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

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        Ray Abshire

Click here for photos posted on Flickr.

Click here to go to Ray Abhsire's Official Web Site Click here for his MySpace page.

Ray Abshire at Festivals Acadiens 2006

Performing with Phillip Gould's photo of Dewey Balfa and Will Bolfa behind them, Ray Abshire, who, as described further down the page, played accordion with the Balfa Brothers some three decades ago, and Courtney Granger, great nephew of the Balfas, gave the Heritage Stage crowd a generous sampling of old style, heartfelt Cajun music during Festivals Acadiens Oct. 14, 2006. Others musicians shown in the wide shot are Mitch Reed at far left and Ray Abshire's sons, Travis and Brett. Click on thumbnails to access larger photos.


2005 CD: Arrête pas la musique

During fall 2005, Ray Abshire released a follow-up CD to his award-winning initial 2003 recording. True to the title, Arrête pas la musique, the CD delivers 18 cuts, including seven original songs.

In 2005 Ray Abshire continued to perform at festivals, Mardi Gras in Mamou, and benefits for hurricane evacuees, and at popular venues like Fred's Lounge in Mamou. He traveled overseas to England, Denmark, and Australia, as well as to other states to bring audiences Cajun music in the old style of his cousin Nathan Abshire, Dewey Balfa, and other legendary musicians with whom he played decades ago.

Click here for more information on Arrête pas la musique and some more 2005 photos.

Ray Abshire wins Le Cajun Award
for Best First Recording

The CD  Pour les bons vieux temps, featuring Ray Abshire and friends, received the Cajun French Music Association's Le Cajun Award for the Best First Recording. The award was presented August 20, 2004, at the CFMA's annual national festival held in Lafayette.

Ray Abshire is shown at right the next day at the festival, when he performed with an all-star Cajun band.

Further below on this web page is a brief description of the CD. Abshire is working on a second CD.

Ray Abshire and Friends at Festivals Acadiens, 2003

As shown above, when Ray Abshire performed on Sept. 20, 2003, at Festivals Acadiens, a large black and white photo was on display behind the band. The photo shows Ray Abshire on accordion playing with the Balfa Brothers at the first "A Tribute to Cajun Music,"  held at Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette on March 26, 1974, the event that evolved into Festivals Acadiens.  For another photo taken in 1974, go to Ray Abshire's Official Site. In the 2003 photo, from left, are Courtney Granger, Kevin Wimmer, Ray Abshire, André Michot, and Louie Michot.

The 2003 performance offered the crowd Cajun music performed in the same style and with the same commitment to tradition displayed at Blackham Coliseum 29 years before.

Posted 12-30-03



For more information, go to Ray Abshire's Official Web Site.

The occasion at which the photographs on this page were taken couldn't have been more congenial: a CD release party hosted by Mitchell and Lisa Reed at their Louisiana Heritage and Gifts Store on a Saturday afternoon, April 4, 2003. There was barbecue with all the fixings, cold beverages, a good crowd of acquaintances and lovers of traditional Cajun music, and Ray Abshire himself, friendly and engaging, talking in French and English about music, old times, and family connections shared with some of the guests. It was the perfect setting to relax and listen to some old-style classic Cajun music, "Pour les bons vieux temps," as Ray titled his CD.  Joining him were Kevin Wimmer on fiddle and André Michot on guitar, both of whom performed with him on the CD, and Mitchell Reed, sitting in for Courtney Granger, the other fiddler on the CD, who had a gig in Mamou that Saturday.

As the liner notes to CD explain, Ray Abshire grew up during the fifties and sixties and developed his accordion and vocal style by performing with legendary musicians like his cousin Nathan Abshire, his friend Amadie Breaux, and the Balfa Brothers. The fiddle styles of musicians like Dewey Balfa, Lionel Leleux, and Will Kegley influenced his accordion playing: their performances drew on deep emotions but were also musically precise. In addition, Ray Abshire has a pure vocal style that recalls the pitch of singers from the pre-amplification era who projected their voices across the dance hall.

In the mid-seventies, when he was playing accordion with the Balfa Brothers, Abshire decided to withdraw from public performances. In the early nineties, urged on by family and friends, he returned to the stage, performing with various groups at venues throughout Louisiana and at festivals nationwide.

The CD liner notes to Pour les bons vieux temps include transcriptions of lyrics in French and English provided by Barry Jean Ancelet and Ginette Baillargeon. Ray Abshire handles the vocals on his own song, "Grand Riceville," Belton Richard's "Valse sans retour," Robert Bertrand's "Louisiana Rambler Waltz," Will Balfa's "Mon vieux wagon," Lawrence Walker's "Tout les deux pour la même," "Tee Mamou," and "Angelas Lejeune's "Donnez moi mon chapeau."

The other musicians on the CD also have strong roots in traditional Cajun music. Courtney Granger is the grand nephew of Dewey Balfa, and Kevin Wimmer studied fiddle with Dewey. Both are members of Balfa Toujours. André Michot is a second generation of Les Frères Michot. In addition to fiddle, Courtney handles the vocals on "Valse à Rodney," "Lacassine Special," "Cher bébé créole," and "Valse du grand bois." Though he is only about 20 years old, Courtney already has established himself as a great Cajun singer in the Balfa tradition.

The CD, which was released by Swallow Records, also includes several instrumentals: "French Two-Step," "Washington Stomp" (Ray Abshire's tribute to friends of Cajun music in the state of Washington), "Dance Hall Special" (his tribute to all the great dance halls of South Louisiana), "Brunette Two-Step," "Marche carrément" ("Step-It-Fast"), and "Ossun Two-Step."

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Pictured during the CD release party at Louisiana Heritage and Gifts in Lafayette are Ray Abshire on accordion, Kevin Wimmer on fiddle, and André Michot on guitar. Courtney Granger, who was performing elsewhere that day, is shown immediately above with Kevin Wimmer during Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Day at Lake Fausse State Park April 18, 2003.

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Shown below are Mitchell Reed, Kevin Wimmer, Ray Abshire, and André Michot. Mitchell Reed, who performs with Charivari and with the Lafayette Rhythm Devils, and his wife, Lisa, own Louisiana Heritage and Gifts, where the CD release party was held.
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Posted 6-22-03
All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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