• 'Treme,' Ep. 19: Can't Get Out Alive

    June 20, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Ron Carter (left, as himself) looks on as Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters) attempts to show him a thing or two on bass, in Treme. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

    Lately, our rundowns of musical performances in Treme have ignored some of the non-musical narratives for the sake of brevity. This week is a little lighter on music, and a bit heavier on plot twists — especially at the end of this episode. So we'll address a few of the other storylines this week too. (Spoiler alert for what follows, naturally.)

    In real life, singer-songwriter Steve Earle, who plays the street troubadour/sage counsel Harley, recently released a new album and his debut novel, both titled I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive. Both are named after the posthumous Hank Williams song, and both muse heavily on mortality. As recently as late January, Earle — who also had a role on HBO's The Wire — wasn't anticipating he'd have to apply that titular maxim to his role in the series. When Billboard magazine asked him about touring, he said, "depends on whether I'm in the third season of 'Treme' or whether they kill me or something. But I feel like I've got a lot less chance of getting killed on 'Treme' than I did on 'The Wire.'" The odds did not fall his way.

    Even after a relatively quiet Mardi Gras, violent crime remained a problem in New Orleans in 2007. New Orleans native Josh Jackson joins me again for more insights on this, and other elements of this week's episode.

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  • 'Treme,' Ep. 18: After Mardi Gras

    June 13, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Harley (Steve Earle, left) and Annie (Lucia Micarelli) busk in the French Quarter in Treme. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

    It took a while to notice, but this season of Treme has set up another parallel between the chef Janette and the ranks of musicians. When her chef at Le Bernardin — played by Eric Ripert, the actual chef at the actual restaurant — senses her unhappiness, he points it out. She once had her own kitchen, where she learned to "express yourself," but now, she's working at her "craftsmanship" on another's vision.

    This year, we're seeing Antoine, Delmond, Davis and Annie all initiating original projects which they front. At least Antoine and Annie have heretofore been career sidemen — now they're learning how to be comfortable in the spotlight, too. In this episode, Annie takes a big step forward to that end.

    Joining me again to discuss this and other musical questions is WBGO's Josh Jackson.

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  • 'Treme,' Ep. 17: Mardi Gras Mayhem

    June 6, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Al "Carnival Time" Johnson (center, singing) sits in with Antoine Batiste and the Soul Apostles on Treme. Batiste, the trombonist, is played by Wendell Pierce. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

    Two years running, Treme has featured a sensory-overload pageant of a Mardi Gras episode. Let's get right to this one. New Orleans native son Josh Jackson is here again to help break down the music.

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