Unleashing the Funk: Big Sam’s Musical Journey – EP 194

Big Sam Playing his Trombone
Big Sam Playing his Trombone

Unleashing the Funk: Big Sam’s Musical Journey

Get ready to groove with Big Sam, the renowned trombonist and bandleader of Big Sam’s Funky Nation. Join him as he shares his insights on the importance of putting on a show and preserving New Orleans’ musical heritage.

Big Sam Williams, the renowned New Orleans musician, has always had a deep passion for music. From a young age, he knew he wanted to do something extraordinary with his talent. His journey began in middle school when he joined the marching band, seeking an outlet for his musical aspirations. Little did he know, this decision would shape his future.

Introduced to the trombone by a music teacher named Daryl Dickerson, Big Sam quickly fell in love with the instrument. Despite his initial struggles, he persevered, teaching himself to play by ear and immersing himself in the world of music theory. As he honed his skills, he realized that he had a natural talent for reading music and a deep understanding of musical concepts.

In high school, Big Sam and his friends formed their own band, the Stooges Brass Band, which marked the beginning of his professional music career. Through his experiences in various marching bands and collaborations with esteemed musicians, Big Sam found his calling and has since become a celebrated figure in the New Orleans music scene. His story is a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and the transformative nature of music.

I picked up the horn so quickly, like it was meant to be. My first time playing, my tone sounded like crap, but you could tell that’s what I was going for. – Big Sam

Big Sam Playing his Trombone in the Streets
Big Sam Playing his Trombone in the Streets Photo by James Cullen


The Historic New Orleans Collection

Support comes from The Historic New Orleans Collection, the city’s premiere history museum, located at five twenty Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter. 

Check out their online publication called First Draft. Its’ a combination blog and online exhibition space. hnoc.org/firstdraft

Through November 5, 2023, check out  their exhibit about women’s right to vote. Titled, “Yet She Is Advancing”: New Orleans Women and the Right to Vote, 1878–1970 

The 19th amendment granted American women the right to vote, in 1920,  but Louisiana laws effectively disenfranchised Black women. 

As many white women began going to the polls and increasing their political participation in segregation-era New Orleans, African American women continued to fight for access to the ballot. 

This exhibit tells a decades-long story through objects, images, documents, and interactive displays—and through the words of the New Orleans women who for nearly 100 years persisted in their struggle to obtain the vote.

As always, the Historic New Orleans Collection is free. It’s somehow continues to fly under the radar, but should not be missed.

Go to HNOC.org/Visit to plan your trip.

Liz Wood Realty

The most frequent questions I get are about moving to New Orleans. If you are ready to make the move, you need a good realtor.

That’s where Liz Wood comes in.

Let Liz and her team over at Liz Wood Realty help you find the right place. They can help whether you plan to rent or purchase

New Orleans is a terrific city, but choosing the neighborhood that’s the best fit for you can be overwhelming.

Liz makes the process fun and easy. Reach out to Liz at lizwoodrealty.com and make your dream of living in New Orleans a reality. Several members of our community have done just that and are thrilled with their new homes You will be, too!

The other thing that sets Liz apart is what she does after she helps you find a home. Liz does a great job at building community and helping you get connected with people in your new area. When you’re ready to make New Orleans home, reach out to Liz.

Tommy Manzella At Gulf Coast Bank 

While you are looking for a home topurchase, you need to probably need to secure financing. Reach out to Tommy Manzella at Gulf Coast Mortgage and let him help you get everything in place. 

That’s what we did on our refi and it was as smooth as could be. We went through the same process with Tommy when we were considering purchasing a new home and it was just as easy. Reach out to Tommy Manzella at https://www.gulfbank.com/mortgage-lenders/tommy-manzella.

Thank You

Thanks to Big Sam WIlliams for joining me today, and to Lamara Coffee for hosting us! Thanks also to James Cullen for making the introduction. Finally, much thanks to our podcast editor Joel Sharpton from Pro Podcast Services. 

Subscribe to the Podcast

If you enjoy the show, please subscribe to the podcast on

Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, SpotifyGoogle Play Music or wherever you get your podcasts. If you do enjoy listening, please share Beyond Bourbon Street with someone who shares our love of New Orleans.

Purchase our Travel Guide to New Orleans

Did you know I wrote a book. The Beyond Bourbon Street Insider’s Guide to New Orleans is your curated guide to exploring the city as if you were my guest. To discover purchase options, click here.


New Orleans is so much more than the Bourbon Street scenes you may have seen–– it’s a 300-year-old city made up of vibrant neighborhoods, diverse populations, and traditions layered upon each other.
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