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

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Chris Ardoin
and NuStep

High resolution photos of Chris Ardoin and NuStep posted on Flickr.

2008 CD: V.I.P.

V.I.P., Chris Ardoin’s 2008 CD, pushes his music further in the direction established in M.V.P., his last recording. As the “Candyman,” he describes his sound as a mix of “traditional zydeco, contemporary and modern R&B, and a hint of hip hop.” In developing his own unique musical identity, he is very conscious of the Creole tradition established by his grandfather, Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin, his father, Lawrence Ardoin, and other members of the legendary Ardoin family, but he wants to mark out his own territory, different from everyone else, starting “his own legacy of Ardoin music.” The result is a smooth, sensuous blend of vocal harmonies and instrumentation with a strong, highly danceable beat.  There are echoes of old style zydeco in songs like “Throwback Mission,” but on most cuts Chris Ardoin offers listeners a very different brand of music than that played by his ancestors.  Lafayette’s up and coming R&B star Cupid makes an appearance on two cuts, and the remix of the album’s title cut includes two rappers from Lake Charles.

Click here for details on the 2006 CD M.V.P.

Chris Ardoin's 2005 CD "Sweat"

Sweat, Chris Ardoin's first CD as the leader of his renamed band NuStep, offers more smooth, danceable songs, all his own compositions. The CD was released in March 2005.

The lyrics are often romantic or even more directly physical as in the title cut: "I want to make you sweat, get ya all soaking wet." "Ya Body" is an extended remix of a 2002 song recorded live a Richard's Club in Lawtell. "Feelin' U" adds a Latin beat to the zydeco sound.

Chris offers an old-style "No Love Waltz" with English lyrics, and there is also a version of "Lake Charles Two-Step" with English lyrics (dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Gene Chambers of LeBeau). "Bury Me" is a slow drag zydeco blues. In "Going Back," Chris describes a woman who "had everything but lost it all, and that's why she's going back to Duralde."  The CD has 17 cuts, recorded and produced by Chris himself.

For more information, go to the Official Chris Ardoin Web Site.

Click here for more 2005 photos.

Chris Ardoin at Festival International in Lafayette April 24, 2005

Posted 7-13-05

July 2004 Update

In 2004, Chris Ardoin and Double Clutchin' have been rechristened Chris Ardoin and NuStep. It's still the same band, and they'll still play Double Clutchin' music, but they are also planning to head in new directions. In addition, Chris is preparing to release an album of traditional music. Check out Chris Ardoin's Official Web Site for details.

Save The Last Dance, the final album recorded as Double Clutchin', released by J & S Records in February 2004, may very well be the best yet: smooth, tight, highly danceable, with thirteen new songs (12 by Chris, plus "Pay My Bills by Jay Doucet) and a cover of Sam Cooke's "Change Gone Come."

"Lonely Waltz" reminds us that Zydeco can produce some lovely waltz numbers. Another song humorously describes the experience of seeing a woman who "looks good from far" but up close is "far from good." The title cut shows how Chris Ardoin can build on the traditional accordion melodies of Creole music played by his father and grandfather to create a contemporary song that includes some beautiful vocal harmonies.

The photos in this section of Chris Ardoin and Harold Guillory on scrubboard were taken at the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Day held at Chicot State Park November 8, 2004.

Chris Ardoin in 2000

Click here to go to the Official Chris Ardoin and NuStep Site for schedules, contacts, bio, CD list, other information.

Chris Ardoin is a member of a famous Creole musical dynasty: the grandson of Bois Sec Ardoin, a legendary accordion player whose cousin, Amédé Ardoin, was a central figure in the development of both Creole and Cajun music, and  the son of Lawrence "Black" Ardoin, who still plays music in the old Creole style at festivals with his band, Tradition Creole.

Chris Ardoin has been performing most of his life. According to Michael Tisserand, Chris was only four years old when he first played the accordion in public, appearing at a gumbo cookoff in Texas before some 3,000 people. A few years later, in 1990, Chris Ardoin and his brother, Sean, performed at Carnegie Hall with their grandfather, father, and uncles. However, as he became a teenager, Chris told his father that he wanted to go in a new direction away from the traditional Creole music on which he was raised. His father decided to support his son as he worked to create his own musical style. Collaborating with Sean, Chris established  his own version of zydeco driven by the bass drum kicks that produce the "double clutchin'" sound of nouveau zydeco. In addition to playing drums, Sean also wrote songs and handled most vocals.   The band's first CD, That's Da Lick, was released in 1994 by Maison de Soul, followed by another Maison de Soul album in 1995, Lick It Up!. Ardoin subsequently signed with Rounder Records, which released Gon' Be Jus' Fine in 1997, Turn the Page in 1998, and Best Kept Secret in summer 2000, the first album recorded without Sean Ardoin, who left in 1999 to establish his own band.

Today, Chris Ardoin and Double Clutchin', still managed by his father, is one of the most popular zydeco bands in Southwest Louisiana. On Best Kept Secret, Chris Ardoin demonstrates both his ability to compose original songs and his vocal skills that are now starting to match his mastery of the diatonic and triple-row accordions. Previous albums have also included a traditional song (like Sean Ardoin's memorable version of "Les Barres de la Prison" on Turn the Page), but, though Best Kept Secret includes an older song, John Delafose's "I Don't Want Nobody Here But You," the songs are all in English.

Click here for 2002 photos and Information  on Chris Ardoin's self-titled 2002 CD released by J & S Records of Ville Platte.

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Most of the photographs on this page were taken May 26, 2000, at a Friday night street performance in downtown Opelousas. Lawrence Ardoin was on hand to help set up, and he also was able to resolve some electrical problems. The photograph below was taken at the Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival in 1999, when, in addition to performing on the main stage, Chris Ardoin appeared in the Heritage Tent. He is shown with Edward Poullard, who plays fiddle in Lawrence Ardoin's band, Tradition Creole.

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All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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