Bonsoir, Catin, Vive L’Amour (Valcour)

With their auspicious 2007 debut, Bonsoir, Catin established themselves among the creative forces in Cajun music. The group’s sophomore effort wastes no time in strengthening that perception, opening with an audience-participatory Old World-style French drinking song adapted from a 1950s a cappella recording (“Mon Aimable Brune”) culled from the ULL Archives. Similarly, “J’amerais Sentir Comme Ca Chez Moi” is a practically forgotten Dolly Parton tune accordionist Kristi Guillory translated into French and performs as a duet with Pine Leaf Boys’ Courtney Granger, who was really in touch with his honky tonk side that day in the studio.

Though they salute the dancehall tradition with ripping renditions of “73 Special” and “Le Moulin,” some of the best moments occur beyond those rickety wooden floors and dusty rotgut shelves. “Un Bouquet de Camélias” is austere and powerful, featuring primarily voice and acoustic guitar. It was inspired by a father’s poetic letter to his dying, young daughter. He’ll leave her a bouquet of camellias— because that’s what she always gave him—to accompany her into the afterlife.

Beautiful songs aside, the Catins are also just plain fun. Christine Balfa Powell sings DL Menard’s “Listen to Me When I Talk to You,” a humorous, shuffling song that, paraphrased, says that the world really does begin at sunup, not after sundown. The song that makes the best tongue-in-cheek statement from a woman’s perspective is Guillory’s rousing “Je Suis Pas Apres Chercher.” The protagonist is not looking for a husband or even a one-night stand; just buy her some whiskey, damn it.