As explained on the opening Chinese-themed “Intro” track, the dragon symbolizes prosperity, auspicious power and good fortune in East Asian culture. When it comes to zydeco accordionists, Corey Ledet is truly a dragon, one of the best ever to strap on the bulky piano note squeezebox. His tenth disc showcases his rich, dazzling technique and abundant creativity, as evidenced by the Clifton Chenier–inspired “Dragon’s Boogie,” the old-school drum-whipping “Muscle Zydeco” and the funky “Mom Sue” where he unleashes a hellacious, scorching tear. Interestingly, he slows the pace down on “Dragon’s Blues” to really dig deep into the lower registers for a mood-altering, hypnotic effect.
But as much as Ledet’s the accordion dragon, he’s also the songwriting dragon, with this being his first all-original affair. Based on the initial tracks, one might surmise this is Ledet’s return-to-roots CD, but there was never any premeditation to do that. It’s more about how he felt, which explains the contemporary selections like “I Just Want to Be Your Loving Man.” The duet with Breannah Richard on “I Never Meant to Fall in Love” is quite the believable love story with playful interaction between the vocalists.
Also among the highlights are Axel’s arty jazz fusion bass lines and the lip-splitting horn section who help embellish the beautiful sentiment of “Erika Potier’s Waltz.” Compared to Ledet’s previous effort, Standing on Faith, Accordion Dragon feels more artistically comfortable, achieving a rootsy-modern balance that Ledet should continue to le