Category Archives: Accordion

Terrance Simien

Artist Profile:

Terrance Simien

terrance_simien_1The driving rhythm in zydeco music has earned it a reputation as a dance music able to instantly create a party atmosphere. Despite the music’s appeal, zydeco music has lacked a true crossover artist - one who is able to carry the genre into the mainstream. Terrance Simien is well primed to become that first artist. Not only a zydeco master (he can rock a groove as hard as any contemporary zydeco performer), Terrance’s soulful singing allows him to rise above the crowd as a world class vocalist.

Terrance Simien is not only a zydeco master, but a soulful crooner with an emotional spirit based deep in the rural Louisiana Creole culture. He sets himself apart from most zydeco artists by writing original music instead of interpreting standards. A hit at festivals and performances around the world, Simien's band rocks with a driving rhythm full of energy ...sure to get a crowd dancing!

Simien grew up in Mallet, Louisiana, where his church introduced him to the spiritual power of making music. Just down the street was one of the region's wildest roadhouses and, as a teenager, Simien discovered its low-down, tail-shaking party music: zydeco. The musical style born of the Creole culture which mixed African, French, Spanish and Indian heritages into hot food and music. Simien picked up an accordian, put a band together and started playing at the roadhouse.

Soon, Terrance Simien and his Mallet Playboys knew they had to leave the poor backwoods. At 17, Simterrance_simien_2ien hit the highway with his squeezebox. Fifteen years later, he and his band travel the world performing at more than 35 festivals a year, including an annual appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Add club shows, recordings, and a movie (1987's "The Big Easy") and you have one of today's hottest zydeco artists.

For one thing, Simien's voice is just terrific. At times it has a Sam Cooke type quality as in the song "Paradise" on the Beadhead album and other times, an Aaron Neville sound as in the song, "This Old Road." These were the singers who first caught Simien's attention as a kid. Then when he was in his teens, his bricklayer dad took him to a dance hall in Opelousas. Simien liked what he saw and heard, especially from the accordion player. After that memorable introduction, Simien bought an accordion, began taping songs on the radio and as he put it, "picked up what he could."

While his music is homegrown roots music straight from the Louisiana bayou—Mallet, Louisiana about 75 miles from Baton Rouge, to be exact, Simien freely incorporates influences from many other musical genres. This collaboration—which some term a Zydeco blend—is giving Simien's Zydeco music a long and healthy life, enabling Simien to break out of the regional box that might imprison other roots-bound artists. Simien has not forsaken his roots—the French Creole music of Louisiana. Just listen to the traditional French Creole tune, "Jolie Blonde" on Positively Beadhead. But at the same time, Simien's not letting his roots put him in a choke hold either. Because of the blend of his music, everybody seems to be claiming a piece of Simien—the blues world is claiming Simien as a blues artist; others hear the Caribbean influence and relate his music to Island music.

Still others see him as an R & B artist; others feel a jazz beat in his music. This makes for lots of CD sales, more air time, and most importantly to Simien, more fans across the globe. One of the things Simien likes most is to get concert fans out on the dance floor—after all, getting up and dancing to the music is as rooted in Creole culture as any aspect of his music. To get hesitant fans off their fannies, Simien throws strings of beads into the audience—beads like those thrown at Mardi gras. Thus, the name of his new album, Positively Beadhead, refers to those party goers who collect Mardi gras beads. In performance, Simien is as much to be seen as heard—sweating and dancing, tossing his head from side to side, with his long hair streaming behind. He's wild! And the more the public sees of him, the wilder they get for Simien and his brand of Zydeco music. Simien's career started in 1981 when he formed The Mallet Playboys and began playing regionally in Louisiana. He paid his dues on the regional circuit and made his first U.S. and Canada tour in 1985. People and critics across the country really started listening to the fresh talent of this young budding star who introduced them to what was then a relatively new music style, Zydeco.

 

of this young budding star who introduced them to what was then a relatively new music style, Zydeco.

 

Roy Carrier

Artist Profile:

Roy Carrier

roy_carrier_1Combining the sublime with the explosive, Roy Carrier and the Night Rockers simultaneously play two dynamic forms of Louisiana music, Zydeco and the Blues. Roy's family, the Carriers, are one of the great musical Creole clans of the Atchafalaya Basin. Roy, kinsman to both Zydeco king Clifton Chenier and fiddler Bebe Carrier, sings and plays accordion in many styles: modern Zydeco, old time La-La, rock 'n' roll and pure blues. Accompanied by his son Troy on drums, old friend Raymond on guitar, nephews Ronald and Kevin on bass and scrub board, Roy and the Night Rockers sprinkle some hot pepper on an irrepressible musical gumbo.

Roy Carrier and The Night Rockers are one of the most exciting live acts on the Zydeco club and festival circuit. The "Grand Master" of zydeco-blues is more than accessible to his fans and admirers, and he spent considerable time mingling with the overflowing crowd that came to pay tribute to his legend or learn what Zydeco was all about from one of the originators.

roy_carrier_2Roy Carrier’s roots in rural Zydeco are about deep as anyone’s, extending back through the Carri?re family to the beginnings of Creole music in the Lawtell-Opelousas area, where Clifton Chenier also grew up. Today, according to the Journal, Roy Carrier and the Night Rockers are playing a circuit that usually includes Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and New York. In fact, six of the cuts on his 2001 CD Whiskey-Drinkin’ Man were recorded at a town hall in Maryland (and another album, Twist and Shout, was recorded at clubs in Washington). The band also travels just about everywhere else across the country, but home base for Roy Carrier remains his Offshore Lounge in Lawtell, a legendary Zydeco club where, from time to time during holidays, members of the extended Carrier family gather for a musical reunion.

Carrier first learned to play after his father bought an accordion from Cajun musician Nathan Abshire. According to his account of his musical beginnings as transcribed by Michael Tisserand in Kingdom of Zydeco, Roy sneaked off with the accordion and played it in the barnyard, hoping his father would not find out. His father whipped him one time, but then decided to let him play. Carrier, who can also play guitar, formed the first version of the Night Rockers when he was 14. According to the Right on Rhythm biography, he lost half of his index finger in a farm machinery accident had to relearn the accordion by developing a unique technique of "crossing" chords. He did not purchase his own accordion until he was 25.

For about 15 years, he supported his family by working as an offshore roughneck in the oil industry. His seven-on, seven-off schedule still allowed him to find time to perform. He purchased the club that became the Offshore Lounge in 1981. Carrier first began recording for producer Lee Lavergne in Church Point. His Lanor cassette, Rocking with Roy, was released in 1990, with material from the cassette also included in the 1991 CD Soulful Side of Zydeco, which also has songs by Joe Walker. Carrier’s CDs offer a good sampling of classic Zydeco sounds, at times rough and gritty, bluesy or joyous, but always with a strong, irresistible Zydeco rhythm.

Kenny Menard

Artist Profile:

Kenny Menard

kenny_menard_1Kenny Menard: Sometimes known as "The Cajun Crooner" Kenny Menard keeps quite busy on the West Coast in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada at dance halls, concerts, dance camps, festivals and events. The Kenny Menard Zydeco band was also a long time fixture as the featured lounge Zydeco act at the Las Vegas Orleans Hotel and Casino. Hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana Kenny is a fourth generation Cajun musician and sings both in English and French. Last year he was one of the featured performers on Zydeco Cruise '98 and was invited back for Zydeco Cruise '99.

Kenny Menard is a fourth generation Cajun musician from Lafayette, Louisiana playing the accordion and singing in Cajun French and English. His music includes the infectious danceable beat of his roots, Cajun & Zydeco, the soulful sounds of his deep sexy Blues and the rejuvenated very popular Swing. Kenny recorded his first CD live at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has shared the stage with such greats as: Buckwheat Zydeco, Queen Ida, John Delafose, Sam Butera & the Witnesses, Big Tiny Little, The Treniers and many others. "When Kenny comes a knocking, The house starts a rocking!"kenny_menard_2

Bonne Musique Zydeco (BMZ), literally "good zydeco music," is a 5-member band specializing in the Creole music of Louisiana and east Texas. BMZ draws upon the style of traditional Cajun and Creole musicians, and the influences of the blues and New Orleans artists of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s to create a blend of music designed for dancing.

BMZ draws upon the style of traditional Cajun and Creole musicians, and the influences ofthe blues and New Orleans artists of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s to create a blend of music designed for dancing.

Hunter Hayes

Artist Profile:

Hunter Hayes

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Meet Hunter Hayes, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed eleven year old from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Hunter loves to play his accordion and to sing Cajun French songs. He has always enjoyed music preferably fast French accordion music.

When Hunter was two years old, he began entertaining audiences by playing his accordion and tapping his foot to the beat. At two and a half he was singing Cajun French songs with a local band. Just before his third birthday, Hunter performed for the "Le Cajun" Awards for the Cajun French Music Association (CFMA) at the Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette, Louisiana. By the age of three, he had appeared in three local commercials, and entertained hundreds of music lovers across Southern Louisiana and Texas.

At the age of four, Hunter appeared on the nationally televised TBS special called "Roots of Country", where he is shown singing with Jo-El Sonnier. He also appeared in the music video "Fais-Do-Do" with Jo-El Sonnier and Eddy Raven shown on the CMT Network.

Shortly after his fifth birthday, Hunter released his first Cajun Music recording (recorded at the age of four). He continued to entertain music lovers across the United States through television, radio, newspapers and even magazines. Hunter became interested in acting after he completed taping for a part in the movie "The Apostle" with Robert Duvall. He appeared and performed on the Nashville Network's Primetime Country during Kid's and Family week. During Country Fest '97 he performed at the Texas Motor Speedway with Hank Williams Jr.. He also appeared and performed on FOX After Breakfast with Vicki Lawerence and was featured on CNN Headline News.

After his sixth birthday, he performed on the Rosie O'Donnell Show and was featured in People Magazine. He worked with both Robert Urich and Ed Lover shooting pilot shows for each. Later he received "The Best New Cajun Band or Performer" Award presented by Offbeat Magazinhunter_hayes_2e. Hunter was a guest on the "LIVE" with Regis and Kathy Lee show, where he and his band performed as the house band for the entire show. He was also a contestant on the Nickelodeon game show "FIGURE-IT-OUT" and a guest on the TNN special "The Oak Ridge Boys Live in Las Vegas". He performed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show.

At the age of eight, Hunter performed in Italy for Bravo Bravissimo (an Italian show featuring children from various countries). He was also a guest on the "Maury Show" and was featured on the cover of Trans Western Publishing Company's Lafayette Regional Telephone Book. Hunter and his band (Louisiana H.O.T.) performed at the White House for the Congressional Picnic. He was featured in the Louisiana Tourism print ad and commercial as well as the National Geographic World book (Sept. 1999 issue). Hunter released his second CD which contains two original songs written by Hunter. He enjoys songwriting and is continuously working on songs for his next CD.

Shortly before the age of nine, Hunter and his band performed for the National Democratic Party in Washington, D.C.. Now at the age of nine, he has performed for the NOKIA Sugar Bowl halftime show and continues to perform across Louisiana and the U.S. with his band called "Louisiana H.O.T.". He has performed at the world famous Liberty Theatre in Eunice, Louisiana. Hunter has made appearances with some of the finest musicians in Cajun French music as well as Country music, such as; Wayne Toups, Steve Riley, The Lil' Cajun Band, Karlo et amis, Jambayla, The Basin Brothers, Belton Richard, Lee Benoit, Richard LeBouef and Two Step, Joe Douglas, Blackie Forestier, Mark Wills, Kenny Chesney, Charlie Daniels, Brad Paisley, Jo-El Sonnier, Lee Roy Parnell, Eddy Raven, Hank Williams, Jr., Branscombe Richmond, Glenn Jacquneaux, Waylon Thibodeaux and more. Hunter Hayes is the son of Leo and Lynette Hayes.

ddy Raven, Hank Williams, Jr., Branscombe Richmond, Glenn Jacquneaux, Waylon Thibodeaux and more. Hunter Hayes is the son of Leo and Lynette Hayes.

Brian Jack

Artist Profile:

Brian Jack

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Brian Christopher Jack is from Dayton, Texas and was born on August 10, 1979 to Eugene and Geneva Jack. At the young age of 13, Brian picked up his first instrument, the guitar. Having family members who were great musicians, it was a challenge for Brian to follow in their footsteps. Brian's love and passion for Zydeco landed him a job in his uncle's zydeco band, The Zydeco Two-Step. While Brian was a sophomore in high school, he decided that he did not want to limit himself to the guitar so he picked up an accordion. With his dedication and commitment to music, he taught himself to play the accordion. Three months later, he formed his own zydeco band, Brian Jack and the Zydeco Two-Step. Throughout the course of a year, Brian went through many musicians before his band eventually became Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers. Today, Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers consist of five members: Eugene Jack, Jr., Brian's brother, on drums and background vocals; Jody Lemelle, on rubboard and background vocals; Ben Black on lead guitar; Anthony Rowell on bass guitar; Brian Jack on accordion and lead vocals. brian_jack_2

Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers have played in Texas, Louisiana, Nevada, California, Washington and many other states. Their media appearances include: Texas Justice on Fox, Weeknight Addition on PBS and many morning news shows. They have also performed at many major festivals including: The Big Easy Festival in Sparks, Nevada, The Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival in Plaisance, Louisiana, Zydecopalooza in Humble, Texas, The Original Zydeco Festival in Crosby, Texas, Conroe Catfish Festival in Conroe, Texas, and The Old Town Spring Crawfish Festival in Spring, Texas. You can catch Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers around town in Houston, Texas at Jax Bar and Grill, Rawhide Saloon, Arthur's Ice House, Club BMW, Dusters Saloon, Catholic Churches, Trailrides and of course the hole in the wall clubs!