It took a few years to pull it off, but "Jambalaya" finally gave John Boutte the national exposure that he deserves. While "Jambalaya" was released in October 2008, it wasn't until the HBO show "Treme" used his track "Treme Song" as its theme song in April 2010 that he started registering on iTunes charts.
The album, though, goes much deeper than the increasingly iconic "Treme Song." Boutte, who has come to embrace Sam Cooke comparisons (watch him on "Treme" making light of the oft-made connection (warning: some bad language)), recorded the best non-Cooke version of "A Change is Gonna Come" around. His voice soars on ballads like "All These Things That Make You Mine" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic," while hearing his voice shout "Why" on the Annie Lennox track of the same name sounds like the things of angels.
If you speak to Boutte at one of his weekly shows (8 p.m. Saturdays at d.b.a.), he'll tell you "Treme" has done wonders for his career. His shows are packed weekly with tourists and locals alike who come for that "Treme Song" bass line and stay for his gospel-infused soul. And listening to "Jambalaya," there's no reason to think those crowds will dwindle anytime soon, as Boutte has the moxie and voice to become a lasting New Orleans icon.