Joe Hall & the Cane Cutters’ Aye Cher Catin is the group’s third official offering on the Michigan-based Fruge Records that is coincidentally helmed by Cane Cutters’ guitarist Mark Palms. But unlike Hall’s previous releases on Fruge Records, this one benefitted by being recorded at Palms’ Michigan studio, alleviating the need to lug recording equipment to South Louisiana as in the past. Given the luxury of added, unhurried time, these eight tracks could be the finest yet recorded by the husky-voiced Creole powerhouse accordionist, who plays with incredible ornamentation.
The proceedings practically explode out of the chute with “Un Jour Avnir Tu Vas Souffert,” and Hall’s own road cruiser concoction “Between Eunice & Mamou.” Interestingly, the latter features a couple of breakdowns where the rhythm section drops out, leaving Hall and fiddler Marshall Baker to play the intricate melody in unison. Eventually, Palms joins in with his nimble finger picking, floating across the strings like a ballerina. Forest Huval also plays twin fiddles with Baker.
Propelled by Paul Lavan’s whipping snare and Carol Palms’ unifying acoustic bass plucking, Hall salutes his heroes on several tracks. “Creole Medley” strings together “Soileau Two-Step,” “Zydeco Gris Gris,” and “Shoe Fly” into a tip of the hat to Carlton Frank, “Bois Sec” Ardoin, and Freeman Fontenot, respectively. The melodic “Un Jour Avnir Tu Vas Souffert” comes from the recently departed Nolton Semien, while the title track was a tune of grandfather Clement “King” Ned, who was recorded by the Library of Congress. Hall maybe taking throwback Creole music to new heights, but only with the realization he’s part of a proud, rich tradition.