothers and, earlier this year, took off with an eleven song CD, First Flight.
— No Depression

Spencer Bohren and the Whippersnappers reviewed by Gambit

Spencer Bohren and the Whippersnappers reviewed by Gambit

Spencer Bohren arrived in New Orleans in the 1970s, drawn by the city’s rich mix of indigenous musical forms of jazz, blues and gospel. The ace lap-steel guitarist plays an array of stringed instruments and is known for narrative songwriting with bayou-outlaw appeal. Bohren’s son Andre followed his Loyola University education with what is now a decade-plus run as percussionist for local boogie beasts Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes. In recent years, Andre and Spencer built this compelling collaboration in partnership with fellow Dirty Note Dave Pomerleau and guitarist Alex McMurray — whose fellow stellar songwriters in The Write Brothers, Jim McCormick and Paul Sanchez, will join the Bohrens in the Blues Tent for a few songs.
11:25 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Blues Tent
— Gambit

Spencer in the Rolling Stone

Spencer in the Rolling Stone

David Fricke of Rolling Stone Magazine gave Spencer a nice little write-up in his 2015 Jazz Fest coverage.

Spencer Bohren, April 27th, Louisiana Music Factory

Born in Wyoming, singer-songwriter Spencer Bohren is a longtime, local resident and treasure, fusing folk, blues and original observations on Southern life and spirituality with a warming tenor and keen eye. His in-store set at the Louisiana Music Factory – one of my favorite records stores and, with its messianic focus and deep catalog, a continuing American miracle – was mostly drawn from Bohren’s fine, new album, Seven Birds (spencerbohren.com). He also plugged in a lap-steel guitar to perform a song from his 2013 release, Tempered Steel, Bob Dylan’s “Ring Them Bells.” Bohren pointed out, in his introduction, that Dylan recorded his version, on 1989’s Oh Mercy, only three blocks away at producer Daniel Lanois’ French Quarter studio. But where Dylan’s singing was low and ravaged, Bohren’s performance was spare and gorgeous, with a near-whispered vocal framed by his clean sweeps and dives on lap steel and, at the end, harmonic chimes that sounded like the church bells, ringing over the neighborhood, that originally inspired Dylan. It was a simple, perfect summing of the song, its birth and my weekend – at once local, intimate and pregnant with resonance.
— David Fricke - Rolling Stones

The Write Brothers in OffBeat Magazine

The Write Brothers in OffBeat Magazine

Spencer and the Write Brothers are featured in the March 2015 issue of OffBeat magazine.

From the article…

Spencer Bohren tours constantly, but found a window during which he could participate and signed on. “It was going to be a Threadhead project. The four of us would get together and write, then each of us would perform a song that one of the others had written,” Bohren explained. “I immediately thought of one of my favorite records, that first Traveling Wilburys record. Even though the songs didn’t necessarily make sense, they just were obviously having so much fun. I don’t really know those three guys that well—they were really young when I was in New Orleans all the time and now I’m on the road a lot. I was pleased to have a chance to get to know them a little bit. Alex in particular. I really respect his writing.”
— JOHN SWENSON

Spencer Bohren couldda been a shrimper

Spencer Bohren couldda been a shrimper

From the apalachtimes.com website…

By Jennifer Sheffield, photo by David Adlerstein
Published: Wednesday, January 14

He opened with Bob Dylan’s, "Ring Them Bells," and sent the crowd home with a Louisiana Creole song, that he crafted from the daily calls of a watermelon peddler on the streets of New Orleans, where singer-songwriter Spencer Bohren calls home.

But it wasn’t just his music that filled the Dixie Theatre on Saturday night.

The freshness of his storytelling also took the audience back 40 years, to the two months Bohren spent at the Gibson Inn sweeping floors and singing songs to old timey shrimpers in the bar.

That was 1975. He and his wife were living as hippies out West and travelling along the coastlines of America when they found Apalachicola. Back then, he recalled the Inn was painted, "something like red," and a woman named Martha was tending to it.

The town, he recalls, was in a state of, "beautiful decay," but the Gibson Inn? "That place…it was a revelation to me," Bohren said, adding, "I thought that I was so worldly…but how worldly can you be at 26?" He also acquired one of his favorite instruments in Apalachicola – a stripped-down 1928 National Triolian brushed steel guitar.

The story goes that a man named Arthur was so moved by Bohren’s music one night after a few Millers and whiskies that he drove him to get the guitar at the historic house where his wife lived. Except, Arthur wasn’t legally supposed to be at the house, and during a hurried getaway, the guitar was flung through the air and down a flight of stairs where Bohren was standing, and caught it. The tale is full of hilarious outtakes, and the lively audience at the Dixie laughed along with him, as he recalled the details.

Bohren’s road instruments, used on his award-winning "Down the Dirt Road" blues concert, also include his trusty 1955 Gibson J-45 guitar, a 1950 Tonemaster lap steel guitar and a banjo. The show at the Dixie was a solo gig, but Bohren said, "I get my band jones other ways." He is currently playing and singing with The Write Brothers.

Producing Director Dixie Partington said Bohren "found her" and asked to play this homecoming concert in Apalachicola. It was certainly a night that captured many miles of a 48-year professional music career and showcased a blend of Virginia blues and ragtime, classic country, folk, roots and gospel, along with familiar covers like Bobbie Gentry’s "Ode to Billie Joe," Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah," plus a little hit of Hank Williams.

Bohren ended, slowly strumming the lap steel, with a thought, that he could have ended up being a shrimper had he stayed long in Apalachicola. The audience was pleased, though, that night that he had not, and decided to bring his music here instead.

Bohren promised, "If you come back, then I will too." Time may pass, but he can’t make the good stuff up.

The Write Brothers on NOLA.com

The Write Brothers on NOLA.com

NOLA.com sat down with Spencer and the rest of the Write Brothers. Read the whole article here.

<blockquote>And so, before lunch, the four sat down in the kitchen of the Living Room, a former church-turned-recording studio near the Crescent City Connection on the West Bank, and wrote "We'll Be Together Again." After lunch, they recorded it.</blockquote>

Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers

Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers

Can you keep a secret? Spencer Bohren has taken to performing under an alias. On certain occasions he is Spike Danger in New Orleans' latest sensation, Rory Danger & the Danger Dangers.

The title of their brand new album THE AGE of EXPLORATION, is a perfect analogy for Spencer's involvement in this wilder-than-a-holiness-hayride of a band that is unlike anything you've heard before. Aurora Nealand, in her altered ego as rockabilly queen Rory Danger, leads the multi-faceted and immensely talented group on an unpredictable live musical adventure every few months, and etiquette requires every member to use an alias in case his or her mother happens to be in the audience.

Describing the Danger Dangers is a futile quest, but a quick trip to rorydanger.com will give you an idea of just how far Spencer's explorations have taken him. You can also purchase the album while you're there if you so desire.

 This is Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers

This is Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers

How do you Red Bean, Spencer Bohren?

How do you Red Bean, Spencer Bohren?

Red Beans and Eric interviewed Spencer about his red beans and rice preferences. 

1. Where’s your favorite place to order red beans and rice?

My wife, Marilyn, and I tend to go to Mandina’s for RB&R. And while I know it’s useless to cry aver spilled milk, I still miss Buster Holmes place in the French Quarter.

2. Do you put any unique ingredients in your pot of red beans? Do you prefer dried or canned beans?

I’m embarrassed to tell you that I’m not much of a cook. Too much time spent with a steering wheel or guitar in my hands, I guess. On the other hand, Marilyn is a world-class cook who does a vegetarian version of RB&R that would fool Louis Armstrong! Don’t know her secret, though.
 

Spencer Bohren featured in the New Orleans Times Picayune

Spencer Bohren featured in the New Orleans Times Picayune

Keith Spera wrote a nice article about Spencer bringing his lapsteel music to the 2013 New Orleans Jazz Festival.

It’s unusual; it’s not mathematical in any way,” Bohren said. “My method of playing them is completely self-conjured. I don’t play according to the rules. To me, it’s more like a Ouija board. It tells me what to do.

Read the rest on the Times-Picayune site.

You can view the video below.

Spencer featured in the OffBeat podcast

Spencer featured in the OffBeat podcast

Spencer has been featured on OffBeat magazine's podcast.

Check it out here

Bohren’s most recent effort Tempered Steel marks the songman’s first disc devoted entirely to his beloved lap steel. In this week’s episode of OffBeat’s Look-Ka Py Py Podcast, Bohren tells us the story of what first drew him to the instrument that soon became a fan favorite. He also takes us behind the creative and recording processes of this intriguing outing which features contemporary covers of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, original cuts, traditional blues reimaginings, an effusive suite and more.

Spencer Bohren Teaches

Spencer Bohren's performances are known to inspire audience members in a number of ways.  Some take a song in their heart, others a story.  Then there are the musicians who are curious about his style and technique.  For those people, we have a special opportunity this summer at the Fur Peace Ranch in Pomeroy, Ohio.

The Fur Peace Ranch is not a fantasy camp, but a guitar players oasis within an award winning music community with instruction in various guitar styles, bass guitar, songwriting, mandolin, vocals and more.

Hosted by Rock &amp; Roll Hall of Famer Jorma Kaukonen and his wife Vanessa, the Ranch is nestled in the tranquil setting of the rolling foothills of southeast Ohio.  Jorma needs no introduction, having played with Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna.   His long tenure on stage and his love for teaching have earned him a lofty position among his contemporaries. In addition to teaching guitar classes, Jorma has been a beacon for attracting an impressive roster of master musicians and teachers, as well as students, who come to the Ranch throughout the year to immerse themselves in what has become a truly unique and magical environment.

The workshop class size is limited to about 10 per class, which allows for a personal, up-close teaching experience.  Direct instruction, gourmet food, campfire jams, live concerts and camaraderie come together to make your stay an experience you will remember for a lifetime! Whether you are a seasoned professional or novice, the Ranch has a spot for you on their 119 acres of natural beauty cradled in warmth of superb hospitality. So get online right here, get your guitar, and make your plans to join me  June 12 to 15.

And now for a testimonial sent to Spencer following a previous weekend at the Ranch ~

Your patience, generosity, teaching ability, and sensitivity to everyone's ability made this class a truly great learning experience.  I am leaving with many new techniques in my toolkit and a reinvigorated passion to practice what you taught me.  Can't thank you enough.   ~ Mark in Atlanta


I'm glad I waited a few weeks before emailing you and the Fur Peace Gang. I probably would have embarassed myself with a letter of overflowing emotion. To say the least, I had an amazing time at Fur Peace Ranch. They said the first day that "something happens" to people at the ranch and, as a first timer, I initially laughed it off. But what they said was absolutely true.  I learned so much about music in the 4 short days there. Not just about playing the guitar, which I learned more than I could put into words. I learned from observation of you and the others in the class about storytelling, voice, history, song structure, musical influences and the passion you need to have to play well.       ~ Rob of New York

Spencer Bohren featured in Offbeat Magazine

Spencer Bohren featured in Offbeat Magazine

From the article:

Spencer Bohren and his wife Marilyn are spending a rare day at home in their cozy brick cottage on Esplanade Ridge. It’s a steamy August afternoon and the world seems to move in languid rotation as a huge black and gold monarch butterfly floats and glides amid the drying laundry hung on a line next to the house. The barefoot Bohren offers us iced tea and Marilyn’s homemade cupcakes before he begins pulling neatly stacked guitars out of a closet and piling them on the kitchen table. Every guitar has a story. “This one I found floating in the house after the storm,” he says, cradling an 1897 Bruno parlor guitar. “I thought it was ruined, but a friend told me to just keep it in a dry place and it would be okay. Sure enough, it came back.

Check it out here

Crossroads Blues Society review of Blackwater Music

Crossroads Blues Society review of Blackwater Music

SPENCER BOHREN/ BLACKWATER MUSIC
Threadhead Records
Released April 2011

Spencer Bohren has always had a keen sense of how to turn the everyday events of life into meaningful songs that touch listeners on many levels. His latest recording gathers eleven original songs that explore a variety of issues and musical styles. His son, Andre Bohren, plays drums on six tracks and piano on another. Some of Bohren’s friends from the New Orleans musical community help out on five cuts.

Three tracks feature Bohren in the solo format. “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle” starts out with Bohren on lapsteel guitar, picking out a delicate melody. The lyrics tell a darker story about big money overpowering love as Bohren preaches that we can still prevail against the odds. His intricate picking on “The Old Homestead” frames the tale of a wandering soul yearning for the comforts of home and family. The title track is a highlight as Bohren draws otherworldly tones from his lapsteel guitar while describing the effects of the “holy ghost boogie.”

“Bad Luck Bone” finds Bohren’s taut guitar licks weaving around the snaky rhythm his son coaxes from his drums. Andre takes you to church with his gospel-influenced piano behind his father’s stirring vocal on “Your Love.” The duo hit the mark on “Old Louisa’s Movin’ On” with Andre laying down a shuffle beat that Spencer cuts through with a thick tone and ringing notes from his guitar. Matt Rhody’s fiddle creates a mournful tone for “Has Anyone Seen Mattie,” Bohren’s moving tale of the ravages and human suffering unleashed by the failure of the levees.

Reggie Scanlan, from the Radiators, joins the Bohrens on bass for “Borrowed Time,” another look at the darker side of life with Spencer using a National steel guitar. Bohren lightens the mood by switching to traditional New Orleans jazz on “Take Me to Rampart Street” with Aurora Nealand on soprano sax, Amasa Miller on piano and Tim Stambaugh on tuba helping to make this track worthy of its own second line.

Two members of the Iguanas, Rod Hodges on electric guitar and Rene Coman on bass, bring depth to the ballad “Your Home is in My Heart.” Their contributions and Bohren’s earnest vocal make this performance another highlight rather than just another maudlin love song, Nealand returns, this time on accordion, for the closing number. “Listen to the Wind” is a somber look at our nation’s treatment of the Native Americans. The combination of Bohren’s lapsteel and the accordion creates an eerie sound that will linger in your soul.

The attractive package includes a list of the vintage guitars Bohren used for this disc along with pictures of some of the instruments. Combined with striking material, Bohren’s expressive vocals and remarkable guitar playing, this high-quality release is highly recommended to anyone who appreciates blues music that successfully celebrates the music’s traditions while addressing the issues of our modern world.

Mark Thompson
Crossroads Blues Society / Rockford, Illinois

On The Road To Success

The unsettlingly strange yet strangely settled life of blues singer Spencer Bohren, his wife and his four children as they crisscross America

Bob Cataliotti for WAVELENGTH
November 1989

Long before Jack Kerouac ever reeled off a stream-of-consciousness travelogue, American musicians were crisscrossing the U.S.A. and creating the mystique of life on the road.  Whether they were in big bands moving between dancehalls or lone bluesmen headed from juke joints to house parties, the lifestyle was marked by an unencumbered simplicity and spontaneity that sharpened their survival skills and broadened the scope of their creativity.

In more recent times, singer/guitarist Spencer Bohren has enthusiastically embraced life on the road, even though his version might not be as simple as Chuck Berry's hero who "carried his guitar in a gunny sack."

Bohren's life on the road actually shatters a few stereotypes.  No lonesome wanderer looking for shelter from the storm, Bohren travels with his wife, Marilyn, their four children, and tows their lodging along, too.  When the family originally pulled up stakes in New Orleans and headed out on the road in 1983, they were cruising in a cherry red 1955 Bel Air Chevrolet with a vintage Airstream trailer.  But after logging over 250,000 miles, the Bohrens recently put together a new touring rig consisting of a 1985 one-ton Ford van and a 1985 thirty-four-foot Airstream.

Comprehending the scope of the Bohrens' travels might be difficult to many people who lead sedentary lives, but some of the sights the family has encountered as they make various gigs lend a certain perspective.  "Over the period of last year," said Bohren, "we saw Yellowstone Park, we looked at the Oregon Trail from many different places, we were in the Redwoods, we were at Niagara Falls, the Bonneville Salt Flats.  We drove through Reno at night, so we saw all those lights.  We were through the Rocky Mountains, St. Augustine and Key West, Florida, New York City, Los Angeles, the Mojave, Big Sur.  We saw the Space Needle.  We did the Jazz Fest in New Orleans, saw Mount Rushmore, the Grand Tetons, and both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and the Gulf Coast.

People they meet often have expectations of hearing highway horror stories, but the Bohrens try to maintain a fairly normal existence.  "We're just leading our life.  We are not really out here to be wild and crazy," explained Bohren.  "It was wild and crazy when I was out on the road by myself – all the typical barroom crap.  This way I go home at night and sleep in my own bed, with my own wife, and I get to eat three square meals a day, and I get to watch my kids grow up and help them learn."

Life on the road is not looked on as some great odyssey by the Bohrens.  They are more impressed by the small "daily miracle" that simply helps them get by.  "We live our lives so much in the moment because that's the nature of it," said Bohren.

"We're in one town, that's where we are.  When we leave there, it's gone because we're thinking about the next place.  You get into a new town and there's a whole new set of people to visit with."

Of course, there are memorable moments that stand out, even if they're not grand adventures.  One "daily miracle" Bohren recalls involved a shop of Cuban mechanics in Miami who dropped all their other work one afternoon to do a valve job on the Chevy so Bohren could make it to a gig that night.  He also remembers running out of gas somewhere in Kansas and receiving help from back-country folk who had him autograph their Army surplus gas can just in case he got famous one day.  Recognition has brought them everything from a good laugh to major financial assistance.

When they went to apply for a loan to buy their new rig, the bank manager in Alabama just happened to have read a profile on Bohren in a local paper a few minutes before Spencer and Marilyn walked up to the desk.  The banker was so charmed with their lifestyle that he bent some rules and got their loan approved.  Bohren also remembers driving through some highway construction in Montana and having a crew of flagmen drop their flags to their hips and jam on imaginary guitars.  It may not be Kerouac stumbling upon the key to the universe, but the simple things, the "daily miracles," are what the Bohrens fondly look back on as they travel the road.

The demands of the lifestyle are many and the main purpose is not simply to sightsee and log miles.  The Bohrens are working on developing a musical career and expanding the audience.  While Bohren is constantly honing his musical skills, Marilyn has become an able booking and promotional agent.  The family is demanding, too, and both parents devote a large portion of their time to nurturing the children, especially through a commitment to home schooling.

After six years of plugging away, including some mighty lean times, the Bohrens' dedication seems to be paying off in some well-deserved success.  This summer, an independent French label, Loft Records, released Snap Your Fingers, Bohren's first compact disc.  The CD is a compilation of Bohren's first two albums.  Loft is run by two young music enthusiasts, Anne Ojaste and Christian DiNatale, based in Vichy, France.  Their aim is to work with American artists not well known in Europe and to help them build up a reputation and following.

Ojaste explained how they discovered and were attracted by Bohren's brand of the blues:  "We first came across Spencer's debut album Born in a Biscayne last year in a Parisian record shop that specializes in American imports.  I remember getting home and playing the record full blast . . . it was so good that we immediately phoned the record shop to ask them if Spencer Bohren had any other albums.  Naturally, we ordered his second album, Down in Mississippi, and received it within two days.  We fell so much in love with Spencer's voice and guitar playing that we decided to contact him personally."

Ojaste and DeNatale eventually made their first trip to the States in December of last year and met with the Bohrens in New Orleans to discuss the licensing of twelve tracks from the two albums for European release.  They fondly recall meeting Bohren in person for the first time outside of Tipitina's, followed by a night of genuine New Orleans-style partying.  The tracks were digitally remixed by Bohren and engineer Rand Everett at Terminal Studios in Jackson, Mississippi, and the CD with vintage Imperial/Ron Records- style cover art was released in mid-July.

Another recent boost to Bohren's career was the release of a third album, Live in New Orleans.  The New Orelans based Great Southern Records held an option for Bohren to record an album since Born in a Biscayne had been leased for distribution.  With the option due to run out at the end of 1989, Bohren, along with ownld/executive producer John Berthelot, decided to develop a live album project.  In March of this year, Bohren invited old buddy, harmonica player JAB Wilson to accompany him, and they performed a warm-up concert at the Columns Hotel in New Orleans.  A live audience was invited to Ultrasonic Studios and the album was recorded in concert format.

Live in New Orleans accurately captures Bohren's versatility and amiable stage presence as he moves through a repertoire deeply rooted in the sounds of the American south.  There's plenty of strong blues material on the album, ranging from the lap-steel rendition of "The Sky is Crying" to the driving, Delta-style "Dark Road" to a bouncy, Piedmont-flavored "Eight More Miles to Louisville."  But Bohren does not exclusively serve up a blues menu:  he also delivers a soul ballad ("When a Man Loves a Woman", an a capella gospel number, a couple of electric R&B boogies ("Your Mama and Your Papa" and "Hoodoo You Love", and even a finger-picking showcase ("Maple Leaf Rag").

While Born in a Biscayne mixed solo acoustic blues with rocking New Orleans R&B numbers featuring Dr. John and John Mooney and Down in Mississippi focused mainly on Delta blues, Bohren found many of his fans wanted a record that captured the sound and variety of his live show.  "I have so many people ask me, "Do you have a record that sounds just like what you're doing?"  Bohren explained, "I felt for me, selling records from the stage, that it would be a good thing to have a live record."

Bohren's mastery as a guitarist is one of the most appealing aspects of Live in New Orleans.  He adds variety to his repertoire by applying his talents to four very different guitars:  a 1928 National Triolian, a 1975 Krimmel Acoustic, a 1959 National Ranger, and a 1949 National Lap Steel.  While he considered himself primarily an acoustic guitarist for years, the many performances on the road have made him realize the potential of the different guitars.

"I like to use all those guitars because each one brings out different things," Bohren commented.  "Obviously, the electric guitar, aside from volume, is kind of tricky to play alone because it's got that big electric sound.  The National, well that Mississippi Delta sound only comes from the National guitar.  It doesn't come from a dobro or anything else.  It comes from a National.  And the lap steel is my new baby.  I'm just so in love with the lap steel.  It speaks to me."

The versatility that Bohren displays on Live in New Orleans makes it clear that he does not approach his music with the kind of blues purist mentality of many modern blues players.  "I'll take great liberties with a song," said Bohren.  "I figure as an artist I have poetic license, and the folk process is something I believe heavily in.  And at this point I feel I am a legitimate folk-processor."

Just as Bohren sidesteps some of the stereotyped images of life on the road, he also doesn't fit into the typical "bluesman" mold.  "I feel that the basis of what I'm doing is definitely coming straight out of the Southern blues idiom, the Delta blues.  But obviously I'm not a ‘bluesman.'  I love singing blues songs.  I'm touched deeply by these kinds of songs.  I think that is particularly so because I come from a gospel background.  But as far as being an archivist or one of these cats that has to lead the blues life, I'm a very happy man.  I've got a lovely wife and four beautiful children, and I try to be as normal as I can be under the circumstances."

Despite preconceived notions about his lifestyle or image as a performer, the important thing about the years Bohren has spent on the road is that his music has gotten across.  Audiences hear his singing and guitar playing and they recognize his talent, hard work, and ability to keep the "folk process" alive.  "Right now, we're doing exactly what we want to do, and we're doing it on our own terms, and I think we're actually starting to become a success.  I mean, we're not broke all the time," said Bohren.  "We beat the streets for all these years and it has worked.  It's like the American Dream," he continued.  "You bust your ass, you put one brick on top of the other, and one foot in front of the other . . . not that we're making it but we have a good week now and again."

Spencer Bohren and his family will continue on the road, carried along by his love for singing the blues and people's appreciation for his art and craft.  "The amazing thing to me is that we've been able to hang in there," Bohren concluded, "by hook and by crook and with a lot of help from our friends."