Chubby Carrier, Zydeco Junkie (Swampadellic)

Chubby Carrier, Zydeco Junkie (Swampadellic Records)Chubby Carrier has spent a career perfecting his party package live shows, so it stands to reason that this would be more of the same, right? No, not quite. Carrier does do his best job ever reaching out to a diverse demographic with a variety of hooks. The breezy dance rendition of Bad Company’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love” will likely appeal to aging, knock-kneed rockers. On “My Zydeco Shoes,” modern country devotees will give thumbs up to Jamie Bergeron’s Nashville-radio-ready vocals. Additionally, there’s guitar-cranked funk, a peppy instrumental and poignant R&B. Carrier’s singing is much more focused this time out; the background vocals are full, crisp and tight while the Ivan Klisanin-engineered sound has the bottom-end smacking hard like it’s supposed to.

But keep in mind that while Carrier’s a third-generation zydeco musician, he’s not bound by his cultural music. The album’s biggest surprise arrives on “Touch Me Touch Me Baby.” Keyboardist Keith Clement alternates classic New Orleans piano fill-in with enchanting salsa melodies. Smart move, because if zydeco is going to continue to flourish, it needs more alliances with like-minded genres. Experimental fusion is encouraged and this is a step in the right direction.