Thursday, May 1, 2008

[Country Roads] New Faces, Old Souls

In the May 2008 issue of Country Roads Magazine (link)

I remember when I first heard someone being described as an old soul, it was about a young saxophone player that possessed a depth beyond their young age. It made perfect sense; music is about sound, which is about reverberations, and it fits that the finest musicians feel the reverberations of the past rattle the work they produce today. Louisiana has a lion’s share of musical history, but what makes up special is that we foster young artists who take those waves of sound and history that rumble up through antiquity, across the power lines of the soul, and forge their own futures with them.

The Pine Leaf Boys are a perfect example of this. No less an authority than Rolling Stone critic David Fricke described their 2007 Jazzfest performance as having, “free-range ambitions in soul, Canned Heat-style boogie, zydeco (the country funk of black Louisiana) and Mardi Gras Indian chants. They did it all — sometimes all at once — in their Jazz Fest set with the tight, headlong delight that makes Blues de Musicien (Arhoolie), their second album, the next best thing to a Saturday night dance in Lafayette."

The Pine Leaf Boys maintain a perfect balance of tradition and progression, playing long forgotten songs that have dropped out of the Cajun repertoire with whirlwind gusto. Their tunes often start as traditional two-steps and waltzes, but their momentum is like a boulder rolling down a mountain, converging in a frenzied synergetic maelstrom by the time the song is over. Blue de Musicien, their second CD for the world famous Arhoolie folk label, is a mix of traditional and originals. “Zydeco Gris Gris” opens with a snake-harmer fiddle run from Cedric Watson before erupting in wild zydeco revelry, replete with possessed hollers and that unmistakable swing, while “Wild Side of Life” demonstrates their prowess at Cajun dance hall favorites. The Pine leaf Boys are the perfect way to introduce yourself to Cajun music, and to find out where it is going.

Click here for more, including Tyree Neal, The Figs and Amanda Shaw

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