Terrance Simien
Positively Beadhead
Tone-Cool Records (www.tonecool.com)

Terrance Simien is a very successful "crossover" musician coming from a place where that kind of success once was very dangerous. Creole accordion legend Amadee Ardoin was permitted to play white house parties, in the yard, but not to enter into the houses themselves. When he became very successful, he died mysteriously, possibly murdered.

Seen in that historical perspective, Simien's success takes on added significance. With movie appearances and Presidential concerts under his belt, Simien has carried his music beyond reach of the terror that once menaced his predecessors. And he has done so with remarkable integrity, helping to preserve his heritage.

Positively Beadhead, named for Simien's habit of tossing Mardi Gras beads to audiences, is a fine CD. Simien combines soulful vocals, comparable to Aaron Neville's, with virtuoso accordion playing and a high-energy backup band. This CD combines zydeco versions of folk and country standards like "500 Miles" and "Jolie Blonde" with great rocking versions of traditional dance tunes. - Bill Nevins