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theRoadKill Orchestra / Press

“The thing about barrelhouse blues impresario Dr. Gonzo — who, disguised as J. Stuart Esty, fights a never-ending battle against bland condiments — is that the music he and his RoadKill Orchestra put out just keeps getting better and better, but it all still sounds indelibly … gonzo. Listening to a song such as their recent “Nigerian Lottery Blues,” you can see where it could easily have just been a gag, but it’s piled mile-high with hooks and irony — a winning combination in this book. Esty and company are always growing, always reaching, but they never lose that soul and sense of fun.”

“theRoadKill Orchestra are all about big - big men, playing big music and having big-time fun. With two CDs under their belt and a third underway, Gonzo and company have honed a tight sound that blends the naive western irony of John Prine with the boogie shoes of Little Feat. Expect the classic live sound of Los Lobos on tunes that could have been written by Captain Beefheart. Three straight performances at Paulie's NOLA Fest is all the proof you need!”

“For their first disc, 2010’s “Live at the Emporium, Vol. II,” theRoadkill Orchestra, chose to record on their own at a makeshift studio set up at Dr. Gonzo’s Condiments storefront, because, as Esty says, “It was important for us to record it where we had written and practiced the songs.” So, Esty continues, “Bill Nelson, who had a studio for years above Union Music, was gracious enough to come down and set up a live recording. With the technology we have today, we could go straight to hard drive.” Self-recording, though, wasn’t without its own inherent problems. “We had some separation problems we had to deal with,” Esty says, but the situation brought out an old-school musical toughness that he liked. “You had to bring your A game. It was a Ramones-style thing. We laid down 16 tracks in six hours. Fourteen were keepers and 12 made it onto the disc.””

“New arrivals to Worcester are quick to notice the potential of this city, held afloat by a small but devoted group of activists, who work tirelessly to provide fun, equity and culture. Paul “Paulie” Collyer is one of them; though, if you ask him, he’s just having a party and promoting the things that he loves. Kick off the summer of 2012 with a taste of New Orleans in the up-andcoming neighborhood of Piedmont, west of Park Avenue on Chandler Street in Worcester, at the 5th annual Paulie’s NOLA Festival, on June 22, 23, and 24. This year’s bill features New Orleans heavyweights Sonny Landreth, Tab Benoit, Johnny Sansone, Mem Shannon, Eric Lindell, and Anders Osborne; rising talents, like The Royal Southern Brotherhood; and local and regional acts, like Boston’s Soul of a Man; Connecticut’s Shaka and the Soul Shaker; and Worcester’s Roadkill Orchestra, as well as food by Sweet T’s Southern Kitchen and Vinnie’s Crawfish Shack, and beers by Harpoon.”

“Do you have the blues? Well, then, Doctor Gonzo has a prescription for you. The band was phenomenally tight, creating textured layers of groove and funk that moved at a rip-roaring pace. It was a show almost completely devoid of “dead air.” There was never a moment when the energy levels dropped, even when the song being played had a slower tempo … even between songs. TheRoadKill Orchestra took the audience on a roller coaster ride, and the momentum didn't let up until the show was done. By the time the band wound down to its closing number, “Government Cheese,” the crowd was pretty much ready to explode, and it was definitely a show stopper. The room erupted into song, and a goodwill that practically shook the walls. It was a heck of a show. It was the kind of show that leaves you buzzing afterward, the kind of show that takes your blues and kicks them out the window, at least for a little while. And that's a prescription worth taking.”

“Worcester’s masters of barrelhouse blues-laden mayhem, Doctor Gonzo and theRoadKill Orchestra, are releasing a new CD, “B Set,” and it’s hard not to get excited. This is a band that, with each new recurrence, has been developing a fuller and fuller blues- and swing-drenched sound.”

“Expect big-time energy and funky, up-tempo boogie music in the vein of Little Feat and Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs and Englishmen". “My intention is to write songs that move me but have a broader message that will resonate outside of this moment and have a story line or hook that will appeal to a larger audience,” says Esty. “The tune should move you physically and emotionally and might even have you humming it in quiet moments. I make an attempt to incorporate different levels of meaning into the lyrics, so that if you have the time and inclination, you can read into the tune and enjoy it on another plane. I’m hoping that folks can make a conscious decision to just put [all their cares] aside for even an hour or two,” says Esty. “Music is a powerful medium and everyone needs a little downtime or escape from the norm. Consider us as a sonic shower or bath that you can use to wash away some woes. Lather, rinse, repeat.””

“Some bands play it loud, others play it fast, and there are quite a few who do both. But really, the blues soak best when they've got just the right flow to them, when they slide down your throat like good whiskey. “Barney Rubble of the 21st Century,” by Doctor Gonzo and theRoadkill Orchestra: If you're going to go on a Worcester blues jag, there's no place better to end than the inimitable Roadkill Orchestra, fronted by Worcester's own favorite condiment purveyor, Doctor Gonzo. This song, particularly, has always been a favorite, with its excavation of the blues in suburbia. The full-force barrelhouse blues that fills this song out is both cathartic and catchy, and its evisceration of the daily grind — and what it can do to a body — is nothing less than savage. Great stuff, by one of the city's best.”

“The Roadkill Orchestra, may just be the greatest band I've ever been billed with. These guys have been working pros for about 20-30 years and not only was their musicianship top notch, they were amazingly fun and totally chill dudes. These dudes are actually Worcesterians. A real, working band of pro-musicians who are all FROM Worcester. Seriously dude, it was like seeing a fucking unicorn. You've heard about it, but never really thought it would happen.”

“If the Orchestra’s first album, “Live at the Emporium: Greatest Hits,” was a big blast of jazz-blues-funk fun, its follow-up, “The ‘B’ Set From High Atop The Secret Underground Laboratory” is a leap ahead into full-on Dr. John barrelhouse blues territory. The sound is thick and meaty, dripping with Esty’s trademark wit and humor, but with some seriously tight jazz and blues musicianship tying things together. And what’s best is that this is very much a Worcester album, rife with local references and characters – particularly on “Modern Day Saga,” which is practically a bar crawl set to music – and no small amount of blues-drenched tough love for the hometown, especially on the blistering “Main South Walking Blues.” It’s fun stuff, from a band that is clearly evolving into a force to be reckoned with.”

“The event, which featured several national acts, evolved from two local bands and one small stage in 2008. Most of yesterday’s acts had ties to the Crescent City, including slide guitarist Anders Osborne, who drew a large crowd Friday night in spite of the inclement weather, along with Charles Neville, Henri Smith and Amadee Castenell. Concertgoers danced and lounged to the music of the Boston-based Chris Fitz blues band and the funky Po Boyz, just back from the landmark New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Many were waiting patiently for headliner Tab Benoit, a Cajun singer-guitarist from Baton Rouge. Yesterday’s bill began with Worcester’s own garage rockers, Dr. Gonzo’s Roadkill Orchestra and Mem Shannon and the Membership, a New Orleans blues act, was scheduled to close the festival.”

“‎You only have to hear theRoadKill Orchestra's name to know that you're in for something out of the ordinary. Dr. Gonzo T. Nightcrawler and his merry band of renegades play a style of honky tonk rock designed to shake buildings from floorboard to rafters.”

Brian Owens - Metronome Magazine

“The Worcester based RoadKill Orchestra serves up a tasty gumbo of swampy blues numbers on their latest disc Live At The Emporium. The vibe is uplifting and the music is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Best tracks: the funky "Bacon Brittle Blues", the film noir soundtrack inspired "Hoodoo Voodoo", the quirky "Turtleboy" and the Zappa infused "Waiting On Sully". This ain't just soul music, this is music for the soul.”

“Dr. Gonzo is an uncommon man. He creates some "Uncommon Condiments" right here in downtown Worcester! Anyone who knows him and his spicy approach to life, knows he's an original and loveable mofo. Upon witnessing theRoadKill ORCHESTRA, I knew that we needed to bring them HERE to the Lucky Dog. This amazing cast of musicians deliver music that is good for your ears, mind, feet and soul.”

“Dr. Gonzo is a monster piano player with a penchant for writing sea-chanty/bar-room maladies in the key of whatever might open the door at that particular moment. Expect nothing less than an array of bizarre instrumentation and stellar condiments marinating a stew of musical goodness.”

“the Roadkill Orchestra, improbably packs a healthy audience into a shop already crowded with a refinished 1842 Steiff piano, microphone stand and guitar. “We stack ’em up like Japanese tourists,” he said. Asked if he’s considered expanding, he pointed to his stomach and said, “I’m getting bigger all the time.””

“theRoadkill Orchestra is more than just a house band for Dr. Gonzo’s Emporium. It’s a jam band with chops and attitude. This group of local musicians somehow fits a four-piece into Dr. Gonzo’s (J. Stuart Esty) shop, opens the door and lets the music flow out onto Worcester’s Main Street. Having been drawn in myself with the intoxicating sounds of jazz and blues wafting through the door like the spicy aroma of Dr. Gonzo’s amazing sauces and spreads.”