Happy Talk with Luke Allen, songwriter/bandleader

Luke Allen is the leader of an interesting local New Orleans group, The Happy Talk Band.  He writes in a style unlike anyone else in town.  He has a generous, though un-imposing, personality and this comes through well in his songs.  In this conversation he explains a lot of where he came from and uncovers some connections between his life travels and New Orleans residency and how those things impact his songwriting.

The interview was conducted where he felt at home, Markey's Bar in the Bywater.  There is background noise from the conversationalists and jukebox but it provides a nice backdrop for Luke's lively conversation.

 

Part 1- Where he came from, Salinas, Santa Cruz; how he came to New Orleans and why;  how he started writing his own material; where the dark themed songs come from; playing music before Happy Talk; how The Happy Talk Band formed; how the band name came about.

Part 2- Playing with Bailey and relationship with The Morning 40 Federation; gaining a following and seeing people in the audience starting to know his songs; Checkpoint Charlie's, Hi-Ho Lounge, Matador, Circle Bar, Kelly Keller; how he chose the kind of music to go behind his songs; the stylistic influences on his sound; his difficulties with recording and playing live; the band's recording history; working with Mike West; interest in other types of writing and the impact on his songwriting; his writing process; audience response to The Happy Talk Band; desired future directions in music; being a bartender and his views of the profession; his views on New Orleans and changes over the years; what he's liked in music in New Orleans and what he's liked about the city.