Much like gumbo, the famous dish of their hometown, the New Orleans-born Cowboy Mouth uses a potent blend of musical ingredients – rock, blues, punk, funk, country, pop, soul and whatever else feels good – to create their bodacious, kickass tunes. Frontman, drummer, and co-founder Fred LeBlanc has asserted “if The Neville Brothers and The Clash had a baby, it would be Cowboy Mouth.” His description not only reflects the group’s amazing diverse sound, but it also conveys the fire and commitment they bring to their music.
Cowboy Mouth has perfected their wonderfully rambunctious style over the band’s three decades together. During that time, they have sold over a half a million albums domestically, performed before more than 10 million people, and played over 3,000 concerts. These relentless road warriors built their reputation and developed their devoted fan base through powerhouse live performances (frequently averaging 250 gigs a year). “With every show, no matter where it is, we try to turn it into New Orleans during the middle of Mardi Gras,” LeBlanc proclaims. “It’s like a southern gospel revival without the religion” – unless your religion is rock ‘n’ roll.
Cowboy Mouth formed in 1990, and their festive, free-wheeling style stood in sharp contrast to the then-popular grunge sound. In 1996, the band signed with MCA and their major label debut, Are You With Me?, spawned their biggest hit, “Jenny Says,” which cracked the top 40 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock and Alternative Rock charts. Their tunes have appeared in films ranging from the crime drama The Underneath (which featured them performing on screen) to the family comedy Meet The Robinsons. After doing several more albums on MCA Records and then Atlantic Records, Cowboy Mouth has continued to get their music to the people with a series of well-received independent and self-released albums.
New Orleans and Louisiana have always been special places for Cowboy Mouth, who are inductees in The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame. Their tune, “Mardi Gras State Of Mind,” featuring another NOLA luminary Big Sam Williams (of Big Sam’s Funky Nation) on trombone, delivers a joy-filled, footloose tribute to the world-famous carnival.
LeBlanc (previously of the punkabilly band Dash Rip Rock) and former Red Rocker guitarist John Thomas Griffith have been guiding Cowboy Mouth from the very beginning. Bassist Brian “Bruiser” Broussard joined the group in 2014, and quickly developed a telepathic groove with drummer LeBlanc (Broussard, by the way, is a beermaster too). The band’s newest member is Frank (aka Frankie G) Grocholski, who has teamed up with Griffith to create a formidable two-man guitar army.
The phrase “Cowboy Mouth” typically is defined as “one with a loud and raucous voice,” and the term fits the band too. This is especially true for their legendary live performances that have been described as celebratory, life-affirming experiences possessing the ability to save souls. The galvanizing connection between band and fans is one reason Cowboy Mouth has stayed strong for so many years. LeBlanc, however, offers another explanation: “bullheaded tenacity and determination, with a pretty healthy dose of faith.”