Cajun Accordion Kings (and the Queen)

Honoring the masters that have paved the way

We are excited to share our latest endeavor with you all! Cajun Accordion Kings (and the Queen) is a collection of songs performed on solo accordion by of 16 the Cajun accordion masters across south Louisiana.

All my life I have loved the sound of the Cajun accordion by itself- it's a band in a box and I've wanted to do this project for years. So when my cousin Steve Riley called me up to tell me about the Cajun Accordion Heroes show he was organizing at the Liberty Theater on March 11, I jumped at the opportunity and asked Steve to coproduce this project with me.

I would first of all like to say thanks to all of these players who took time to be a part of this- this project is very special to me and each of you has contributed a unique and beautiful performance. I would also like to say that this is not the definitive list of the best Cajun accordion players. Let's call it Volume 1, because there are so many great players in the older generation alone that we were not able to include, such as Belton Richard, Nolan Cormier, Reggie Matte, Andrew Cormier, Jimmy Thibodeaux and more. So there's a good chance this project is "to be continued." We haven't even touched on the great Creole and Zydeco players yet!

I'd also like to say that this is basically a collection of modern field recordings. Each track was recorded and filmed live in a full take with no editing, in numerous non-studio environments. Some of the players also chose to sing, but you will notice the the vocal is generally low in the mix because I really wanted to showcase the accordion so i tasked the mic pair to the instrument alone. When you listen to these tracks or watch these videos, you will hear 16 distinctly unique styles. Capturing each performance was a beautiful experience forphotographer/videographer Jo Vidrine and I and I am proud to share this with you from all of us at Valcour Records.

Listen to Jimmy Breaux's rock solid timing, and Marc Savoy's style and grace, Steve Riley's and Jason Frey's precision and speed. There's Jo-El Sonniers sweet dedication to his mother after a heartfelt performance and Paul Daigle's rhythmic ferocity. Listen to Wayne Toups hammering out an old favorite at max volume, or to Ray Abshire delicately delivering the blues. This is definitely NOT a bunch of "chank a chank."

And check out the videos below, filmed by Jo Vidrine.

Enjoy, my friends!
-Joel Savoy