Author Archives: Dan Willging

Beth Patterson, Forward (

There’s a million ways to listen music these days so leave it to Beth Patterson to concoct another. Her latest full-length offering is not available on CD or even vinyl but alternatively on a blue, cause-style, elastic wristband where the latch is really a jump drive containing both MP3’s and M3U’s of all original material [...]

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Lil’ Nathan & the Zydeco Big Timers, Darkness to Light: It Is What It Is (Cha Cha Records)

Since releasing his debut Zydeco Ballin’ at age 14, Lil’ Nathan has progressed to headliner status alongside contemporaries Keith Frank and Chris Ardoin. His latest is also an indication of how far modern zydeco has progressed as well, with only handful of tracks being the classic, older school variety. “Back to the Woods” is the [...]

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Poor Man’s Fortune, Bayou Curious (Speak Jolly Music)

Although Poor Man’s Fortune, which includes New Orleans’ singer-songwriter-bouzoukist Beth Patterson, is best known for its Breton music from Brittany, France, on Bayou Curious, the group mixes Cajun fare with traditional Breton instrumentation that includes its indigenous shrieky bombarde, estimably the word’s loudest instrument, for an interesting French cultural fusion. After Patterson’s short intro of [...]

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Lemon Nash, Papa Lemon (Arhoolie Records)

Though his commercial discography has been scant, this 27-track collection recorded 1959-1961 by folklorist Dr. Harry Oster and jazz archivist Dick Allen should raise public awareness of this colorful and unusual New Orleans jazzman named Lemon Nash. He was one of the few to ever pluck a ukulele professionally and was part of traveling medicines [...]

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The Magnolia Sisters, Love Lies (Arhoolie Records)

Over the course of three decades and six albums, the Magnolia Sisters has become an institution of integrity, one not interested in any pop sensibility, but a predilection for vital cultural aspects essential to the genre. This time out, the Sisters salute the ’30s string bands who dropped the accordion to align with its Américain [...]

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Bruce Daigrepont: A Cajun in New Orleans

Not many people can single-handedly take credit for popularizing a genre but Bruce Daigrepont rightfully can for introducing Cajun music and dance to New Orleans’ non-Cajun, “hippified” contingent in the ’80s. A by-product of a Cajun French-speaking family who migrated from Avoyelles Parrish to the city, Daigrepont grew up playing guitar and banjo. It wasn’t [...]

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Dan Willging’s Dispatches from Jazz Fest 2014

Editor’s Note: Longtime OffBeat contributor Dan Willging flew to New Orleans with his wife Julie Willging for the second weekend of Jazz Fest 2014. A colorful character himself, Dan chronicled these two Jazz Fest characters on Thursday, May 1. Eddie Arnold may have sung “A Bouquet of Roses,” but every year for the past 30 [...]

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Van Broussard, The Final Curtain (CSP Records)

After 61 years of performing, though not necessarily all in swamp pop, Van Broussard finally called it quits last year. Since not all of the rest of the world got the memo, the septuagenarian went into the studio to record his final album, hence the title’s underlying message. Other than the reprisal of his biggest [...]

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Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble, Zydeco Confessions (Louisiana Soul Records)

Ask Curley Taylor where he fits in the zydeco circuit these days and he’ll talk about being an artist having to satisfy both the local crowd and the old-school contingent on the road. So naturally, one might surmise that Zydeco Confessions would reflect that split-demographic blend but actually it’s skewed, by design, towards the younger, [...]

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Waylon Thibodeaux, Back in My Old Stompin’ Grounds (Rabadash Records)

With songs about Tabasco, fishing and mudbugs, Waylon Thibodeaux’s latest Cajun-country effort is bound to have widespread commercial appeal, regardless if the listener’s a Southeast Louisiana native, a first-time tourist, or even a Jayhawker in America’s heartland who’s never ventured beyond Kansas City. Yet, of this obvious hook-filled affair, nothing is as clever as “Heaven [...]

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