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Featured Press

Press and Media


Album Reviews for Slightly Concussed

  • "...there are fewer styles more inherently joyful than the pre-swing sounds delivered on these two discs" - Jazz Weekly, July 27, 2017
  • "...they are so obviously enthused by the early-jazz canon it’s impossible to doubt their sincerity" - NYC Jazz Record, July 2017, Page 16
  • "...old time music with an occasional contemporary edge, and it all adds up to a lot of fun." - Jersey Jazz Journal, June 2017
  • "...gleefully acknowledges any and all comparisons you might want to make with Louis Armstrong." - Nate Chinen, WBGO Take Five, June 5, 2017


Irish Times: The Best Jazz Gigs to See this Week - July 21, 2017


The Scotsman:

"highly affable, Satchmo-voiced singer and trumpeter James Williams"
"earthy vintage jazz outfit the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys
"channelling Louis, doing so with gravelly relish"
"exuberant trumpet work"

- Edinburgh Jazz Festival Reviews, July 21, 2017


Bergamo News, Italy:

"Irresistible repertoire and compositions"

Tra jazz e fotografia, viaggio all’Ascona Festival: “Come New Orleans”, July 10, 2017 [ITALIAN]


QNS / Queens News:

"soulful, sweet voice"

Hot Jazz/Cool Garden presents sizzling music at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, June 28, 2017


"The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys...are the kind of fiercely energetic band that gives 'revivalism' a good name, with an inspired take on the Game of Thrones theme, and a stirring version of 'A Fine Romance' featuring Iraqi-American actress Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development)."

- The List: Grab your coat, get your hat: the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival announces its programmeMay 2017


"Runaway Favorites" - Fife Today, April 2017


Offbeat Magazine twice featured the band's performance at JazzFest with actress Alia Shawkat:


Nominee, Best Traditional Jazz Artist, Offbeat Awards, January 2017



Broadway World covered the theatre debut of James Williams as Buddy Bolden in Playing Hot, along with the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys as the house band for the show.

The Scotland-based National is excited for the band's debut appearance in St Andrews.

Thanks for the NPR mention, Alia Shawkat!

Paris Match interviewed bandleader James Williams regarding the band's history and performances in France. [FRENCH]

A nice commendation for the band's appearances in NCIS: New Orleans was part of a listicle.


"In full flight they’re an exuberant and fairly unstoppable force." -- Jim Gilchrist for The Scotsman regarding our sold-out Edinburgh Jazz Festival performance.

"Heel af en toe wanen wij ons zelfs in het echte New Orleans." -- Jeroen Bakker for Blues Magazine NL regarding our second year at North Sea Jazz. [DUTCH]

Some nice words about our North Sea performance from MixedGrillNL too! [DUTCH]

Sam Friend was featured in Artzray, with lots of new updates on the Swamp Donkeys! Check it out here.


Our phenomenal Banjoist-Vocalist-Co-Founder Sam Friend was featured on Michael Feinstein's NPR program Song Travels:

"A wonderful combination of old style and modern sensibility." -- Michael Feinstein 

We had a BLAST at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Jazz Ascona, and Jazz Vitoria-Gasteiz. 

We had a really nice shout-out on our European tour from Paris Match.

What an honor are Jazz Magazine's [French] words for us at the Ascona Louis Armstrong Trumpet Summit, where we opened for LEGENDS: Leroy Jones, Wendell Brunious, Gregg Stafford, Nicholas Payton, Marcus Belgrave, Lucien Barbarin, Rossano Sportiello, Kerry Lewis, and Gerald French! 

El Correo extended very kind [Spanish] compliments as well.

And we had a mention from the [French] JazzHot, calling us "Excellent!"

THANK YOU FANS!!! We are really moved by the outpouring of support and excitement over our Game of Thrones theme song cover. (We really love the show, too.) Game of Thrones theme:

"The Game of Thrones Theme as Old-Timey Jazz Is Catchy, Danceable, and Great"

- Slate Magazine

"Swamp Donkeys Turn 'Game Of Thrones' Theme Into A New Orleans Jazz Masterpiece"

- Huffington Post

"Enough fiery passion to please the Lord of Light." 

- MTV  (Note from the band: The opinions expressed by the Red Priestess of the Lord of Light are not necessarily shared by the Swamp Donkeys.)

"It's 2:20 or so of genius that says 'Mardi Gras is coming.'"


"An Ambitious band...actual (kicky) jazz."


"The best New Orleans theme party King's Landing never threw."

- Vanity Fair

"This jazz band has just the thing to turn that frown upside down."

- Mashable


"Recalls the New Orleans music of roughly a century ago, with youthful, high-spirited aplomb."

--Nate Chinen, The New York Times


"The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys are a fun, entertaining and musically marvelous band, a great mix of personalities, unique vocals, so many instruments and lots of talents."

-- Trish Murray, CKCU FM 93.1 Ottawa

"If you close your eyes and listen to the voice of singer-trumpeter James Williams you’ll hear Louis Armstrong in his heyday."

-- North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands

"Made up of young devotees whose balance of spunk and funk keeps the heart of traditional jazz beating..."

-- The New Yorker

" of the zingiest of the new hot jazz bands from the Crescent City..."

-- The Wall Street Journal


“The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional ‘Jass’ Band is a brand new combo, already drawing crowds in New Orleans as well as in the New York area.” - Will Friedwald,

"'Hot' attitude and soloistic derring-do…. [Their] energy transforms something old into something new with commitment and intelligence." -- Ted Panken, Jazziz

“The band was jazzed [and taught] Houston the difference between jazz and jass.” - Michael Hardy, Houstonia Magazine

“The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys know how to rock—traditional style that is.” -

“Swamp Donkeys bring new life to Big Easy jazz.” - Adrian Gomez, Albuquerque Journal

Media Honors