Rhyme and Reason
“This parade’s coming to you. We really could use you,” sings Sam Craft on the opening number of Sweet Crude’s new CD. It’s a reference to the traditional second line parades in New Orleans, where musicians and residents commune in the streets to dance, sing, have a good time and share a manifestation of their shared culture. Sweet Crude’s particular parade is a party celebrating Francophone Louisiana that messes with expectations in the best possible way.
When I mention French language music from Louisiana, most people are going to think of Cajun bands like Feufollet or the Savoy Family band. Maybe, some Zydeco bands will come to mind too. The young musicians in Sweet Crude definitely grew up with these sounds, but they’re also part of a larger world that includes TV on the Radio, Animal Collective, and the Talking Heads, which are of course, the folk bands of the modern era.
Créatures is a celebration. It’s a celebration of Francophone culture in Louisiana that embraces the 21st Century. Craft and fellow vocalist Alexis Marceaux, effortlessly switch between French and English as they sing about daydreams, parades and stuff hanging on power lines. There is enough English to keep a monolingual like myself feeling included (and also giving me awkward Carpool Karaoke moments when I want to sing along to the French parts but just can’t form the words).
I am way beyond thinking that music can save the world. I do think Sweet Crude may have the power to save the day with their infectious joy. They may also play a role in helping kids from multi-lingual households see that there is a place in the world for them too. Their tongues may be split in two, but Sweet Crude spread the good times in both of their native languages. I, for one, am happy to jump in line with this parade. I hope you’ll have a change to join this second line too.