K. Jones & the Benzie Playboys, Oh Yeah (Hive Hill Records)

K. Jones and the Benzie Playboys, Oh Yeah, album cover

Zydeco musicians are tough critics when it comes to bestowing praise upon their peers, let alone out-of-state practitioner such as K. Jones & the Benzie Playboys. But as Joe Hall can attest, the boys from Northern Michigan are not only respectful of the culture but they also get it right while throwing it down, party-style. Several tracks on Oh Yeah are sung in Creole French; a few feature a fiddle alongside the accordion for an old-time la la feel and there are a couple of pristine Cajun twin-fiddle duets with beautiful harmonies. Accordionist K. Jones pumps his box in a crunchy Creolesque style and oftentimes there’s a Keith Frank-type rhythmic jangle bouncing about, such as on “Ann Cayenne,” which closes with a novel a cappella outro. While the group honors tradition, it’s not afraid to gracefully innovate within the paradigm. “Quo’ Fair” thrusts to a Rasta beat; a slide guitar moans on Boozoo Chavis’ “Tee Black;” and “Pine Grove Blues” seems like how it would be played if Widespread Panic was in the room. Normally, combinations like this spell disaster but for the Benzie Playboys, it’s just another day at the office. Oh yeah!