Michael Doucet – From Now On
Michael Doucet is one of the artists responsible for the worldwide enjoyment of the Cajun music of south Louisiana. As the leader of the globally acclaimed Cajun ensemble BeauSoleil, Doucet introduced the world to the unique music of southern Louisiana. BeauSoleil won a GRAMMY award in 1998 for the Best Traditional Folk Album and Michael Doucet received a National Heritage Fellowship award in 2005 from the National Endowment for the Arts for his contributions to American culture and Cajun tradition. Most riders on the Bus are familiar with BeauSoleil from their regular appearances on Garrison Keillor’s ‘Prairie Home Companion.’
From Now On is the latest solo outing from Michael Doucet recorded for the respected Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. The 19 tracks on this CD were recorded without rehearsal, overdubs, or other studio finagling during three sessions in Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Michael plays fiddle, octave violin, guitar, or diatonic accordion on the tracks, accompanied on several tracks by fiddler Mitchell Reed or New Orleans jazz/funk guitarist Todd Duke.
“Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky” opens the CD and sets the tone for the eclectic collection of songs to follow. As to be expected from someone who has such a passion for his native Cajun music, From Now On takes the listener on a musical journey through a collection of wonderful, traditional Cajun tunes and equally amazing numbers from the myriad of musical styles that had profound influence on Cajun music. Doucet’s “Madame Boudreaux” is a reworking of Cajun accordionist Nathan Abshire’s “Mama Rosin”, which was a rework of an early 20th century Cuban tune, “Mama Inez.” Taking Cajun music to it’s deepest roots, “Contredanse de Mamou” is an old Cajun tune that more closely resembles an old world French quadrille than any Cajun tune I have ever heard. The dual fiddles of Doucet and Reed interweave flawlessly on several tracks, but the appropriately titled “Happy One-Step” is especially satisfying. Closing this wonderful collection is the Southern gospel tune turned blue by Reverend Gary Davis and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Michael Doucet presents a moving version on his guitar, singing one verse in Cajun-French to acknowledge the influence of the blues on Cajun music.
The range of music and simple solo, and solo-plus-one makes From Now On a thoroughly satisfying musical endeavor from this ardent champion of Cajun music and culture.
Artist: Michael Doucet
Title: From Now On
Label: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Available from: purchase or download from Smithsonian Folkways or Smithsonian Global Sound
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