For more than 80 years, a member of the Ardoin family has been recording Creole accordion music or the modern dance sound it gave birth to, zydeco. This rich tradition flows back to the cousin of Sean Ardoin’s grandfather (Bois Sec Ardoin), Amedé Ardoin and his seminal recordings of the ’20s and ’30s.
In the ’90s, Sean and his brother Chris became purveyors of the modern, bass-drum beat, which became their band name, Double Clutchin’. A split in ’99 sparked Sean to form an even funkier band, Zydekool, before a spiritual awakening in 2005 pushed Sean to new musical territory, Christian zydeco, and the band R.O.G.K. (Reflections of God’s Kingdom.)
Sean may still do an occasional church gig. But his new release makes no secret of his funky zydeco resurrection, Return of the Kool. From the first cut, “In Here Tonite,” he proclaims “I’m back” and urges the crowd to the dance floor.
Dancers can make a joyful noise with all original cuts, like the inspirational “Y.O.G.O.S. (You Only Get One Shot),” “Beautiful” and “Bayou Man,” which borrows from J. Paul’s “I’m a Texas Man.” But not all songs fly at 100 miles per hour, especially mid-tempo ballads like “Wide Open” and “Our Love.”
In fact, some listeners may wonder if they’re even listening to zydeco. Sean’s accordion often takes a back seat to arrangements that feature piano, organ, guitar and vocal harmonies.
Sean music’s is light years away from the rustic French music of Amedé. But true to his family’s legacy, Sean may be laying the foundation for the next generation of Ardoins and their disciples.