When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade- and that’s exactly what I am fixing to do. I went to House of Blues Dallas on July 19 with the intention of shooting the headliner and making them the centerpiece of my story. Well, they weren’t having it one bit. The headliner did not want their photo taken and what’s worse, they would not talk to me. So fuck them. The opening act, however was much more receptive and willing. They were the LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS. I know, I know. I too was like: “Who?” at first, but when they started playing, I was an instant convert.
The band’s Facebook page describes their music simply as “Cajun”, in lowercase. Sure, their songs and lyrics are firmly rooted in traditional Cajun, however in reality, the LBR sound is way more complicated; it is an amalgam of classic Cajun, zydeco, rock, jazz and blues, wrapped in a modern casing, complete with contextual, meaningful and relatable lyrics. (Even though many of their songs are in Cajun-French). The LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS’ music is upbeat and enlightening and most importantly, it gets you up and moving.
As long as there is a driving rhythm and the tempo is amiable and inviting, then really, who gives a fuck if you can’t understand most of what is being said. The point is, it’s impossible not to be overtaken by the LBR’S enchanting and addictive tunes. It’s down home, but modern; it’s music that makes you happy. The group is a five-piece ensemble, formed back in 1999 in the Pilette region of Louisiana’s legendary Lafayette Parish. They are founding brothers Louis and Andre Michot, on fiddle/vocals and on accordion/lap steel, respectively, Jonny Campos on guitar and vocals, Eric Heigle on percussion and Bryan Webre on bass.
Over the past decade and half, the guys have been steadily cranking out material. The Grammy-nominated band has released four full length studio albums, two live albums and an EP. Their latest effort, Gasa Gasa Live, was released in 2014, to much critical acclaim.
For an opening act, going on at 8:00 p.m., the LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS drew a hefty crowd at House of Blues. They began their set with “Jolie Filles Veut Pas Moi” and after, the band paused briefly to welcome the crowd with reserved politeness in that most Southern-est of ways. The band then went straight into “Steh”, followed by “La Negress”, a/k/a “Pine Grove Blues.”.
Dallas can be a tough city to play for any out-of-town band, especially if said band performs what basically amounts to as “folk” or “ethnic” music. Most of the ticketholders that I spoke with had never heard of the band before, let alone could tell you the difference between Cajun and Creole/Zydeco. Add in the fact that this is Texas and they are coon-asses, you begin to see the why winning over the audience, in under two songs is such a huge accomplishment. Like I said, I was an instant convert.
Look, any music that makes me want to dance around and drink beer, is good music. My point is, don’t knock something ‘till you have tried it. So, give the LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS a shot, you just might like what you hear; hell, you’ll probably love it.
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: RYAN JAVIER