Throughout her career, Cajun renaissance woman Ann Savoy has championed Cleoma Breaux Falcon, who recorded the genre’s first song, “Allons à Lafayette,” with husband Joe Falcon in 1928. As time went on, Falcon experimented with hillbilly, jazz and blues. So when it came time to fill the role of Cleoma in playwright Carolyn Woosley’s monologue play Cleoma, there wasn’t a better choice than Savoy. In conjunction with the play, Savoy recorded this eight-song EP: six songs Cleoma recorded and two lovely originals imagined in the spirit of Cajun music’s first heroine.
Though Savoy’s known as a white-knuckled guitarist chunking out rhythms via barre chords, here she also plays fiddle, t-fer and accordion on four songs. Her old-timey accordion playing has a delightfully raw edge unlike today’s slicker dancehall variety, and is replete with honking bass notes. Among the accordion-driven tunes are the rockin’ “Prends Donc Courage” and the waltzing “Mon Coeur T’Appelle,” better known as “J’ai Passé Devant ta Port.”
Four songs are sans accordion, stringband style and are fueled by son Joel’s frolicking fiddling, Lee Tedrow’s slide/steel guitar and Glenn Fields’ whacking fuzzed beats. Of Savoy’s originals, “Je sera fidele a quiqu’un que moi j’aime” speaks poignantly of eternal, unrequited love while the drifty, Hawaiian-flavored “Lettres D’amour Dans le Sable” expresses how love can quickly wash away. While this EP leaves you craving more, Cleoma couldn’t have had better representation than what she has here.