Cajun and zydeco music is too powerfully grooving to ever go away. But its younger practitioners, such as the Lost Bayou Ramblers, who play Growlers American Grill on Thursday, are taking it in new directions while staying true to the genre’s basic form.
On the Ramblers’ sixth disc, “Mammoth Waltz,” lots of spooky sound effects give a dub-like feel to the band’s crashing grooves, swinging fiddles and swirling accordions. The band’s Louis Michot (fiddle, vocals) says that’s the way he and his crew, including his brother, Andre Michot (accordion, lap steel) want it.
“Everyone takes their own take on it,” he said of the many Cajun bands out on the road. “And Cajun music is a really diverse music, and has always been influenced by the outside. It helps to pull people that are interested in other musics to Cajun music.
“It’s always continued to keep itself modern, in certain respects. There’s a very traditional aspect to it that we all grew up in. My brother and I, we started a band and learned hundreds of songs before we started writing our own. We’ve been doing it long enough now to where we really want to bring our own influences that we grew up with besides Cajun music – rock ‘n’ roll, psychedelic things and all kind of stuff into it.
They were going for what Louis Michot called a “sonic element of mystery.”
“We did it all with the instruments that we have – guitars, fiddles, accordion, drums, a couple other things. … We actually paddled a canoe and recorded the strokes and some night sounds, all kind of stuff. Most of it either is instruments or some organic elements from the bayou right here.”
The record features a guest appearance from Dr. John. It also features grooves throughout supplied by Austin, Texas, drummer Paulie Deathwish. Now *that* is a great drummer name!
Hear streaming music on this podcast — “Marie Noire” (French for “Black Tide,” this one is about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico) — “Coteau Guidry” and “Blues de Bernadette.” If you can’t speak Cajun French, check out the band’s lyrics page, where it’s all translated.