Pat Flory, the elder statesman of the Saint Claude Serenaders, once said it didn’t matter how people labeled his music—as long as they accepted one thing. “I will be country,” he said, “to the bone.”
The Serenaders, born after Hurricane Katrina in a bluegrass picking session inside an 8th Ward barroom, are living proof of that today. Led by Flory’s lap-steel sound, and the tight fingerwork of guitarists Geoff Coats and Mike Kerwin, the Serenaders create a unique, toe-tapping sound that’s part country, part Americana and roots—with a distinct Louisiana flavor, born of Flory’s native New Iberia.
That easy southern sound is apparent on the Serenaders’ new EP “Ursulines Nones”—in dancehall numbers like “Milk Cow Blues” and ballads like the wistful “My Louisiana Home.” And it’s that home—Louisiana—more than any one genre, that seems to root the Serenaders, serving as the band’s compass and muse.
Their engaging live shows move from country to city, from Honky Tonk to House Party. But whether playing Leadbelly or Longhair or one of their original songs, the Serenaders’ nuanced interpretations and retellings conjure up their home. “Whether we’re playing as a string band on Royal Street or with Telecasters blazing in a local bar,” Flory says, “we want people to feel the soul of Louisiana in the music of the Saint Claude Serenaders.”