New Orleans band seeks to preserve city’s musical heritage |

New Orleans band seeks to preserve city’s musical heritage

VAIL Since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans last year, the four members of the band Brotherhood of Groove have dedicated themselves to revitalizing the culture-rich port city’s music scene.The band, which counts the city as its home base, was touring in Colorado during the ensuing chaos of the storm. Brotherhood of Groove returned to Vail this week, and plays the Carbondale Mountain Fair Gazebo Stage from 2:203:30 p.m. Saturday at Sopris Park.Drummer Jon Massing, who moved to New Orleans from Florida six years ago, lost everything he owned after 12 feet of water swept through his house. “We were just hoping that we were going to have a life there when we got back,” said singer Brandon Tarricone, whose New Orleans home emerged relatively intact from the hurricane. None of the bandmates could live in their homes for the first couple of months. Tarricone said he couldn’t enter his neighborhood because the National Guard was blocking the entrance.”It’s like a war zone,” he said. “It’s like what you see in Iraq. That’s what was in New Orleans: military on every corner.”New Orleans still hasn’t returned to normal, and Tarricone and his bandmates are doing their part to help rebuild the city.The group formed the Backbeat Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps support New Orleans musicians financially. The foundation accumulated about $60,000 from fundraisers and donations. “The BOG toured for a month after the storm and gave all the money to the foundation,” Tarricone said. The tour raised the first $8,000 for the nonprofit. The foundation initially gave $1,000 to each of the about 50 artists who applied to replace their lost instruments and other possessions, Tarricone said. “We changed the focus to putting on concerts and paying these musicians to do their job,” he said. The group hired 25 New Orleans bands to play in the Backbeat Jazz Fest Series in late April and also helped start drum circles in some of the historic neighborhoods in New Orleans with the nonprofit Mercy Corps, Tarricone said. “We’re just trying to keep the vibe alive,” he said.Despite its past successes, the foundation is in need of help.”We need more funding majorly,” he said. “We’re basically out of money.”The band has reggae, hip hop, R&B, soul and rock ‘n’ roll influences. But what’s chiefly important is the band likes to have a good time. “We just kind of combine everything into our style,” he said. “If people aren’t dancing, it’s not a Brotherhood of Groove show.”The group’s four members know how to communicate to any type of audience, Tarricone said.”We can give everyone something they can enjoy from the 50-year-old lady who just had dinner to the 18-year-old hippie girl,” he said. Staff Writer Nic Corbett can be reached at

Who: Brotherhood of Groove What: New Orleans groove When: 2:203:30 p.m. Saturday Where: Gazebo Stage, Sopris Park, Carbondale Why: Carbondale Mountain Fair Don’t forget: wear your best mardi Gras attire

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