Tag Archives: Louisiana music

Artist Profiles: Jimmy Breaux

Artist Profiles: Jimmy Breaux

Louisiana musician Jimmy Breaux was the longtime accordionist in celebrated Cajun band BeauSoleil. He is in the fourth generation of his family to play Cajun music.

Jimmy Breaux was born in 1967 and grew up in Louisiana. In 1988 at the age of 2 Breaux joined Michael Doucet’s pioneering young Cajun band BeauSoleil not only helping to bring pride to their Cajun heritage but also popularizing their dance music rooted in tradition by playing it around the world over the next 25 years.

In addition to being featured on BeauSoleil recordings Breaux has released solo albums that feature not only Doucet and other bandmates but other leaders of contemporary Louisiana Cajun music such as Steve Riley.

With a combination of Cajun classics and original songs Breaux is carrying on and extending his family tradition.

Among his musical relatives are his father Preston Breaux, grandfather Amé Breaux, brother Pat Breaux, great-grandfather Auguste Breaux and great-aunt Cleoma Breaux. The latter was married to Joe Falcon, one of the great Cajun musicians of the 1930s.

Discography:

Un ‘Tit Peu Plus Cajun (La Louisianne, 1991)

Le Chemin Que T’As Pris (La Louisianne, 2000)

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Artist Profiles: Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys

Jeffrey Broussard

Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys hail from Southwest Louisiana. They have a fresh approach to the Creole dance music traditions they are dedicated to preserving. Its leader accordionist fiddler and singer Jeffery Broussard was a mainstay in the famous Zydeco Force a group that took zydeco and Cajun roots and updated them for modern dance crowds without losing the feel of the original Creole zydeco gumbo.

Broussard’s Creole Cowboys take the music into the next generation still linked to the great roots music of such masters as legendary fiddler Canray Fontenot and Jeffery’s well-known accordionist father Delton Broussard. Joining Jeffery in the band’s frontline is fiddler and guitarist D’Jalma Garnier III a one-time student of Canray Fontenot.

Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys

With Fontenot’s passing in 1995, Garnier made it his mission to keep alive and spread this unique style of fiddle playing. The band’s debut CD Keeping the Tradition Alive was named top zydeco album of 2007 by Blues and Soul magazine.

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Cajun Accordion Master Belton Richard Dies at 77

Belton Richard

Louisiana accordionist and vocalist Belton Richard died on June 21, 2017. He was a well-known Cajun accordionist who recorded various hits.

Belton Richard was born on October 5, 1939 in Rayne, Louisiana. He formed the popular band The Musical Aces in 1959.

Belton Richard was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association’s Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2003, he was welcomed into the Acadian museum’s ‘Living Legends’ list. He also received the Cajun French Music Association’s ‘Male Vocalist of the Year’ award in 2004.

His discography includes I’m Back! (Swallow Records, 1996), Belton Richard, Vol. 2 (Swallow Records, 2000), Good N’ Cajun (Swallow Records, 2000), Louisiana Cajun Music (Swallow Records, 2000), Older the Wine the Finer the Taste (Swallow Records, 2003), Live at Jazzfest 2016 (Munck Music, 2016).

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Dr. John and Henry Butler to Perform at The Town Hall in NYC Tomorrow

Dr. John

Two of the finest performers of New Orleans Music are set to perform together at The Town Hall in New York City tomorrow, June 15, 2017. The concert is part of Blue Note Jazz Festival 2017.
Dr. John and Henry Butler will be accompanied by Dr. John’s acclaimed backing band, The Nitetrippers.

The latest work by multifaceted pianist and vocalist Dr. John is a 2-CD live set titled album, The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac and his Music, featuring well-known guests such as Bruce Springsteen, John Fogarty, Mavis Staples, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux.

 

Henry Butler

 

Butler is one of the greatest blues pianists in the United States. His most recent album is Vipers Drag (2014), with trumpeter and arranger Steven Bernstein and The Hot 9. It includes recreations of classics by Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton.

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Artist Profiles: Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

In 1977 the Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club in New Orleans began showcasing a traditional local brass band. It was a joining of two proud but antiquated traditions at the time: social and pleasure clubs dated back over a century to a time when black southerners could rarely afford life insurance and the clubs would provide proper funeral arrangements.

Brass bands, early predecessors of jazz as we know it, would often follow the funeral procession playing somber dirges then once the family of the deceased was out of hearing range, burst into jubilant dance tunes as casual onlookers danced in the streets.

By the late 1970s, few of either existed. The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club decided to assemble this group as a house band and over the course of these early performances, the seven-member ensemble adopted the venue’s name: the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Thirty years later, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a world famous music band whose name is synonymous with genre-bending romps and high-energy performances. They have revitalized the brass band sound in New Orleans and around the world progressing from local parties, clubs, baseball games and festivals in their early years to touring nearly constantly in the U.S. and in over 30 other countries on five continents.

The Dirty Dozen have been featured guests on albums by artists including David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Dr. John and the Black Crowes.

Discography

My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now (Concord Jazz 1984)
Live: Mardi Gras in Montreaux (Rounder 1986)
Voodoo (Columbia 1987)
The New Orleans Album (Columbia 1989)
Open Up: Whatcha Gonna Do for the Rest of Your Life (Columbia 1991)
Jelly (Columbia 1993)
Ears to the Wall (Mammoth 1996)
Buck Jump (Mammoth 1999)
Medicated Magic (Ropeadope Records 2002)
We Got Robbed: Live in New Orleans (2003)
Funeral for a Friend (Ropeadop 2004)
This is the Dirty Dozen Brass Band compilation (Shout! Factory 25)
What’s Going On (Shout! Factory 2006)
Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Vanguard 2007)
Twenty Dozen (Savoy Jazz 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger is a virtuoso fiddler, guitarist and outstanding singer. He was born in Eunice, Louisiana. Granger is Christine Balfa’s cousin and was the youngest member of Balfa Toujours. He recorded his debut CD for Rounder Records at the age of 15. He quickly became a reputable musician in the Cajun music scene and received several Cajun French Music association (CFMA) awards.

In 1999 Courtney joined Balfa Toujours on bass and fiddle playing together with the great Kevin Wimmer. Courtney also recorded with the legendary bluegrass musician Tim O’Brien.

Courtney’s repertoire includes Cajun and classic country tunes. His masterful fiddling and soulful singing has made him one of the most sought-after Cajun fiddlers, playing with renowned artists Jason Frey Dirk Powell and Horace Trahan. He joined the famous Cajun band The Pine Leaf Boys in summer 2008.

In 2016 he released Beneath Still Waters, his first solo country album.

Discography:

Un Bal Chez Balfa (Rounder, 1999)

Live at Whiskey River Landing, with Balfa Toujours (Rounder CD 696 2000)

Live at 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, with The Pine Leaf Boys (2009)

Back Home, with The Pine Leaf Boys (Valcour Records, 2010)

Live at Jazzfest 2012, with The Pine Leaf Boys (2012)

Danser, with The Pine Leaf Boys (2013)

Beneath Still Waters (Valcour Records, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Christine Balfa

Christine Balfa

 

Vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Christine Balfa is the daughter of the legendary Cajun fiddler Dewey Balfa. She is also the leader of Balfa Toujours.

She was born on June 28, 1968 and grew up playing triangle with her father Dewey. Christine learned music and language from the flourishing culture around Basile, Louisiana.

Balfa Toujours has become a well-established Cajun music band, recording several albums and performing throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

 

 

Christine Balfa appeared in the movie The Big Easy. She is also the founder and director of Louisiana Folk Roots, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Louisiana traditions.

In 2005, Christine Balfa was one of the founders of Bonsoir Catin, a roots music band based in southern Louisiana.

 

Discography:

Pop tu me parles toujours, with Balfa Toujours (Swallow 611, 1993)
A vieille Terre Haute, with Balfa Toujours (Swallow 3121, 1995)
Deux Voyages, with Balfa Toujours (Rounder CD 671, 1996)
Allons danser, with Bois Sec Ardoin (Rounder CD 681, 1998)
La Pointe, with Balfa Toujours (Rounder CD 686, 1998)
Live at Whiskey River Landing, with Balfa Toujours (Rounder CD 696, 2000)
Plays the Triangle (Valcour Records, 2009)
Blues à Catin, with BonSoir Catin (Bridgetown Records, 2006)
Vive L’Amour, with BonSoir Catin (Valcour Records, 2009)
Light the Stars, with BonSoir Catin (Valcour Records, 2014)
L’Aurore, with BonSoir Catin (Valcour Records, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Ray Abshire

Ray Abshire

 

Ray Abshire plays traditional Cajun dance music, performing regularly at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Festival International in Lafayette, where he lives. Currently, he leaves home only to play festivals and music camps. Born into a musical family – he is a cousin of Cajun great Nathan Abshire – Ray Abshire grew up during the South Louisiana “Dance Hall” era of the 1950s and 1960s and began playing professionally when he was 14.

He performed with all the well-known Cajun masters whose recordings form the foundation for students of Cajun music today; a highlight of his collaborations is the time he spent as accordion player with the legendary Balfa Brothers Band from 1969 to 1975.

Ray Abshire’s accordion style is traditional and he sings in the classic Cajun tenor high voice. Remaining true to the traditional sound he grew up with, Abshire draws from a large repertoire of songs rarely heard today, as featured on his CD, “For Old Times Sake” with fiddlers Courtney Granger and Kevin Wimmer on Swallow Records, released in 2003.

 

 

Discography

* For Old Times Sake (2004)

* Arrête Pas la Musique (Don’t Stop The Music) (Swallow Records, 2006)

* All night Long (Swallow Records, 2013)

* Cajun Accordion Kings (Valcour Records, 2017)

Web site: rayabshire.com

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Artist Profiles: Pine Leaf Boys

The Pine Leaf Boys

The Pine Leaf Boys, a remarkable band from southern Louisiana, play traditional Cajun and Creole music with new, unique arrangements.

The band features some of the finest players in the Cajun music scene. Accordion and fiddle player Wilson Savoy is the son of legends Marc and Ann Savoy, while master fiddler and superb singer Courtney Granger comes from the Balfa family lineage.

Bassist Thomas David was born and raised in Lafayette. He started playing drums professionally at age 8 alongside his father, Ken David, bassist with Jambalaya Cajun Band.

Discography

* La Musique (Arhoolie Records, 2006)
* Blues de Musicien (Arhoolie Records, 2007)
* Allons Boire Un Coup (Valcour, 2007)
* Homage Au Passe (Lionsgate Records, 2008)
* Live at 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (2009)
* Back Home (Valcour Records, 2010)
* Pine Leaf Boys (Valcour Records, 2010)
* Live at Jazzfest 2012 (Munck Mix, 2012)
* Danser (139th Broadway, 2013)
* Live at Jazzfest 2014 (Munck Music, 2014)
* Live at Jazzfest 2016 (Munck Music, 2016)

Web site http://www.pineleafboys.com

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Artist Profiles: Balfa Toujours

Balfa Toujours

The Balfa name brings up memories of the renowned Balfa Brothers, who took their Louisiana roots music from the prairies of Mamou to the far reaches of the world. Balfa Toujours (Balfa always) is making sure the name will keep its place for future generations.

Led by Christine Balfa, daughter of acclaimed Cajun fiddler Dewey Balfa, the group has taken generations of inspiration and created a vibrant sound all their own. Since coming together after Dewey’s passing in 1992, they’ve grown from a band known for its youth and passion into pillars of the traditional music community not only in Louisiana but throughout the folk music world. They’ve recorded several albums, appeared in numerous films and television shows, toured North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, enjoyed front cover features in roots music magazines, and taught classes in Cajun culture internationally, in both French and English.

Balfa Toujours cross many boundaries and perform in a wide array of styles, from rocking dancehalls to crowded festivals to informative concerts, without ever losing the joy of life that characterizes their culture.

Christine Balfa may be recognizable to some from her appearance in the film The Big Easy. She grew up playing triangle with her father Dewey and learned music and language from the thriving culture around Basile, Louisiana. Her singing is full of the raw emotion that enables the best Cajun singers to communicate powerful feelings directly to the heart. She collaborates on many of the group’s original songs and is the founder and director of Louisiana Folk Roots, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Louisiana traditions.

Discography

Pop tu me parles toujours (Swallow 611, 1993)
A vieille Terre Haute (Swallow 3121, 1995)
Deux Voyages (Rounder CD 671, 1996)
Allons danser, with Bois Sec Ardoin (Rounder CD 681)
La Pointe (Rounder CD 686, 1998)
Live at Whiskey River Landing (Rounder CD 696, 2000)

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