The New Orleans Public Library and TrainingGrounds are teaming up to bring a free play center to New Orleans East.
Sandra Love and the Reason: Crescent City Sounds Featured Artist
When Sandra Love moved to New Orleans in 2014, she knew she’d found her musical home. The singer was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia and had been performing professionally for years in Baltimore, but it never felt quite right.
“It just all started to feel the same, and it wasn’t the music I wanted to make or be around,” Love said. “When I came here for a visit, I fell in love with this city, and I knew I needed to find a way to be here.”
Within two months of relocating, Love started singing with the Dirty Bourbon River Show, who gave her the opportunity to tour all over the country.
“Suddenly, instead of playing casinos or whatever, I was opening for Rebirth Brass Band in New York City and Charles Bradely and doing all these amazing things. And for the first time in a long time, I really believed in the music I was making,” she said. “It was life changing. I knew I was in the right place, that this was what I was meant to be doing.”
In 2017, Love left the Dirty Bourbon River Show to start her own venture – a band called Sandra Love and the Reason. Their most recent album, Dreamwalker, was one of 30 to be featured on Crescent City Sounds –– New Orleans’ only music streaming platform to feature exclusively local artists –– when it launched last fall.
“It was such an honor to be picked,” Love said. “My intention, always, is to lay roots in the city and earn my keep, because I’m not from here. Being on this platform is so meaningful. It’s local, it has depth. It’s something that’s good for the community, not just something I can add to my resume.”
Love said being featured on Crescent City Sounds feels like her band “leveled up,” and affirmed their place in New Orleans music scene. Backed by Felipe Antonio on guitar, Max Valentino on Bass, and Bob Danos on Drums, Love said their sound is hard to define.
“We don’t like to put ourselves in a category, because we play and make music from whatever influences us. But, we tend to have soul and blues roots, with funk, rock, and other elements of positive music mixed in,” she said.
The band recorded Dreamwalker during the pandemic and released it in April 2022. A few weeks later, the Library started seeking submissions to build their new music streaming service.
“I can’t remember exactly where I heard about it, but I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of it,” she said. “We had just released this album, which I think is my best work so far, and I just wanted everyone and anyone to hear it.”
When Crescent City Sounds launched in October, Love said she went through the entire catalog.
“I was just so excited, I wanted to see who else was featured and support them in the ways I hoped they would support me,” she said.
Describing herself as a bookworm, Love said she’s always loved reading and sees libraries as magical places.
“I like fantasy stories and I love the show The Magicians, and I believe that if jump rooms were real, they’d be in libraries,” she said. “Because libraries really do have the power to take you somewhere else.”
For Love, Crescent City Sounds is a perfect example of the power libraries hold in their communities.
“The Library saw a way to capture the attention of what’s happening in real life, something that’s important to the city and unique to our identity. Local music is never just one thing, one sound, and [Crescent City Sounds] is special because it’s doing something that can feel impossible –– defining the sounds of our city, as they really are.”
The Library plans to continue to grow Crescent City Sounds’ catalog, with the goal of reflecting local music across all genres. The second submission round is open through April 15. More information here.
Love said she hopes being on Crescent City Sounds brings new audiences to The Reason, and said they’re always looking for help booking new gigs. Upcoming shows include Friday, April 14 at Zony Mash Beer Project and Sunday, April 30 at BMC. The best way to keep up with the band, Love said, is to follow them on Facebook.