Author Archives: Dan Willging

Jamie Bergeron & the Kickin’ Cajuns, Live Like Dat!! (KC Entertainment)

It’s crazy but in the 14 years that Jamie Bergeron & the Kickin’ Cajuns have been in existence and built cred for its live shows, the group had never released a live disc. Until now. Still, it was worth the wait a solid document of over-the-top performances with no cheesy, dubbed-in crowd effects. The group attacks [...]

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Sweet Maegan: Fiddler Al Berard’s Legacy Lives On

“The greatest thing about us is that we love each other so much, there are no egos,” Maegan Berard says about the mostly acoustic trio she shares with older sister Laura Huval and first cousin Calli Guidry. “We have gotten to the point where we know how to communicate with each other.” They’ve been getting [...]

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Warren Storm / Willie Tee and Cypress, Swamp Pop Jukebox (Jin Records)

From a marketing perspective, Swamp Pop Jukebox is the perfect title for Warren Storm/Willie Tee and Cypress’ latest since it captures the genre’s unending fascination with romantic nostalgia. Yet, at the same time it’s hardly a jukebox full of ubiquitous covers either, since there’s a fair portion of newer and overlooked material. Interestingly, “Teardrops Over [...]

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A L’Afrique, Pay Day (Fruge Records)

Christened after a Mississippi John Hurt song, A L’Afrique symbolizes a cultural bridge of sorts that was years in the making. Mark Palms, executive producer of several Joe Hall zydeco discs and biological producer of New Orleans’ singer-songwriter Natalie Mae, traveled to Ghana with multi-instrumentalist/Ghana expat Kofi Ameyaw and recorded various natives playing on drums [...]

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Horace Trahan & the Ossun Express, …By Special Request (Maison de Soul)

After two thought-provoking, full-length albums and a Christmas EP, Horace Trahan does an about face with a baker’s dozen worth of predominantly covers—his most requested live tunes that span zydeco, Cajun, swamp pop, New Orleans Mardi Gras classics, R&B and country. Zydeco-ized renditions of Cajun chestnuts “Midland Two-Step” and “The Back Door” are blood-pumping exhilarating [...]

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Ryan Foret & the Foret Tradition, Someone Special (CSP Records)

It’s no mystery what Ryan Foret does. Instead of constantly crafting batches of new tunes and reinventing his sonic artistry, the 32-year-old swamp popper honors fans with choice covers of their requests instead of original material. Such a fan-oriented strategy accounts for the majority of songs on his fourth CSP affair, with Foret’s own predilections [...]

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Charlie Musselwhite, Juke Joint Chapel (Henrietta Records)

There’s always a fear among purists that the banal blues rockers of the world will dilute the sanctity of blues until it is mainstream pabulum. But as long as there are guardians of the genre like harmonica virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite, a stellar example of a blues framework will always exist. These dozen tracks represent a [...]

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Traditional Music in Coastal Louisiana by Joshua Clegg Caffery

Although the 1934 field recordings of father-and-son folklorists John and Alan Lomax helped preserve various forms of Southwest Louisiana’s traditional music, ironically no textual studies similar to the 1917 publication of English Folksongs from the Southern Appalachians have ever been done on this body of work—until now. A founding member of the Red Stick Ramblers [...]

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Gregg Martinez, Creole Soul (Louisiana Red Hot Records)

A power vocalist recalling elements of Sam Cooke, Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass, blue-eyed soul singer Gregg Martinez’s strength is in slow, emotion-drenching ballads where he can just let it rip at certain points during a song. But a whole album of that would be tough for most ears, which is one of Creole Soul’s [...]

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Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band, Destiny (Independent)

On his previous release, Nothin’ But the Best, Corey Ledet vowed to stop succumbing to popular demand and be comfortable in his own skin. Think of Destiny as an extension of that. He’s rooted in tradition (“Tip Top Two-Step,” “All Night Long”) but comfortable enough to innovate tastefully. Several tracks find him jammin’ on keys [...]

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