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    Check out their MySpace Page.


The thumbnails above were taken at a tribute to Adam Hebert held at Acadian Village March 17, 2007, sponsored by the Lafayette Chapter of the Cajun French Music Association. In the photo with stage guests crowded around the microphone, everyone is shouting "Zydeco!"--a cheer that the crowd shouts out along with the band during "Zydeco Gris Gris."


The photos above were taken at Festival International in Lafayette April 27, 2007, in a program titled "Cajun Drinking Songs," featuring performances from the CD Allons Boire un Coup. The thumbnail of Cedric was probably taken when he was singing his haunting version of "La Jog à Plombeau."

The photos above, including the shot of Jumpin' Jon Bertrand on guitar, were taken at the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, May 6, 2007.

Click here for photos of the Pine Leaf Boys performing at La Pay E Bas, an RV camp located at the end of a long gravel road, where the LeJeune Cove Mardi Gras held their dance.

Pine Leaf Boys: 2007 CD
Blues de Musicien

Note: In late 2007, The Pine Leaf Boys' 2007 CD was nominated to receive a Grammy Award in the newly established Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album category.

During spring 2007, the Pine Leaf Boys have achieved national stature with a two-page profile in the March 4, 2007, New York Times (“Cajun Sound, Rock ’n’ Roll Energy”) followed by a strong endorsement from a Rolling Stone reviewer, while their second CD, Blues de Musicien, stayed at the top of the charts at the Roots Music Report.

That's all well and good, but what do Cajuns around here think of them? The Lafayette Chapter of the Cajun French Music Association chose the Pine Leaf Boys as one of the bands to play at a tribute to Adam Hebert, the legendary Cajun musician and songwriter, who, along with a CFMA crowd from various chapters, loved the excitement generated by a band that can take both the substance and the spirit of the tradition and channel it with their own inspired energy. On the last evening of the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week at Chicot State Park, deep in rural Evangeline Parish, Moisey and Louella Baudoin came all the way from Erath near the coast to listen and dance to the Pine Leaf Boys. As Cajun music lovers who have attended almost every traditional music program at the Liberty Theater for 20 years, the Baudoins were there at Chicot standing in front by the stage along with a crowd of all ages from all over the country, clapping, bouncing, and dancing to the "Pine Leaf Two-Step."

To get the full effect, you really need to be there in person for the Pine Leaf Boys Experience, but listening to Blues de Musicien will, at the very least, transport you to a different realm, where nothing is held back and the music makes anything possible.  Once you hear the band's version of "Zydeco Gris Gris" (Michael Doucet's song based on a tune from Bois Sec Ardoin), you may never be quite the same, or, as the lyrics put it, "pas capab' froidir sang qu'apé bouilli" ("can't cool the blood that's boiling in the bayou").  And that's after listening to 13 other cuts, including six originals and some inspired versions of older songs.

Among the new songs are the title cut, Wilson Savoy's "Blues de Musicien," a bouncy two-step with lyrics that complain about separation and with an irrepressible beat that wins out over the blues, and Cedric Watson's "Mon coeur fait mal," another two-step in which, despite the song's title, the lively Creole tune is more joyful than sad. Wilson's "Pine Leaf Boogie" is in the Zydeco tradition of making the lyrics simple extensions of the rhythm. "Ma petite femme" is an old-time fiddle blues in Creole French, with Wilson on keyboard to accompany Cedric's crying fiddle and Jon Bertrand's broken-hearted guitar. Drew Simon's "J'ai perdu ma chance" revisits the traditional Cajun waltz theme of lost love. The most unusual new cut is an a cappella number in the juré tradition of singing and clapping. The words to "Quand Rita est arrivé,"  the juré written by Jon Bertrand, describe the devastation visited on Lake Charles and the western region of Louisiana by Hurricane Rita, the powerful storm in 2005 that swamped the coastline from New Iberia to East Texas and howled inland with winds of 120 miles an hour but that never gained much national attention in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The most beautiful song on the entire CD may be Austin Pitre's "Chère joues roses" on which Wilson and Cedric play twin fiddles through an old Fender amp in a version that may be even more haunting than the original recording. Cedric does the vocals on that song, on Ulysse Poirier's "Musician avec un coeur cassé," a lovely waltz, and on a rousing version of "Creole Mardi Gras" (familiar to many in the version by Boozoo Chavis). Drew Simon captures the irrecoverable sorrow of Belton Richard's "Pardon Waltz" and also sings "Wild Side of Life," an English song that Belton translated into French. Wilson gives us his interpretation of Nathan Abshire's "La valse de Belizaire," including some revised lyrics. The only instrumental is a fiddle tune from Canray Fontenot titled "Jig Cajin."

The CD was engineered and mixed by David Rachou, La Louisianne Records, and released by Arhoolie Records.

Anna Laura Edmiston and Wilson Savoy are shown doing "Pine Grove Blues." Click to enlarge.

In addition to this CD, the Pine Leaf Boys also performed on the Valcour Records CD Allons Boire un Coup. Their version of "The Pine Grove Blues," with Anna Laura Edmiston, is the only recording I have heard in which the responses are given by the woman who is object of the singer's scorn, as opposed to the comments volunteered by other band members in the classic Nathan Abshire recording. The direct exchange between Wilson and Anna Laura, along with Wilson's rock-retro opening and closing played on an organ, make this version stand out from the many other covers of this song. In their live gigs, the Pine Leaf Boys really cut loose on this one. The CD also features Cedric Watson on fiddle and vocals with Joel Savoy and Chris Stafford on "La Jog à Plombeau" and a cappela on "Table Ronde."
               ---David Simpson

Click here to go to the Pine Leaf Boys Official Web site.

Click here for LSUE's first page on the Pine Leaf Boys.

Posted 5-24-07.

All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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