Horace Trahan, All the Way (Independent)

Horace Trahah, All the Way, album cover

Horace Trahan’s 2010 disc Keep Walking was not only brilliant, it revealed how Trahan had elevated his game a few notches during his hiatus. With 14 originals co-written by Trahan and wife Chantelle, he continues to distinguish himself from the rest of the pack while pumping out compelling zydeco that straddles both old school and nouveau camps. Most songs take the novel approach by being bilingual (French and English); a few, like the fast-and-furious “Sassy Drunk,” are entirely in French. Having a saxophonist in the lineup isn’t exactly common these days but alternating on flute, as reedman Doug Garb does, is practically unheard of. Oftentimes the flautist plays in unison with Trahan’s accordion for a somewhat African vibe. On the hip-hop-ish “Don’t Stop the Muzik,” Trahan’s rapping implores a DJ to keep the music spinning as he plays these quirky yet cool Caribbean-sounding riffs.

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No doubt Trahan manages to pull in his peeps. Think of the earth-rumbling “Who’s the Champ? (Tailgate Party)” as the sequel to Trahan’s “High School Breakdown.” Yet, he leaves it up to interpretation as to whom the champ could be and ties it into one of the album’s key concepts: Go all the way, the new normal for “go for it.” Trahan’s messages are often inspirational without being preachy, as evidenced by various self-explanatory titles (“Keep Your Head Up,” “The Sky is the Limit”). He makes good points—live now, not in the past (“These Are The Good Ole Days”)—and stands up for Louisiana’s French Immersion programs on “School is Cool” that features children’s voices singing joyfully with Trahan over a funky parade beat. Trahan’ s creative concoctions translate as a party with a purpose.