Archive Files of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Musicians
Posted between 1999 and 2008

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    Acadien Cajun Band

Click here for high res versions of photos of the Acadien Cajun Band posted on Flickr.

Acadien 2007 CD: All Night Long

Go to the Official Page of the Acadien Cajun Band for more information on the band and current band members.

All Night Long, the 2007 CD released by the Acadien Cajun Band, builds on their first recording with more traditional songs, sometimes with new lyrics, along with three new songs by Ryan Simon, the band’s founder.

“Une fois trop,” one of the new songs, is a bouncy blues about regretting ever getting into a relationship with an unfaithful woman.  “I Will Be Waiting,” written by Ryan and his brother Drew, takes a traditional tune and adds new lyrics on the familiar theme of the anguish of separation. In contrast, Ryan Simon’s “All Night Long,” the title cut, is a truly joyous celebration of what the future will bring, as the singer looks forward to a night with the woman he loves and tells her “La vie est la notre pour la chercher. Sourire, rire, et s’amuser!”

The other songs on the CD offer new versions of traditional songs. Basile native Brandon Moreau is a master of the Balfa style, pared down to its beautiful essence in “Chère Bassette,” with Ryan on guitar as the only accompaniment to Brandon’s fiddle and vocals. Brandon also handles the lead vocals on “Married to One and in Love with Another."

“La valse des Frugés” by Dennis McGee begins, appropriately enough, with twin fiddles, followed by some new lyrics, and concluding with the rest of the band joining in. Both that tune and “Mad McGee” (a Dennis McGee medley) include fiddler Robin Bruck, a German native who now lives in Eunice.

On “Nonc Charlot,” Brandon and Ryan play “dueling fiddles,” each carrying the melody. The band’s recording of the Balfa Brothers’ “Fiddlesticks” that ordinarily is performed by beating the rhythm on the fiddle with sticks takes a new approach: the fiddlestick beat was dubbed in using a pair of Japanese chopsticks. “Une livre de tabac,” with vocals accompanied only by fiddle and guitar, is a ballad with somewhat nonsensical lyrics about love and tobacco at Nonc Bob’s house, sung to a very old tune that will be immediately recognizable to most listeners as“Jack o’Diamonds” or “Rye Whiskey.”

Drew Simon handles the vocals on “Lake Charles Two-Step,” a traditional song that remains popular with both Cajun and Creole dancers. Other songs include Rodney LeJeune’s “I’m Not to Blame,” which features the high-pitched vocals aching with sorrow that are part of the tradition of Cajun music, and “Cankton Two-Step,” an instrumental.

Their second CD confirms that the Acadien Cajun Band excels in performing a variety of Cajun music, from roots music out of the folk tradition, to dancehall tunes, to original songs, and whatever they do sounds good because these young musicians are both talented and committed.

In addition to Ryan and Brandon, other members of the band are Dwayne Michaud on acoustic guitar; Jay Miller on drums; and Joe Romero on bass guitar.

Shown at left are Drew Simon and Brandon Moreau in the larger photos, and, in the thumbnails, Dwayne Michaud, Jay Miller, Drew Simon, and Robin Bruck.

Posted 8-17-07

Click on thumbnails.

Acadien 2006

Shown at left is a 2006 iteration of Acadien performing at the Liberty Theater with Eunice's own Kyle Huval on accordion; Ryan Simon on guitar and vocals; Brandon Moreau on fiddle and vocals; Jay Miller on drums; Joe Romero, bass.

Click here to go to the Official Web Site of the Acadien Cajun Band, which includes more information about the band and contact information.

Many young Cajun musicians fall in love with the music before they know much of the language. Ryan Simon fell in love with the language first, picking it up from family members while growing up in Judice. As he learned the language, he also began to love the music. He taught himself accordion at age 18 and by age 22 could play five different instruments. In 2000, he and guitarist Dwayne Michaud formed the band Acadien with a commitment not only to offer their own versions of traditional Cajun songs but to write new songs with lyrics that show originality and creativity. The band has gone through several changes in membership over the years, but the group's first CD, La Clarité, shows that Acadien has never wavered in the commitment to reinvigorate Cajun music with new songs and fresh versions of the standard repertoire.

Other members of the band in 2004 include Ryan's brother, Drew Simon, on drums and other instruments (he is shown below on accordion); Brandon Moreau, the Basile fiddler who previously recorded a CD with Les Jeunes Cajuns; Ben Andrus on bass; and Jon Bertrand on lead and rhythm guitar. Check out the complete biographies on the band's Official Web site.

Ryan Simon is shown in the top photo in this column. His brother, Drew Simon, is next, followed by Jon Bertrand on guitar and, immediately above, Dwayne Michaud, an original member of the band who is no longer with Acadien but who does sing his song "Vas en bas la Maison" on the CD. In the other column Brandon Moreau and Ryan Simon are shown on fiddle. In the photo below Ben Andrus can also be seen on bass with Drew Simon on drums. All photos were taken at the Liberty Theater in Eunice.

Acadien's 2004 CD includes six original songs by band members, plus a song by Ryan and Drew's late grandfather, Nolan David. Ryan's songs are "Vieillir dans amour" ("To Grow Old in Love"), written in 2000 for his future wife, Denise; "La pointe coupée," a less than flattering description of a parish that borders the Mississippi River northwest of Baton Rouge; and the title cut, "La clarité," a reaffirmation of the clarity of the band's vision in keeping the roots of Cajun music and culture while also contributing to the future by composing new material. Drew Simon wrote "J'ai perdu ma chance" on the familiar theme of love lost, expressed in music and lyrics that blend together beautifully. Dwayne Michaud's "Va en bas la maison" is based on a command that might be given to either dogs or husbands when they misbehave. There is also an original instrumental two-step, "Acadien Special," by Ryan and Dwayne. According to the liner notes, Nolan David was a guitarist from Port Allen who performed swamp pop and R&B, but who occasionally played French music, including his own song "La fiancée," now recorded by his grandsons.

Other songs on the CD include "Pine Grove Blues," "Hip et Tiaus," "Petite fille de la compagne," and the instrumental "Rolling Pin Special." Brandon Moreau supplies the vocals on three songs: "La valse du Grand Prairie" (with a reference tossed in to Brandon's home town, Grand Basile), and two Dewey Balfa songs, "La valse de vieux vacheur" and "La mauvaise nouvelle" (played in the Balfa style with twin fiddles and a guitar).

The liner notes include French and English transcriptions for all songs.

Posted 6-19-04.

All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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