June 25, 2011


I can be a little obsessive; just ask anyone who knows me. I find something I like, and I jump in and devour everything I can about said topic or idea. It is not news that I have been obsessed with David Simon for some time. It started with The Wire, the greatest television show that has ever been on TV, then I moved on to reading The Corner. Before watching his mini-series called Generation Kill, I read the book of the same name by Evan Wright. From wikipedia:
Simon is known for his realistic dialogue and journalistic approach to writing. He says that authenticity is paramount and that he writes not with a general audience in mind but with the opinions of his subjects as his priority. He has described his extensive use of real anecdotes and characters in his writing as "stealing life".
David Simon
What's not to love? The man is a genius and whatever he touches turns to gold, so even I was surprised that it took me over a year to "get to" Treme, Simon's latest opus into the lives of a group of musicians, amongst others, in post-Katrina New Orleans. My wife and I have been catching up for the last few weeks. Watching a few episodes every night. We tap our toes and get ready for the gritty emotional roller coaster that only David Simon can deliver.

Like The Wire, what Simon does best is show the macro within the beautiful simplicity of the micro. He attacks large political issues, not with journalistic aggression, but with the simple finesse of fiction. We are allowed to see his characters for what they are- we see ourselves with all our weaknesses and courage. There are no villains or heroes in Simo'sn shows only human beings.  Never one to paint humanity with shades of stereotypical flatness, Simon's characters act as mirrors for us all. The cast of Treme is no different. These are broken people who live because of the suffering they face not despite of it.

Simon effortlessly weaves their stories through a series of interwoven plot lines. The obvious connections are Katrina, music and race, but Treme is more than a show about New Orleans. Yes, the show does a remarkable job of exposing the history of the city, including rich cultural elements such as Mardi Gras Indians, cuisine, and Jazz, but more than that Treme is as authentic a slice of life as we will ever see in fiction.(Side note- He has even written the perfect character for Steve Zahn)

Now that we are caught up to the most recent episode, and I have to wait till Sunday night for the next one, I feel the need to fill the hole left in my life without the cast of Treme. This is where the obsession begins. Never a huge fan of Jazz, I have chosen to find some music that reminds me of the Annie character. What better way to do this than to explore the music of Steve Earle who is on the show himself as a street musician? I have been pleasantly surprised by his catalog.

After a Twitter and Facebook request for a "good Cajun bluegrass folky band with fiddle, accordion, banjo, guitar, bass, and clarinet?" A friend sent me Old Crow Medicine Show, not from New Orleans, but they fit the bill perfectly; they are exactly what I was looking for. Listening to these guys now, and they are amazing.

I have downloaded a Zydeco and Cajun greatest hits, but am I still looking for any music ya'll recommend.Willing to enter the New Orleans Jazz scene so any recommendations in that field would be great.

I am now following nearly every member of the cast, including all the chefs, on Twitter and find it find cool that they all follow each other. Wendell Pierce is actually a musician and community organizer. It appears Simon has once again blurred the lines of fact and fiction. So if you love music, food, history, politics, love, suffering- in short if you have a soul, Treme will feed it.

It will be hard enough to wait till Sunday for the next episode, but what will I do when I have to wait for season three.

Best Show Currently on Television
In addition to music recommendations, I would love to foster a conversation about what you love about the show. If you have never seen an episode, please leave a comment vowing you will start tonight! 

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