Mouton Noir
Take It As It Comes: Traditional Cajun Folk Music

If you had been kicked out of as many 'touristy Cajun restaurant gigs' as accordionist Mark Meier, being labeled a black sheep (mouton noir in French) would only be fitting. For Meier, the name Mouton Noir is a rallying cry for the wild-eyed, red-bearded Nathan Abshire protégé who's living proof that if the shoe fits, wear it. The other thing that wears just as well is playing great, unadulterated Cajun music with his flock, guitarist Randy Vidrine and fiddler Jono Frishberg.

For their second release, the flock gathered around Vidrine's kitchen table and competently nailed the dozen cuts in one take. Perhaps that's the reason why these proceedings feel so natural and inviting. Meier's playing is precise and razor sharp while Vidrine has one of the best, most under-appreciated voices in Cajun music. Across the table, Frishberg plays many a soaring, soulful lick. Whether it's the bluesy "I Hear You Knocking" (sung in French), the passionately rendered "Reno Waltz," or highly charged two-steps ("Osson 2-Step," "Mamou 2-Step"), the only thing that matters to this trio of merry makers is getting the feeling right. Needless to say, they do and that's the best fit of all. - Dan Willging

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