Janice and I were out in Marfa, Texas recently enjoying a few days off with friends when Rolling Stone
's Steve Charny
called with an opportunity I couldn't pass up: a portrait piece to accompany the Record Review
for Dr. John's latest, Locked Down
, a collaboration with Black Keys
guitarist and producer Dan Auerbach
. I cut the trip short and drove the 7 hours back to Austin to get started.
I'm a longtime fan of Mr Rebbenack, and even had the honor to do his portrait a year ago for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's 2011 Induction Ceremonies
. I've always enjoyed the challenge of taking a second look at a subject, and in this case I'd had the chance to meet the man himself in the interim: I was able to attend the Induction last year in NY, and found John to be gracious and approachable.
One of the special treats of working on a Rolling Stone review is that you get to hear the music before it's released, and this album gave me all the inspiration I needed. It's a return to John's roots, with a classic NOLA sound I wanted to evoke through the imagery of the Mardi Gras chieftain
--a look John himself had tapped into early in his career.
Steve loved the sketch and gave me the go ahead right away, and with two days left to turn the final art around, I got moving. It was a fun chance to play with pattern, color, and glazing, and to work a bit looser than I often do.
Thanks as always to Steve for the great project!