New high resolution photos of Don Fontenot et Les Amis de la
Louisiane now posted on Flickr.
For current information, go
to the band's official web site.
Fontenot et Les Amis de la Louisiane in 2004
|In 2004, Don Fontenot et Les Amis de la
Louisiane continue to be one of the favorite dance hall bands in
Their 2004 CD, Ride the Donkey,
released by Swallow Records, is also popular, garnering a lot of
requests for airplay on Cajun radio programs, especially the
title song, in which Mark Young (in English with hee-hawing in
donkey) tells the rest of the band about a visit to a donkey
auction. The song has become a favorite at live performances,
giving the band a chance to have even more fun on stage than
Young has another original song on the CD,
"Perdu dans ma rÍve," about a dream of losing the one he loves
that turns out to be a reality the next morning. Don Fontenot
and Karl Deshotels have written a lively two-step describing "Samedi
matin chez Fred's" in Mamou, one of the clubs where the band
regularly performs. Fontenot also has an original swamp pop
number on the CD, "My One and Only." Layton Thibodeaux's
"Pop, quoi faire t'es gone?" was written in memory of Paw Paw
Thib, expressing a sense of deep loss now that he is gone.
Other songs on the CD include Fred
Charlie's "La lettre," Belton Richard's "Donne moi une autre
chance," Nathan Abshire's "La deux patte du Choupique," Bruce
Daigrepont's "La deux patte du Marksville," Clifton Chenier's
"I'm Coming Home," Boozoo Chavis' "Johnnie ma cabri," Jamie
Berzas' "L'Anse Maigre Two Step," Wayne Toups' "Un amour
secret," "Triangle Club Special," and "Crowley Two Step." In
addition to Mark Young, guest fiddlers include Travis Matte,
Jason Bergeron, and David Greely (who plays sax on the Belton
Richard number and on "My One and Only").
Photos in this section were taken in 2004
at the annual Mamou Cajun Music Festival and at the conclusion
of the Mamou Christmas Parade, which features live bands on
Shown are Mark Young, Don Fontenot, and Karl
Other band members are Layton Thibodeaux and Kurt Daigle.
Don Fontenot et les Amis de Louisiane are on
stage at the Mamou Cajun Music Festival.
|Don Fontenot is shown in the top photo at the 2000
Church Point Buggy Festival and then in two photographs taken at the Liberty Theatre.Mark
Young, the group's current fiddle player, is shown at the Saddle Tramp Riding Club in
Church Point at a dance following the Courir de Mardi Gras in 2001 and at the Liberty
Theatre in May 2001, when the picture at right of Don Fontenot mixing it up with dancers
was also taken. The picture of Elridge Aguillard, fiddle player on the group's first
CD, and the shot immediately above of the band in early 1999 were taken at the Liberty
Theatre. Layton Thibodeaux is shown in the right column at the Buggy Festival in 2000.
|For more information, including
biographies of band members, more pictures, and a performance schedule, be sure to go to the official site of Don Fontenot and Les Amis de la
Don Fontenot and Les Amis de la Louisiane have quickly established themselves as one of
the top Cajun bands performing in Southwest Louisiana. After playing for about a year,
they stepped into the Acadiana Sounds Studio in 1998 and cut the songs for their first CD,
Fier d' tre Cajun, released by Swallow Records. The album was subsequently named
"Best First Recording of the Year" by the Cajun French Music Association, and
Elridge Aguillard, who played fiddle on that album, was named "Fiddler of the
The band followed up with another award-winning album in
spring 2000 titled Le Necessaire, released by Louisiana Proud Records. It
received the CFMA Le Cajun award as "Best Album/CD of the Year" for 2000. The
song "The Porch Swing" on the album, written by Don Fontenot and Ellis
Deshotels, won the "Song of the Year" award. The band was presented the
"Band of the Year Award" and Fontenot was presented "Male Vocalist of the
Year" award during the ceremonies held August 17, 2001.
In addition to being a highly accomplished accordionist,
Fontenot has an excellent voice that captures both the beauty and the feeling of songs
like "Mon Amour," "J'ai Braille Pour Toi," "The Unlucky
Waltz," and "I'll Never Let You Go." He started playing guitar about 1980
and then took up accordion in 1992, joining W.D. Fontenot and the Cherokee Playboys in
1994. He lives in Grand Prairie. Layton W. Thibodeaux, Sr., who plays bass and
handles some vocals, has more than 30 years of experience playing guitar in country, rock,
and Cajun bands. He also became known as "The Spicy Cajun" on a Saturday morning
radio show that he hosted at KBON in Eunice. Aguillard, who left the band after the first
CD was recorded, has been playing fiddle for nearly half a century. Mark Young, who also
plays keyboard, is the band's fiddler on the second CD. Other members are Kurt D.
Daigle on drums and Karl Deshotels on guitar.
One particular achievement of the second album is the
number of new songs, including, most notably, the title song, "Le Necessaire,"
written by KBON's Paul Marx. The song describes the necessity of preserving the Cajun
heritage, especially the Cajun language. Marx and Fontenot wrote "The Mardi
Gras Run," and Marx teamed with Richard Meaux to write "Mad Mother-in-Law."
Karl Deshotels and Ellis Deshotels also contributed excellent new songs. As noted above,
the song "The Porch Swing" by Ellis Deshotels and Don Fontenot has received a
CFMA Le Cajun Award nomination as "Song of the Year."
The band not only excels in the studio but also obviously
has a lot of interacting with crowds at dances. They may even wind up joining the dancers
during the middle of one of their spirited songs.
For more information on Les Amis de la Louisiane, contact
Don Fontenot, (337) 826-7464, or Layton Thibodeaux, (337) 432-5261.