Bois Sec Ardoin with Balfa Toujours |
The blend of cultures and people that is south Louisiana is rarely better recorded than on this wonderful CD. Bois Sec (nicknamed "Dry Wood" for his youthful skill in dodging showers) has joined with the late Dewey Balfa's daughter, Christine, and her Cajun roots band, Balfa Toujours (Dirk Powell, Kevin Wimmer and Mitchell Reed, and guest Steve Riley on drums), for a most worthy blend of Cajun and Creole musical traditions. This union of musicians spans generations and reaches back over many decades in influences. The Balfas are a preeminent Cajun musical family, including the legendary Balfa Brothers. Bois Sec Ardoin can look to his own eighty-two years of good living for performances and recordings which have advanced the tradition of Creole music. His cousin Amedee Ardoin, (with whom Bois Sec played as a youngster) is known for his recordings of the Louisiana "French blues," and bridged traditions with Cajun musical patriarch Dennis McGhee. Bois Sec is also linked by many years of playing with the late fiddle master, Canray Fontenot.
From the opening cut "Allons Danser" ("Let's Dance") on through mesmerizing waltzes, two-steps and songs to the closing, "Allons Danser (un autre petit bout)," which offers the familiar Louisiana plea for "just a little bit more" fine music, this CD is a charm. Bois Sec plays accordion and sings in French, accompanied by Christine on guitar and vocals, Dirk on bass and vocals, Kevin on fiddle, Mitch on triangle and on some tracks, Steve Riley on drums. The ensemble move effortlessly through this recording, relaxed and drawing musical strength from one another as only old friends can. Thus older and younger musicians build a sound that is exciting and joyous to hear; music of celebration and affirmation. The joyful call-and-response of the last cut encapsulates this family kitchen feel of warmth and humor, love and fun. This recording is the most fitting homage that could be paid to Bois Sec himself, to the Balfa Brothers, to Canray Fontenot and Amedee Ardoin, to Dennis McGhee, and to all those great souls who contributed, and still contribute, to the richness of Louisiana music. - Bill Nevins