Matthew Courville
Avec Un Coeur Pour Mon Pa Pa

In the sixties, it was believed that Cajun music would meet its demise if the youth weren't playing their cultural music. That realization led to many significant events including Church Point bandleader Bee Cormier mentoring teenage musicians Reggie Matte, Felton LeJeune, Terry Cormier and more to entice other musicians their own age. Needless to say, the concept worked as all the aforementioned remain active today. By the mid-nineties the pendulum has swung the other way as the number of young Cajun traditionalists continues to swell. Twelve-year-old accordionist Matthew Courville is one of those artists ensuring the music's viability. Since his immersion into accordion two years ago, Courville has also learned the guitar, sax and harmonica, the latter of which he handles nicely on several cuts here. Overall, the proceedings have a satisfyingly warm feel. He includes such pals and mentors as Lee Benoit, accordion; Randall Foreman, steel guitar; Travis Matte and Chris Stafford, fiddle; vocalists Horace Trahan and Helen Boudreaux as well as pops Courville, guitar and uncle Ricky Courville, drums. Courville shines on several spirited two-steps including "Amèdeè Two Step" and "Speciale de Lacassine." On "Lover's Waltz," he synchs nicely with fiddler Mark Hebert; on "Kaplan Waltz" and "La Vie des Musiciens," Courville's harmonica leads balance well with his accordion solos. A few places could use a little more fire ("Jolie Blonde") but overall the smiling wunderkind has the tools to become a standout player and a lasting contributor to the music that almost died three decades ago. - Dan Willging

(This review was originally published in "Off Beat" magazine)

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