Jazzfest starts in less than two weeks, but there are some fine events taking place in the Northeast to help us get in shape (musically that is). Last night we were treated to a smokin' zydeco show by JJ Callier and the Zydeco Knockouts, at the German Club in Pawtucket. This was my first time seeing them and I was impressed by the way he alternated between different styles of zydeco and more, deftly switching between three accordions (single row, triple, and full-size piano key). The rubboard player and drummer kept a great groove going, reminding me a little of Beau Jocque on some songs ... heard later that the drummer used to play with Beau. Then the bass player (a Broussard) took a turn on accordion and he kicked it up even more. The dance floor was hopping all night.
Next Thursday 4/17, Marcia Ball will be at the Narrows Center for the Arts, and Saturday 4/19 CJ Chenier returns to the German Club.
After the fest there is a month long run of festivals featuring Lousiana Music:
The Bayou and Boogie Fest by Sals Productions on Memorial Day weekend brings a couple of Louisiana zydeco bands back to RI: Curley Taylor, Leroy Thomas , plus Dennis Stroughmatt, and local favorites Magnolia and Li'l Anne.
Later that week, Bonerama and Tab Benoit play at Chan's in Woonsocket, just before appearing at Mike Arnone's Crawfish Fest in NJ, 5/30 - 6/1, which again features a stellar jazz-fest like lineup, including Alan Toussaint, Rosie Ledet, Little Freddy King, the Radiators, and so much more. Check it out at http://www.crawfishfest.com/
The following weekend 6/5 - 6/8 is the Blast from the Bayou at Strawberry park, featuring Beausoleil, Steve Riley, Geno Delafose (to name just a few) , followed by the Cajun / Zydeco fest at Sunrise resort in Moodus CT. with its annual visits from Brian Jack, Dora and the zydeco Bad Boys, Pine Leaf boys and more.
If you're a fan of Louisiana music but favor more of the New Orleans styles, the Radiators and Henry Butler will be at the Narrows around that time too..... as well as lots of other excellent shows. There may be some I've left out, but I am not trying to give a comprehensive listing here- I am just amazed at the wealth of Lousiana music that will seemingly be following us up north after Jazz Fest. This may make it a little easier to leave the promised land of New Orleans and head home to New England, knowing that we will still be dancing and grooving our way into summer with some of our favorite bands. And that is just in June!