Music is new Main attraction at Ayer eatery

Margaret Smith

It was the Fourth of July, but for those at the Thirty-One Main in Ayer, it was time for an oasis away from loud fireworks or sticky cotton candy in the hot sun.

The sun, in fact was on its way down, as the Henri Smith Trio – vocalist Henri Smith, trombone player Daniel Heath, and keyoardist Benjamin Selling -- prepared to recreate a jazz night from New Orleans, with music sauntering, jubilant, and at times melancholy.

Each song had its own story, and Smith set up each one with a tale about the song’s origins and its place in the culture of his beloved native city, where even a funeral dirge has its notes of celebration.

For Smith – one of the musicians featured in the new live music series at Thirty-One Main – singing is more than just performance.

As one who lost much during the 2005 hurricanes that devastated much of the southeast U.S. coast, he has come to New England to rebuild – and preserve New Orleans by serving as an ambassador of the city’s music, history and lore.