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

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Marc & Ann Savoy
and the Savoy Family Band 

Click here for high resolution photos of the Savoy Family Band on Flickr.

Click here to go to Ann Savoy's Official Web Site. And here for the Savoy Music Center.

2007: Savoy Family Band releases second CD

Turn Loose But Don’t Let Go, the second CD released by the incomparable Savoy Family Band, offers old songs you may have never heard before, new versions of a few standards, and several originals. In addition to recordings made by David Rachou at the legendary La Louisianne Studios in Lafayette, the CD includes cuts recorded at the equally legendary Savoy Music Center near Eunice and at a live performance at the Rhythm and Roots Festival in Rhode Island. Ann Savoy supplied liner notes with French lyrics and English translations.

The family band consists of four superb musicians: Marc Savoy, whom many consider to be the best Cajun accordionist on the planet; Ann Savoy, whose beautiful, pure voice captures the wide range of emotions in Cajun music; Wilson Savoy, who is best known these days as the accordionist with the Grammy-nominated Pine Leaf Boys but who plays plays some rocking boogie woogie keyboard with the family band and also shows a more tender side on this CD; and Joel Savoy, who can express intense emotion through his fiddle with subtle nuances that match his mother’s vocals.

“Baby and the Gambler,” which Ann Savoy learned from a Delma Lachney 78, is a slow, sad song in which Ann’s voice is accompanied by the haunting sound of Joel Savoy’s fiddle. At the end, Joel segues into “J’étais au bal,” a faster, happier tune that here accentuates the song’s feeling of abandonment by a husband who is out carousing.

Ann also captures the sadness and pain of abandonment in a less well know Adam Hebert song, “Tous les soirs quand ça fait noir” (“j’m’ennuie tous les soir quand ca fait noir”). “Je vas m’ennuyer” by Belton Richard is another sad song about the loneliness of love lost. Ann’s other selection by Belton is “You’re So Easy to Love,” one of his many hits in Southwest Louisiana. “Je me sens comme une pauvre orpheline” is Ann’s own gritty Cajun blues, with an echo of “Pine Grove Blues.”

Wilson adds some boogie woogie licks to Pierre Varmin Daigle’s joyful song “’Tite robe courte” about having fun dancing every Saturday in a short dress because “la vie elle est trop courte.”

“Sugar Bee” gives Wilson a chance to cut loose both on vocals and keyboard, with Joel and Marc matching him in a rollicking blues that was a 1961 hit for Cleveland Crochet and the Hillybilly Ramblers with vocals by Jesse “Jay” Stutes.  Wilson and everyone else sail through “Two step de Prairie Soileau,” described as “a pyro-technic exercise around two chords.” Previously recorded by Marc on the Evangeline Made CD that Ann produced, the Amédé Ardoin song is a dance favorite known by many as “Quo faire.”

On the other hand, in his vocals and keyboard work performing his French translation of “You Don’t Know Me,” Wilson shows that he can also convey soft and tender heartbreak.

Ann Savoy previously recorded “La robe barrée” with the Magnolia Sisters.  The liner notes for this version explain that “Madame Achten,” the name Amédé Ardoin gave to the song when he recorded it, refers to Marc’s grandmother’s housekeeper (who was the daughter of his great grandfather’s yardman).

“Valse des Reeds” is a Dennis McGee twin-fiddle number featuring Joel and Wilson. Other instrumentals include “Crowley Two-Step,” “Rockin’ Chair Two-Step,” an original by Marc that incorporates some dance hall tunes, and “Cheese Cloth,” a tune from Cajun fiddler Cheese Read.

Two other musicians helprd out on drums on some cuts: Steve Riley (Marc’s second cousin) and Drew Simon (member of the Pine Leaf Boys). The CD was released by Arhoolie.

Photos in this section were taken at the 2007 Mamou Cajun Music Festival, at the Liberty Theater in Eunice, and at Festival de Musique Acadien during Festivals Acadiens, at which Marc and Ann Savoy were the 2007 honorees. Joel Savoy is shown on fiddle and Wilson Savoy is on keyboard. In the first thumbnail in the third row, Marc and Ann are shown singing "'Tits yeux noirs" at the special request of an audience member. A large portrait of Marc and Ann is visible in the background of the next photo, which shows the family band on stage at Festivals Acadiens. The bottom thumbnails show Michael Doucet as a guest fiddler playing with three of the Savoys.


Savoy Family Band 2003 CD


The release of The Savoy Family Band's first CD is truly a celebration of the family ties that are at the center of Cajun culture. The CD liner features a collection of family photos that capture the spirit that runs through the songs performed by Marc and Ann and three of their children: Joel, Wilson, and Sarah.

Sarah, who has now been away from home for an extended period in Russia, sings a duet with Wilson on "Reno Waltz" and with her mother on "Woman with a Broken Heart," and handles the vocals alone on "Sunset Blues," with Wilson on accordion.

Wilson plays keyboard on most of the cuts but switches to accordion when he sings his own song, "Catin, Catin," and on "Midland Two-Step" (like Amédé Ardoin, he accompanies himself with no other instruments). Wilson's accordion is also featured on the  instrumentals "Bayou Two-Step" (aka "Bayou Teche Special") featuring nice interplay with Joel's fiddling. He also sings "Choupique" and has a keyboard instrumental, "Willie's Breakdown." Ann Savoy handles the vocals on "Don't Bury Me," "Tout les Deux," "Valse de Chagrin," and "Sam's Big Rooster," the title song from the last Savoy-Doucet CD. (This cut and several others were recorded before a live audience.)

There are fifteen cuts in all on this CD, which was released by Arhoolie. An excellent long article by Leslie Berman on the Savoy Family was published in the Fall 2003 issue of Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine (online link no longer available).

Photos in this section were taken at the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Day at Chicot State Park, November 8, 2003.


Marc and Ann Savoy and the Savoy Family Band in 2001

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The picture at left and the one of Marc Savoy immediately beneath it were taken at the Mamou Cajun Music Festival September 7, 2001, when, as they have for more than two decades, Marc and Ann Savoy played on Friday night. All of the other photos on this page were taken during the first Eunice performance of the Savoy Family Band at the Cajun Prairie Folklife Festival October 27, 2001. The two Savoy sons performed with their parents, along with Tina Pilione. Joel Savoy, who plays lead fiddle with the Red Stick Ramblers, and Wilson Savoy, who also on occasion plays keyboard and accordion with the Red Stick Ramblers, are both already highly accomplished musicians.

During 2001, Ann Savoy played a musician in the movie version of the best-selling book Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, starrring Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, James Garner, Ashley Judd, Shirley Knight,  and Maggie Smith (not yet released as of this writing). She also served as executive producer of a Vanguard Records CD that will feature pop stars such as Richard Thompson and Linda Ronstadt singing Cajun songs, accompanied by well known Cajun musicians. And, her profile appeared in the October 2001 issue of the magazine Southern Living.


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Click here to return to the first page on Marc and Ann Savoy.

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Posted 1-19-02

All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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