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Five questions with Ted Scallan of The Ted Scallan Band
Ted Scallan plays with his band Friday in Dahlonega.
The Ted Scallan Band
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: The Crimson Moon Cafe, 24 N. Park St., Dahlonega
How much: $12 advance, $14 day of show
More info: 706-864-3982

Ted Scallan grew up among the rich music of New Orleans, jamming with some of the music industry's legends. The experience gave him lots of chances to experiment when he performed with big names from the 1970s such as the Neville Brothers, Dr. John and Paul McCartney during his Wings days.

Scallan and his band will perform Friday night at The Crimson Moon in Dahlonega, and the concert is a great chance to catch up with a man who lives and breathes the blues. He'll be playing with his bassist and drummer, and said that's the measure of a good band - in a three piece, there's no place to hide.

We caught up with Scallan, who now lives in the Florida Panhandle.

Question: Is it possible to grow up in New Orleans and not have music influence your life in some way?

Answer: It would be difficult. You have New Orleans, as opposed to a lot of places, being such a musical city, you don't even have to have holidays. There's so many venues, and it's such a part of the culture. (Music) is in the gift shops, it's in the grocery stores. It would be impossible not to be exposed to it at an early age.

Q: So, there must be a lot of talent in the city?

A: A lot of people don't realize that the people who are professional musicians really don't venture out. And that is characteristic of people from New Orleans in general; they typically don't leave the city.

A lot of the people, their careers are in a bubble. That is something also unique to the city. A lot of good players, they just stay there and there's enough work and they're happy.

Q: It seems you've had a lot of experience jamming with other big names as they passed through your hometown. What did you learn by working with them?

A: I was fortunate, if you look at, I guess, the evolution of music from the '70s, Stones and Beatles turned things around. I always played with the best ... I met Paul McCartney in Atlanta at The Omni, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Kahn. But everybody was just working musicians then; there was no pretentiousness. There were no big names then. Back then, everybody was just working their craft and getting ahead and, yeah, I was fortunate ... We toured with a host of them, but everybody was just hardworking musicians.

Q: How does your music relate to New Orleans?

A: As far as my playing, I have New Orleans style. It's a rhythm and blues style. It's very upbeat. The songs are about Bayou women and going back home, and the lyrics and everything, it really is ingrained in the music. But we play blues classics, rhythm and blues and blues from New Orleans.

... A lot of music came out of the Lower Ninth Ward, which was devastated by Katrina. And it's gone now. And the Neville brothers, Dr. John, a lot of people came out of that area just poor musicians. But it starts, it's a very unique beat, style of playing.

Q: When you perform, do you do mostly originals?

A: It's a mixture. The covers might as well be written by us; they fit what we do. ... The show in Dahlonega will be originals; we have a tendency to do Little Feet that will make them proud. They have a lot of New Orleans history, those people. But we'll probably pepper our two-hour show with a Little Feet tune and that captures the best of what they do, and we'll add a little hot gumbo to it.

And we do a song that I really can't get away from - Joe Cocker, "You Can Leave Your Hat On." When we play it, the roof comes down. But we play it so funky, and I'm able to pull it off vocally.