New Orleans has been graced by the distinctive voice and music of Irene Sage for nearly 15 years and she’s showing no signs of stopping. She’s got a stellar new band and is recording her 5th solo CD with a fresh new sound that will be released during the New Orleans festival season in 2009. Sage was the front person for that all night jam band Irene and the Mikes, which after playing for 3 months on the local New Orleans scene, landed her on the cover of the Times Picayune and in the motion picture The Pelican Brief, which also features 2 of Irene’s original songs. She was then invited to perform at the N.O. Jazz Fest in ’93 where she was formally introduced to New Orleanians as a local favorite.
Her first solo CD Don’t Say Goodnight was released in’97 and the critics sang her praises saying, “Sage’s strong deep ellum bluesy vocals are strong and passionate, but it’s her delivery that’s even more impassioned.” Sage came back on the scene after having her daughter and was featured on the cover of OffBeat Magazine in Dec. 2001 and released her 2nd CD, Come On In, which was produced by Anders Osborne. OffBeat Magazine said, “It’s a CD packed with a powerful blues rock punch and has to be one of the best CDs to hit the Big Easy this year.” Keith Spera from the Times Picayune says, “Sage has an amazing voice with enough power to bring down the walls of Jericho.” Where Y’at Magazine said, “Solid set of original tunes that have a fresh sound with a classic feel.” Sage followed up with a third CD, Live at the Leaf, which was recorded at The Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans. Sage also sang and toured with New Orleans’ own Allen Toussaint for 4 years in between her bust schedule with her own band. She also performed in the Deacon John Jump Blues DVD that was filmed live at The Orpheum Theatre in New Orleans. Shortly after, Sage, along with an allstar cast, performed in the New Orleans documentary and DVD “ Make it Funky” filmed at the Saenger Theatre. Sage backed up Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Lloyd Price, Irma Thomas, Keith Richards, and Allen Toussaint; at the last minuteSage was asked to fill in for Ms. Patti Labelle. Irene happily accepted and she and Allen Toussaint did a version of Lady Marmalade that tore the house down!
Sage’s 4th CD, Soul to Soul, was released in 2004 and is a mix of blues, rock, and funk. The CD features Johnny Kneel from the Alman Brothers Band on hammond organ. Sage also performed with Kneel at the House of Blues. This CD also features the notorious Brian Stoltz from the Funky Meters on guitar. Sage, in turn, joined Stoltz on his CD God, Guns, and Money and also performed with him at the N.O. Jazz Fest. Coco Robicheaux, a New Orleans local legend, aldo makes a vocal appearnace on this CD. There were many other great talents featured on the CD including Doug Belote and Danny Devillier on drums, Theresa Andersson on violin, David Torkinowsky on piano and Marc Pero and Sam Price on bass. This CD got nothing but great reviews. “Sage possesses an authoritative presence, projects power with a sexy toughness that is undeniable and she definately shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Her new band consists of nothing but the best.” Sage calls the boys her Dream Team with Mike Barris on drums (You may have spotted him with Amanda Shaw), Rod Fleetwood on bass, Michael Burkart from the Deadly Four and Mike Doussan from WB Mike and the Fischer Projects on guitar. Sage is on vocals, piano, and guitar. The band just played their 5th gig together on Oct. 4th, opening for Allen Toussaint at the New Orleans Gretna Festival. The show was a great display of the connection and understanding of music that each musician possesses, making for a perfect song every time!