Author Archives: Dan Willging

Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys, No Guarantee (Swallow Records)

It’s hard to image Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys sounding any better than it did on 2010’s Cravin’ Cajun, where everything fit neatly into place. Despite the tragic passing of mega-talented bassist/vocalist Seth Guidry, Naquin somehow pulls it off again with a few new members: drummer Andre Gary and steel-guitarist Marty Broussard (veteran sideman [...]

Comments (0) | Posted in Reviews

Smoky Babe, Way Back in the Country Blues (Arhoolie Records)

Unlike his Baton Rouge-area contemporaries Robert Pete Williams, Butch Cage and Willie B. Thomas, Smoky Babe (aka Robert Brown) never made it to the blues-revival stages of the ’60s, nor was he part of the cadre of bluesmen like Slim Harpo, Lightnin’ Slim and Lazy Lester that defined Louisiana blues in the late ’50s. It’s [...]

Comments (0) | Posted in Reviews

Terry & the Zydeco Bad Boys, Back on Track (Lockdowne Records)

Back on Track is Terry and the Zydeco Bad Boys’ first disc in the six years after frontman Terry Domingue took a hiatus before regrouping with former Beau Jocque sidemen Chuck Bush (bass), Eric Minix (drums) and Michael Lockett (keys). Add journeyman-guitarist Kent Pierre-August to the fold and such an arsenal gives Domingue plenty of [...]

Comments (0) | Posted in Reviews

Travis Matte & the Kingpins, X (Mhat Productions)

Travis Matte’s 10th release, X, commemorates his cross over the river to zydeco. Think of this one as a composite sketch of South Louisiana fare done in the muscular Matte party-down style with an occasional southern or metal-ish rock guitar solo thrown in for good measure. He mixes in the familiar, like basing “Country Girls” [...]

Comments (0) | Posted in Reviews

Truckstop Honeymoon, The Madness of Happiness (Squirrel Records)

Rock stars are famous for epic life styles and devastating personal losses, such as divorce and family separation. Despite mixing Byrds-esque moments and radio-friendly pop hooks into its otherwise hillbilly-folk demeanor, Truckstop Honeymoon’s Mike and Katie West are no rock stars, which explain why the music biz has worked for them for so long. The [...]

Comments (0) | Posted in Reviews

Yvette Landry, Me & T-Coe’s Country (Soko Music)

Steel-guitar shaman Richard Comeaux has been part of Yvette Landry’s country aggregation for a few years, but when Landry needed a duo partner for the smaller gigs a year-and-a-half ago, playing with T-Coe (as he’s alternatively known) just clicked. Obviously it clicks here, too, on this predominantly one-of-a-kind vintage country affair. Many of the classics, [...]

Comments (0) | Posted in Reviews

Jo-El Sonnier, The Legacy (Takau Records)

Jo-El Sonnier wrote and recorded his first song “Tes Yeux Bleu,” now an immortal classic, as a precocious 11-year-old. Only now 57 years later, following an illustrious career as a Nashville recording artist/sideman and several Grammy-nominated traditional Cajun albums, does Sonnier deliver his first recording of all Cajun-French originals, 14 years in the making. Hence [...]

Comments (0) | Posted in Reviews

Bonsoir, Catin, Light the Stars (Valcour Records)

As evidenced by these seven songs written/co-written by Bonsoir, Catin’s Kristi Guillory, her writing isn’t confined to any particular style but roams from exhilarating dancehall and intestinal-ripping bluesy swamp pop to arty stuff that’s more suitable for listening, like the atmospheric ballad “Je vais jamais faire ça.” A couple of songs utilize a vibraphone for [...]

Comments (0) | Posted in Reviews

The Revelers, The Revelers Play the Swamp Pop Classics Vol. I (Independent)

On this four-track, vinyl-only EP, the Revelers maneuver through a diverse set of arrangements with an atypical swamp-pop arsenal that includes accordion and fiddle. A rollicking rendition of “Let the Good Times Roll” kicks off the proceedings and is sung in both English and French—just as Clifton Chenier used to do. But instead of being [...]

Comments (0) | Posted in Reviews

Smithfield Fair, Companions (Stevenson Productions)

Over the course of 41 years as Charmer and its successor Smithfield Fair, the Brothers Smith (Dudley-Brian, Bob and Joel) have not always had the luxury of performing together at the same time. Six tracks find all the Smiths (plus Dudley-Brian’s wife Jan) making new music together, which is among the most enjoyable stuff this [...]

Comments (0) | Posted in Reviews