How Do You Red Bean, Paul Sanchez?
If you were into the rock and roll scene of the 1990’s you have probably heard of the band, Cowboy Mouth. They had the catchy hit song, “Jenny Says” that played over and over on the radio all across the United States. Paul Sanchez was one of the founding members of the band in 1990 and played with them up until 2006.
Since leaving the New Orleans based rock band, Paul has gone on to be a premiere singer, songwriter, producer, writer, musician and actor. He played himself in the hit HBO show Treme and was the driving force in bringing the Dan Baum book Nine Lives to life with 39 original songs based on the book. He has written songs for Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish, The Eli Young Band and even had a song covered by the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas!
From Paul’s website: “In January of 2010, OffBeat Magazine awarded Paul three Best Of The Beat Awards: Songwriter of The Year, Best Song Of The Year, Best Folk/Rock Album for Stew Called New Orleans, his duet record with friend and collaborator John Boutte. In April of that same year, Gambit Weekly awarded him Best Roots Rock Performer at The Big Easy Awards.”
Growing up in New Orleans, Paul knows a thing or two about red beans and rice. So I asked him,
“HOW DO YOU RED BEAN?”
1. Where’s your favorite place to order red beans and rice in New Orleans?
I don’t order them at restaurants too often because I like to make my own red beans.
2. If you make your own, what do you put in it, anything different or unique? Do you use dried beans or canned beans?
I use Camellia Red Beans and can’t imagine using canned beans, though I most likely have eaten them and enjoyed them. I like red beans and rice, what can I say?
I use the Holy Trinity, but I go heavy on the onions and garlic. Chicken stock, water, and I put in some Tony Chachere’s, adding a little evaporated milk toward the end.
3. What do you eat with your red beans? Chicken, pork chops, turkey, salads, or do you put enough in it that you don’t need anything else?
I use Vaucresson Sausage in my beans, and I pan-fry the slices before I add them. I don’t usually make a side dish like chicken or pork chops. I often don’t even bother with rice, just eat the beans from a bowl.
I don’t always make salad every time, but if I do, I’ll put the beans right on top.
4. Do you only eat red beans and rice on the traditional Monday or is any day of the week alright?
I only make them on Mondays; that’s tradition. I eat them two or three times a week because leftover beans are delicious.
5. What are you working on now? Do you have anything coming out soon?
I had throat surgery in November of 2018 and spinal surgery in January of 2019 where they had to move my vocal cords. I developed a neurological condition called vocal dystonia; I didn’t speak for nine months and didn’t sing for two years.
I’ve gotten a lot of therapy since then and have had a lot of voice lessons, and my voice is getting stronger every day.
During the pandemic, my wife bought me a piano to take my mind off my voice; I had never played before, but I taught myself to play and found myself drawn to learning the standards – Nat King Cole, Johnny Hartman, Sinatra.
I’ve now written an album full of Sinatra style ballads that I am planning to record in the next year.
For more information on Paul Sanchez, his music, books and where he’s playing, please visit his website www.PaulSanchez.com. If you’re in New Orleans, make sure you check his website for concert dates. He plays a show almost every week. Don’t miss out on one of New Orleans finest musicians!
This story originally appeared on Red Beans & Eric and was written by Eric Olsson