Josh Abbott Band: Honest-to-goodness country on tour near you

Throughout history, many great things have come from Texas.

Tex-Mex. The Schlitterbahn. Whataburger. Chuck Norris.

And a recent addition to the list: the Josh Abbott Band.

You may remember these Texas boys from their 2011 release “Oh, Tonight” featuring Kacey Musgraves, but like so many quality artists, the really good songs fly under the radar. Exhibit A:


Hands down the best comparison drawn between a woman and anything, ever.

The Josh Abbott Band doesn’t rest on merely referencing Southern landmarks in their lyrics; they paint a much heartier picture. Listening to “Road Trippin” actually makes it feel 10 degrees warmer outside and gives me the urge to wear sunglasses regardless of what time of day it may be.

“I’ll Sing About Mine” offers a refreshing take on what much of mainstream country music has forgotten about – real life.

“When the radio’s on, I just don’t understand, because tractor’s ain’t sexy and working is hard for small town people like me.”


Good news for Southerners living off the beaten path – the band is making its rounds to Illinois, Colorado and Kansas this July.

Josh Abbott Band: Honest-to-goodness country on tour | StayingSouthern.net

(joshabbottband.com)

July 4: Willie’s 4th of July Picnic: Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley, Ryan Bingham, and more TBA! Fort Worth, TX
July 12: Bub City BBQ Festival, Chicago, IL
July 17: Cavalcade Rodeo, Pawhuska, OK 
July 25: Grizzly Rose, Denver, CO
July 27: Dodge City Days, Dodge City, KS

Click here for more upcoming tour dates.

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Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)

It’s a tough time of year to live outside the South – crawfish season.

If you’re a Southerner far from home, chances are you’ve spent the last few months drooling over your friends’ Facebook photos of more than a few crawfish boils.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. is a farm after my own heart: They strive to bring the South to those of us who loved it and left it. Founded in 1985, Louisiana Crawfish Co. specializes in shipping Louisiana products – especially live crawfish – just about anywhere. 

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)

Retail and wholesale customers can enjoy live crawfish delivered right to their doorstep.

In addition to crawfish-only orders, Louisiana Crawfish Co. also offers party packs that include live crawfish, seafood boil, their own special Creole seasoning, crawfish bibs, a t-shirt, a koozie and even Mardi Gras beads. With prices starting at about $75, you and 3-6 of your pals will have almost everything you need to have a traditional crawfish boil in your own backyard, wherever that may be. Louisiana Crawfish Co. also accommodates larger shipments, in case you want to invite the whole neighborhood.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)

This family-owned and operated business leads the industry with tried and true shipping methods and competitive pricing. They stand behind all of their products, offering a money-back guarantee and they will price match if you are able to find a lower delivered cost. With a “why pay more” attitude, the Louisiana Crawfish Co. website offers price comparisons with other retailers.

A standard of stellar quality and service is evident in an abundance of happy customer testimonials.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. doesn’t stop at distributing only mudbugs. Alligator, turtle, various seafood, King Cakes, spices, Lasyone’s meat pies, turduckens,  a wealth of other party supplies and Southern goods are available on LaCrawfish.com.

More than 25 years in the business and over one million pounds of shipped lived crawfish proves this trusted company is here to stay and ready to help you with your next crawfish boil.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. brings mudbug season to faraway Southerners | StayingSouthern.net

(Image source: lacrawfish.com)


Lousiana Crawfish Co.
1-888-522-7292
1-866-593-5320
lacrawfish.com
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Movoto Article: 27 Things You Need To Know About Louisiana Before Moving There

Movoto Article: 27 Things You Need To Know About Louisiana Before Moving There | StayingSouthern.net

Movoto: #1. Louisiana’s National Monuments Are Hard To Pin Down (Image source: Flickr user The Sean and Lauren Spectacular)

Whether you’ve lived in Louisiana or you’ve always wondered what it would be like, there’s no doubt that the Sportsman’s Paradise is a place unlike any other.

A recent Movoto article details “27 Things You Need To Know About Louisiana Before You Move There” and it’s not all alligator hunting and Bourbon Street clichés either.

The article features a few lesser-known fun facts about state including #22, Louisiana’s current “beer-aissance” accelerated by seven craft breweries and it even mentions Louisiana’s growing affinity for the film industry.

SPOTTED: Familiar Springtime Faces… and side-dishes.

SPOTTED: Familiar Springtime Faces... and side-dishes. | StayingSouthern.net

Viola tricolor or Johnny Jump Up

There’s nothing like a relentless winter to make me leap for joy when I finally spot a couple of tiny, familiar springtime faces in the yard.

As pretty as the flowers are, Johnny Jump Ups make a tasty little treat, too. Members of the same perennial family such as sweet violets, violas and pansies are edible as well. The most common way to integrate the colorful blooms into a meal is as a garnish or in a salad. They also make delicious spreadsjellies and even vinegar. Sweet violets (Viola odorata) can be used in tea, syrup and cakes or even candied.  While the sweet violet flowers taste slightly perfumed, their leaves are tart.

 Johnny Jump Ups have even been known to treat epilepsy, asthma and eczema.

For best flavor, harvest newly bloomed flowers in the morning. This is when the oils are most concentrated and blooms look their best. The more you harvest, the more flowers will grow.

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter

In my Southern family, Easter always comes with a big celebration. Relatives come to town, huge spreads of food are prepared and the Easter baskets are packed full of treats.

Now, living far away and having only a husband and a dog to celebrate with, the epic festivities seem like a lot of work for just a couple people to enjoy. It’s easy to get complacent about carrying on customs, but each year when I make the effort, I’m never disappointed. Although I may be a far-flung Southerner, I can always take traditions with me wherever I live to make it feel like home.

Here’s five easy ways to celebrate Easter that will have you feeling like you’re back home without a lot of fuss.

1. Dye Easter eggs. This easy activity will have you feeling like a kid again as soon as you try the old half-pink, half-blue dunking method. The eggs in this ancient activity are meant to symbolize new life, reminding Christians of Christ’s resurrection. Ukrainian customs hold great significance in each color of Easter eggs:Here’s five easy ways to celebrate Easter that will have you feeling like you’re back home without a lot of fuss.

White: purity and innocence
Yellow: wisdom, recognition, harvest and reward
Orange: strength, endurance and ambition
Red: happiness, hope or passion
Green: sign of spring, hope and innocence
Blue: good health
Purple: royal color, faith and trust
(Ukrainian Easter by Mary Ann Woloch Vaughn)

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter

2. Eat. In my family, Easter Sunday Mass is always followed by a delectable lunch. Ham was on the menu when we were young, but as everyone got older and the family grew in members, fried chicken from the grocery deli took its place. Either entrée is enjoyable with sides of potato salad and ambrosia salad.

3. Stage an Easter egg hunt. Whether you have kids or you’re a kid at heart, hunting Easter eggs is a surefire way to add a little excitement to your Sunday. Fill plastic eggs with traditional candy, love notes, jokes, money or other fun trinkets to suit the hunters’ taste and bring smiles all around.

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter

Photo: Maida Owens louisianafolklife.org

4. Knock Eggs. Whether you call it egg tapping, tucking, pocking or pâquing, this tradition is a competitive sport in Louisiana. My mother taught my brothers and me when we were young and the tournament-style competition has been an Easter ritual ever since. The rules vary by region, but my family’s are simple: knock the pointy ends of two hardboiled Easter eggs until one of them cracks. The unbroken egg goes on until the last intact egg is standing. Don’t be shy about getting into it. Since 1956, people in Marksville, La. gather in the courthouse square after Easter Sunday church services to compete. Some families even make brackets and keep score.

5 Easy Ways To Celebrate Easter5. Go to church. I’ve lived a lot of places, most of them hundreds or thousands of miles away from my tight-knit family. Going to church has always made me feel close to them no matter how far away I may be geographically. Raised Catholic, there is a comfort in knowing my family members are hearing the same scriptures and saying the same prayers as I am at Mass 2,100 miles away.

Dallas-native Old 97’s head west on tour

Old 97's on Tour | StayingSouthern.net

(dallasobserver.com)

Good news for alt-country fans living in the west!

The Dallas-native Old 97’s are on tour promoting a brand new album due out April 29. Along for the tour is South Carolina-born, retro moody singer-songwriter Nikki Lane.

If you like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings with an updated twist and a dash of rock and roll, Old 97’s is right up your alley.

Having attended a few Old 97’s shows back in the day, I can validate that the band knows how to entertain a crowd. Like their new song says, they’ve been doing this longer than I’ve been alive. I won’t do the math, but I’d say that estimate might be close to accurate.

As Southerners living far from the motherland know, we have to take advantage of homegrown fun when it comes our way. Below are the upcoming tour dates for the western U.S. Click here for full schedule.

Old 97's on tour | StayingSouthern.net

(gigposters.com)

Sat Apr 12 – Sunstation – Copper Mountain, CO
Tues May 6 – Rialto TheatreTucson, AZ
Wed May 7 – The Crescent BallroomPhoenix, AZ
Thu May 8 – Belly Up TavernSolana Beach, CA
Fri May 9 – El Rey TheatreLos Angeles, CA
Sat May 10 – The FillmoreSan Francisco, CA
Mon May 12 – Showbox at the Market Seattle, WA
Tue May 13 – Wonder BallroomPortland, OR
Wed May 14 – Knitting Factory Concert HouseBoise, ID
Thu May 15 – Urban LoungeSalt Lake City, UT

Cascade Zydeco – Portland, OR & Vancouver, WA

(Cascade Zydeco Facebook)

(Cascade Zydeco Facebook)

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, get ready to smile.

Cascade Zydeco is a non-profit association dedicated to bringing zydeco and Cajun music and dance to the Northwest by sponsoring dances with live bands, lessons and special events.

CZ hosts weekly Cajun and zydeco dances and lessons in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA.

No dance experience? Don’t worry, they say if you’re smiling, you’re doing it right.

Here’s the scoop:

(Cascade Zydeco Facebook)

(Cascade Zydeco Facebook)

What: Basic zydeco lessons
When: Lessons start at 7:15 p.m. with CD dancing from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. (when there is no live band)
Cost: $6 general public, $4 CZ members
Where: First Wednesdays at Alberta Street Pub, 1036 NE Alberta Street in Portland, Oregon
Second and Fifth Wednesdays at Polish Hall, 3832 N Interstate Ave in Portland, Oregon

Check out Vancouver Zydeco Sundays at the Silver Star Saloon, 6718 Northeast 4th Plain Road in Vancouver, WA.

Vancouver Zydeco is a casual evening of zydeco dancing from 7 – 9 p.m. every Sunday. Lessons for beginners are available on request. Admission is free!

“Like” Cascade Zydeco on Facebook for all their upcoming events.

 

L’Angelus On Tour

It was a complete accident that I saw this band at the Oyster Ridge Music Festival in Kemmerer, WY a few years ago. Watch the embedded video below and you’ll understand how happy I was to stumble upon L’Angelus (pronounced LAWN JAY LOOSE). Their music brings swampy Cajun flavor to even the most arid parts of the world.

They’ve even opened for the Pope. Yes, they are THAT cool.

This band of brothers and sisters hail from Lafayette, Louisiana, which explains the number of tour dates at Catholic venues. Even if you’re not religious, seeing this band live will be a religious experience – it’s that fun and they’re that good.

Here are some upcoming tour dates that “out of pocket” Southerners can enjoy. Don’t fret if you don’t see your city – they tour far and wide and often. Check out their Facebook page for the latest news.

April 25 – David Foster Foundation Theater – Victoria, Canada 
April 26 – David Foster Foundation Theater – Victoria, Canada
May 3 – St. John’s Festival – Indianapolis, IN
July 12 – Byzantine Catholic Youth Conference – Emmitsburg, MD
August 1- Midwest Catholic Family Conference – Wichita, KS

SPOTTED: Zydeco Kitchen – Bend, OR

(zydecokitchen.com)

(zydecokitchen.com)

Zydeco Kitchen
919 NW Bond Street
Bend, OR 97701
(541) 312-2899

This downtown hotspot in Bend, OR has authentic Cajun nuances that a Southerner can appreciate when far from home.

(zydecokitchen.com)

(zydecokitchen.com)

If you’re around for lunch, consider the Potato Chip Crusted Wahoo Sandwich. It’s a sort of an Oregonian take on a catfish poboy. The tarragon remoulade is like heaven in a ramekin and the sandwich is served with a delightful couscous salad on the side.

Zydeco has an extensive cocktail and dinner menu as well.

Champaign Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival – Champagne, IL

Attention Midwesterners!

Mark your calendars for the 2014 Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival, June 27th and 28th in Downtown Champaign, IL.

If you can’t make it home to the South this summer, this festival promises to be an exemplary substitute. 

The music starts at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, with singer, Creole zydeco accordion player and Louisiana native, Rosie Ledet. Enjoy the festival all day Saturday, but be sure to stick around for blues musician Albert Cummings rocking the evening crowd just before the illustrious Buckwheat Zydeco takes the stage until midnight.

And get this — this event is FREE. An optional donation of $5 to support the festival is solicited at the gate.

Get all the latest information at the festival’s Facebook page.

Tutorial: Gaudy Mardi Gras Wreath

I miss the South quite a bit during Mardi Gras season. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, I get inundated with photos of my friends and family celebrating at crawfish boils, parades and Mardi Gras balls on a daily basis.

I love where I live and my lifestyle, but it’s times like this that I’m not too proud to say, I’m envious.

Living a few thousand miles away just means I must be the master of my own celebration. This usually involves some sort of crafting frenzy. And, nothing tells your new neighborhood who you are and where you’re from like the world’s biggest, gaudiest Mardi Gras wreath adorning your front porch.

"Hi, I'm your new neighbor, and in case you didn't know, it's Mardi Gras season."

“Hi, I’m your new neighbor, and in case you didn’t know, it’s Mardi Gras season.”

As you can imagine, Mardi Gras supplies are limited around the rural parts of Central Oregon. I was grateful I kept a few pounds of beads from a parade in my beloved Natchitoches, LA a few years ago. If you’re not a hoarder (like I am), you can find beads and other Mardi Gras supplies at a Party City or other craft stores. This wreath took less than an hour to complete.

Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: I like to reuse craft supplies. I took this large, artificial garland wreath and wrapped it in burlap (found on the floral aisle of WalMart). Make sure no garland is peeking out.

Step 1: Wrap garland wreath with burlap

Step 1: Wrap garland wreath with burlap

Step 2: I like to use wire to fasten things on my wreaths.

I like to use wire to fasten things on my wreaths.

I like to use floral/craft wire to fasten things to my wreaths because it cuts down on waste. That’s just me. When dismantling a wreath that’s covered in hot glue, I usually end up throwing away a lot. But if you’re into hot glue, more power to you.

I know what you’re thinking – “that will never hold.” But it will. This wreath sustained two snowstorms and 50 mph winds in January and February.

Step 2: Add ribbon in the same fashion as the burlap. I tied some of it on, other parts I used wire. Get creative.

Step 3: Add ribbon

Step 2: Add ribbon

Step 3: Add beads. I gathered five strands and connected them in a U-shape piece of craft wire. Then, I twisted the U together so my strands were secure and I had a long wire “stick” I poked into the garland through the burlap. It took a little adjusting, but if your wire is long enough, it will poke through the back of the wreath and you can bend it into a secure position.

Step 4: Add beads

Step 4: Add beads

Poke wire into wreath

Poke wire into wreath

Step 4: Add bows, a masque and other trinkets you have on hand. I actually received all of these bows on presents at one time or another. I used the same U-shape wire technique to attach the bow to wire and then poke the wire through the burlap and garland.

Step 5: Add bows, a masque, etc. using same U-shape wire technique.

Step 4: Add bows, a masque, etc. using same U-shape wire technique.

I like to make my wreaths "imperfect" to give it that touch of Mardi Gras fun.

I like to make my wreaths “imperfect” to give it that touch of Mardi Gras fun.

Ha cha cha!

Ha cha cha!

Have fun with it! It’s all about making the wreath your own. I always find that it helps to put on a little Mardi Gras Mambo while I’m working on projects like this. And remember, it’s the small everyday things you do that can make you feel at home no matter where you are. Happy Mardi Gras, ya’ll!

A Wyoming take on “Virginia’s Holiday Finest”

I am crazy about seasonal wreaths. My taste swings back and fourth between simplistic and “more is better” depending on the season and my resources at the time.

Resources? Yes, resources. See, I’m a stern penny pincher. Most of what I use to make my front door décor is stuff I have hoarded away in my “craft closet” for the last couple of years I have actually had an extra closet in my house.

If I need something that’s not in the ribbon-and-glitter-packed closet, I scour the clearance aisles at places like WalMart and Tuesday Morning.

I picked up this sweet little autumn-themed gem at WalMart for $1.99 with the intention of using it for parts during my next crafting frenzy.

Look for "red-tagged" items on the clearance aisle.

Look for “red-tagged” items on the clearance aisle.

Then, I fell in love with this wreath in Southern Living:

Southern Living magazine is where I turn to for a great deal of my Southern inspiration.

Southern Living magazine is where I turn to for a great deal of my Southern inspiration.

I love when my go-to sources for Southern style blend masculine aspects of the outdoors with charming regional classics. It’s a balance I’m always trying to strike since my husband would put antlers on everything if I agreed to it.

To achieve my rendition of “Virginia’s Holiday Finest,” I had to improvise. Living in Wyoming at the time, I had no access to on-the-stem cotton. I did, however, have pheasant feathers from a friend’s recent hunt, conifer boughs and whitetail deer antlers.

I dismantled the bargain wreath. I added spruce boughs from our Christmas tree, artificial berries (and a faux bird) my office was discarding from past holiday decorations, spruce cones from my yard and a pair of shed antlers I found ages ago hanging in a sage brush.

This was the final product:

Wyoming offers similar, if not the same, materials necessary to make up this cheery holiday porch decor.

Wyoming offers similar, if not the same, materials necessary to make up this cheery holiday porch decor.

The wreath brought a big smile to my face every time I walked up to my front door. It reminded me that even though I may be far from my Southern home, a few touches and a little effort here and there will make it seem a little closer.