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

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    Pine Leaf Boys

  Click here for high res photos of the Pine Leaf Boys on Flickr.

Go to the Official Web Site for updates.

Check out their MySpace Page.

The Pine Leaf Boys' CD Homage au Passé, their first release with Lionsgate, was nominated for a Grammy in the Zydeco/Cajun category. Click here for a short review.

Pine Leaf Boys: 2007 CD and Photos
The Pine Leaf Boys are everywhere in 2007, on both coasts, at the Jazz Fest and other huge festivals, overseas, in the New York Times, at trailer park pavilions at the end of gravel roads, and on a new CD. Click here for photos and more on their second CD, Blues de Musicien, which was nominated for a Grammy.


Pine Leaf Boys at Festivals Acadiens
The Pine Leaf Boys were on the main stage at Festival de Musique Acadienne during Festivals Acadiens in Lafayette October 14, 2006, receiving yet another rousing reception from a crowd that knows when a band is for real. Click on thumbnails.

Pine Leaf Boys at CFMA
The Pine Leaf Boys got a rousing reception at the Cajun French Music Association annual festival in Lafayette Aug. 19, 2006. After their set, the crowd called for an encore, and they returned to the stage and fulfilled one fan's request for the "Lacassine Special."  Click on thumbnails at left.

Wilson Savoy with Drew Simon on drums at Festivals Acadiens in September 2005.

Cedric Watson, above, and Drew Simon, below, at the Liberty Theater in Eunice.

Blake Miller (grandson of accordion maker Larry Miller) on fiddle with Wilson and Cedric at Festivals Acadiens.

The photos in this section were taken at Baton Rouge's Fest for All in early May 2006.

Click here to go to the Official Web Site of the Pine Leaf Boys, which is highly informative, but, more importantly, one of the most entertaining web addresses in all of Cajun and Zydeco.

While walking through downtown Lafayette on the way to a performance of Bonsoir, Catin at the Blue Moon Saloon in early November 2005, I was surprised to encounter a young man sitting on his front steps playing the accordion and singing in Cajun French, a scene from the Southwest Louisiana countryside decades ago transplanted into a 21st century city landscape. A closer approach revealed that the musician was Drew Simon, a member of the Pine Leaf Boys, playing at the residence in the middle of the city that serves as the band's home and headquarters. The Pine Leaf Boys are the latest group in what in recent years has become something of a renaissance of French music in Lafayette led by young musicians, many of whom grew up in smaller towns in Southwest Louisiana.

The Pine Leaf Boys are ready, willing, and highly able to play Cajun and Creole music 24/7. Toss them an instrument–it doesn't much matter which one since each plays several–and they will launch into some Canray Fontenot, Belton Richard, Aldus Roger, Amédé Ardoin, Michael Doucet, Iry LeJeune, or traditional songs recovered from the past and reinvigorated by young musicians whose extraordinary talent is matched by their energy on stage.

By the time of this write-up in July 2006, I have had the group's first CD, La Musique, for nearly half a year, but the music is still just as lively and enjoyable as the first time I heard it.  No one can sit still while listening to Wilson Savoy's "Pine Leaf Boy Two-Step," fast and bouncy like all of the best two-steps with a joy somehow made even more intense by lyrics about the pain of abandonment.  Wilson is the son of Marc and Ann Savoy. Marc, whom many consider to be the greatest living Cajun accordionist,  and Ann have long been a major force in efforts to preserve traditional Cajun music.

The Pine Leaf Boys certainly remain faithful to that tradition, but in their attitude and approach they also have managed to help younger audiences recognize that it's much more hip to be dancing to music that their ancestors helped create than to be following styles manufactured by distant music producers as just another disposable commodity to generate profits.

In addition to "Pine Leaf Boy Two-Step," Wilson Savoy also sings "New Family Waltz" by the late Milton Adams, a frequent visitor at the Savoy Music Store Jam sessions, and Blues de Bosco, a perennial Cajun favorite, as well as other songs noted below.

Drew Simon's vocals on the late Phillip Alleman's "I'm Not Lonesome Anymore" perfectly captures the icy scorn of a man addressing the woman who has left him (with Wilson's brother, Joel, sitting in on steel guitar, Alleman's instrument).  Simon, who first gained notice as a member with his brother Ryan in the band Acadien, also does an excellent job covering songs by other classic Cajun vocalists, including, on this CD, Iry LeJeune's "La Branche de Murier" and Belton Richard's "I'll Have to Forget You." Simon's "Festival Acadien Waltz" is based on Octa Clark's "Jamboree Waltz," and he also sings his version of the "Lawtell Two-Step."

In his performance of "La Belle Josette," Cedric Watson has taken an old ballad from the Alan Lomax collection and  turned it into a beautiful, upbeat folk song with a fiddle-accordion duet carrying the tune. Watson, the Creole fiddler from Texas who has embraced his Louisiana roots and gained a lot of fans from all over, also sings Canray Fontenot's "Les Barres de la Prison." and "Chez Moreau" (an original song to the tune of "Two-Step de Tante Nana"). On "Homage à Poullard (a tribute to Ed Poullard and his late brother, Danny), Cedric sings "Jolie Bassette," preceded by Wilson's "Quo Faire," both classic songs from the Creole tradition. Cedric joins Wilson on the twin-fiddle tune "La Valse de Vieux Charpentier," and, with Wilson on vocals, they play another accordion-fiddle number, "Valse de Josephine."

Other members of the band are Blake Miller on base and second fiddle and Jon Bertrand on guitar. All of the band members speak French, another encouraging sign for the future of traditional Cajun music.

The group's first recording, released by Arhoolie Records, includes French and English lyrics of most songs. Lyrics not on the CD are provided at  the Official Pine Leaf Boys Web Site.

What's a "pine leaf'? In the interviews with the band I have heard or read, no one provides a straight answer.  We'll never find out by asking. Instead, the answer is in the music: just keep listening and you'll understand.

                   –David Simpson, LSUE

Click here for the online version of OffBeat Magazine's October 2006 cover story on Wilson Savoy and the Pine Leaf Boys.

Click here for photos of the Pine Leaf Boys during 2006 Mardi Gras.

Click here for a review of Cedric's 2006 CD with Corey Ledet.

At Fest for All in Baton Rouge, at a downtown park, where the dancers are shown.


Posted 7-17-06.

All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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