Katrina Makes Marva Wright Sing the Blues New Orleans blues singer Marva Wright says she remains too distraught over the destruction of her hometown to write songs about what happened. She sure can sing about it, though, as her bittersweet cover of "You Are My Sunshine" proves.
NPR logo Katrina Makes Marva Wright Sing the Blues

Katrina Makes Marva Wright Sing the Blues

You Are My Sunshine

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Marva Wright calls herself "The Blues Queen of New Orleans." hide caption

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Monday's Pick

  • Song: "You Are My Sunshine"
  • Artist: Marva Wright
  • CD: After the Levees Broke
  • Genre: Blues

Marva Wright calls herself "The Blues Queen of New Orleans," and she's got plenty to be blue about. Hurricane Katrina wrecked her house, she lost everything she owned, and her hometown was a mess. Wright, who fled the city the day before the storm struck, considered never returning. But in the end, New Orleans pulled her back.

Wright says that she's still so distraught that she can't write songs about what happened, but she sure can sing about it. Her up-and-down relationship with the devastated Big Easy seeps into every track on her new album, After the Levees Broke — even the love songs. When she wraps her raw and gritty voice around "You Are My Sunshine," it's abundantly clear that she's not talking about a guy who makes her happy when skies are gray. She's talking about a city.

Her bittersweet cover exudes Crescent City spirit. Horns pump out a jaunty staccato line that conjures up a street parade. Beloved local pianist Davell Crawford adds plenty of bluesy licks, with a little gospel flavor tossed in for a sanctified undercurrent. A honking sax adds a pinch of old-school R&B. All the while, the queen's regal delivery puts Mother Nature on notice: Don't you dare take her sunshine away.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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After The Levees Broke
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