Lost Bayou Ramblers
Rice Pump Records
There are two types of folks in the world- those who adore Cajun music, and those who run screaming from a room where somebody has an accordion. Now, I’m firmly in the first camp, but I can see the other side. To those who haven’t fallen in love with the sound of the Louisiana bayou, I suggest the first cut on Kalenda by the Lost Bayou Ramblers, “Sabine Turnaround”. Sure, sure it starts off with the blazing accordion of Andre Michot, and his brother Louis joins in on fiddle and vocals (in French, of course) but by the end, with the punkish guitar of Johnny Campos and the thundering drumming of Eric Heigle you’ll understand why the band were a hit opening for Arcade Fire. This stuff ROCKS.
The Lost Bayou Ramblers have been around for 17 years (Kalenda is their 8th record), and they are firing on all cylinders, sounding totally at ease with both the traditional Cajun sound, as well as their own special touch. From the lap steel in “Cate Clair Waltz” to the electronic pulse opening “Granny Smith”, these guys aren’t afraid to experiment. Or check out the title cut “Kalenda”, which boasts some great, off the wall sax work from Dickie Landry over brooding percussion.
This might not make you into a “ragin’ Cajun”, but a few spins of Kalenda on an open mind may well convert a few folks. From their work on the soundtrack to Beasts of The Southern Wild and opening for artists such as the Violent Femmes and appearing on Jack White’s American Epic, the Lost Bayou Ramblers have arrived. Their cutting edge attitude advances the old-time sound of Cajun music into the 21st century, and bodes well for the genres continued health. Now roll those rugs back and dance your butt off!