For me, nothing beats a good band, with a great
- Musical proficiency of band (they are all top notch musicians)
- Musical cohesiveness of the band (magical band arrangements)
- Excellent multi-part vocals
- Exceptional rhythm section, drums, bass, up-stroke rhythm guitar techniques
- Traditional and original material on their CD’s – nice variety
- Cohesive writing of original material, experimental music
- Clean textured, dynamic, not cluttered sound
(Especially Live at Whiskey River)
- Interesting song selections, almost European V.S. a Cajun feel
- Wimmer, Granger, Powell fiddling is superb
- Kristine’s authentic heartfelt vocals
- Also nice rhythm cohesiveness of the band
What a fun question! Bryan already named all my current contemporary favorites with the exception of Jason Frey. But why? I love the energy of the Pine Leaf Boys. I love that Courtney has those haunting vocals of my favorite past artists. I love that Horace's Cajun music is so, so, SO authentic. I love Jason Frey's technical accordion style and the speed with which he plays some of the songs, like Perrodin 2-Step. OH! And Bonsoir Catin just ROCKS--the overall feel of the band. I guess it's all for different reasons, then, but I guess I can sum it up by saying that what really moves me is a vocalist who sings from the HEART--who really feels whatever he/she is singing, the authenticity of the music (doesn't matter where they're from), and an awesome accordion player certainly never hurts, but it has to be that he/she's doing it out of fun and love of the instrument, and not because it's technically great.
Oh--and let's not forget the importance of offering lots of thongs in the merch! That's gotta make a band your favorite right off the bat! (Please don't take me seriously on that one.)
That's a very interesting question!
The FEELING is definately the most important thing to me! That the music (& especially the vocals!) comes out of the heart is much more important than anything else! The artists should only play songs they really love (not the songs they think the people will like)...
Being original is also a very good point. But still it has to come out of the heart (so don't try too hard to be original...) And of course the more technical ability you have, the more original you can be...
Yes Yves, that's the kinda answer I was fishing for -- not really naming names, just what aspect of the music from your favorite that speaks volumes to your ears and heart. It is an interesting question maybe quite silly to others; but I ask it because I'm a musician and weekly disc jockey, I'd like to know what moves people the most about what they connect with in a song or artist.
I think this is a difficult question since for a lot of us, it really IS hard to define "who is your favorite." Most folks in this forum probably have a list a mile long, me included. But there has to be one common characteristic that makes the artists on that list share a common thread.
I suspect the answers to this survey will be so varied it will be hard to determine a general consensus, but I think it would be interesting to see the collective responses from this pool of respected talent and enthusiasts.
For me, rich vocals and melodies are the most important. There's a lot of great bands and artists with technical prowess but vocally they are out of tune. No matter how hard I want to appreciate them, it makes it difficult. Conversely, here are some artists without a *beautiful* voice that sing from their souls with such emotion I "feel" what they are conveying. That aspect is included in my quest for rich vocals.
Well put, Yves!
And Rick, that's exactly right--the vocals have to be FELT. Iry and Wilson don't sing beautifully--they sing EMOTIONALLY. Honestly, there have been times living here and feeling so far away from home that I was moved to tears by "Viens Me Chercher" or something of the sort. If someone sings a song like that and it's all beautiful, then it loses the emotion. Emotions ain't pretty! For example, I LOVE Beau Thomas' fiddling and I think he's such a great person, BUT, when I heard him singing "La Valse de 'Tit Oiseau", I was really, really disappointed by the smooth vocals. So that's that.
That's kinda what I was trying to say in my answer. I may like different artists for different reasons, but what it all boils down to is how it makes me feel, how their feelings about what they're doing are translated to my ears.
This type of singing and playing which you discribe is also what makes Mississippi Delta Blues so appealing. It's ruffness is great.
I`m with Bryan on this one.
The frisson factor is very important.
I think the vocal part is very important too.
I can`t understand most of the songs i`m listening, but still they are able to give me the frissons, a tear in my eye, or make my heart jump with joy.
aint that strange?
I don't think so at all, Wilfred. I think you're one of thousands who feel that way! I believe that's why Cajun music has such a large international audience.
Right on Sarah. There are so many great artists that sing with conviction -- that's really important. But that is different than some artist that think they can sing and continue to record CDs. Some of these artist do improve over time -- or perhaps technology has given them a boost through the amazing world of digital plug-ins.
Too often, I see accordion players who automatically assume they must be the lead vocalist. That doesn't always work out. Never heard Jimmy Breaux sing, but from a technical standpoint he's tops on my list -- perhaps not singing allows him to focus on playing.
Just being silly a little bit, but I really like a good holler and a good ending. A piercing cry like Amede Breaux, Octa Clark, and Joe Falcon at a point of high drama and tension really goes over well. I've heard crowds CHEER Octa Clark when he did that. And I like enthusiastic endings: Joe Falcon's "Hold that Tiger!", Don Montoucet's "Right On, Pecan!" Hubert Maitre's "Met les blocks, Adam!," Bois Sec's "Yes Yes," or Cory McCauley's "Yeah, I love what you do for me!"
Nuttin silly about the appreciation of a good holler. The Balfa's and Iry to me always had a perfectly placed yell, icing on the cake.
Many bands/players/singers are so very good that there is a little difference between their playing technical spoken. It's allways a matter of personal taste and what the music is doing with us.
I am a big fan of two dobro players for years.
Jerry Douglas and Mike Auldridge.
In the seventies I prefer Mike, because he didn't play a note to much and every note was on his place.
That litlle things makes if you like one or the other.
It's just a feeling.
To me, it's passion!
I love watching the Pine Leaf Boys with their rebellious/bad boys/rock the boat attitude, their yelling, their energetic & creative sound;
I love watching the Mamou Playboys for their tight sound, their creativity, their fantastic technical abilities and their obvious complicity;
I definitely get the frisson factor every time I listen the Ledet sisters singing Grand Mamou & Tit yeux bleux on Jude Moreau's CD;
I admire the Savoy family for the exceptional contribution they have made to the promotion of Cajun culture & music (the family band, sharing knowledge of accordion building techniques, publishing books, facilitating jams to foster group learning and spread the culture, etc.). I always smile when I listen to some of their CDs and hear Ann or Marc greeting some individuals as they walk in the room, and dedicating songs to specific people in the room. Watching Marc Play (or listening to a CD)is like.... Wow!
I also admire bands and artist who contribute to the preservation and promotion of French through their songs.
So I guess the common denominateur is..... PASSION and the LOVE of what they do.
I base my favorites of the style of playing. My favorites are Ray Abshire and Jo-El Sonnier.
Jo-el is a name that doesnt come up too often, but I agree with you, he is definately at the top of my list, good frisson factor.
My favorite band actively playing are the Pine Leaf Boys because:
--They are passionate, not only about the music but the culture, heritage and history behind it all.
--They are all nice, humble, down to earth guys (well maybe "down to earth" is not the best discription for Jean Bertrand )
--They are young energetic and Wilson is freaking hilarious!
--Multicultural, there are not many creole fiddlers around, but the Pine Leaf Boys have one of the very best in Cedric Watson, which adds a wonderful dimension to their music.
--They are authentic and knowlegable. I love how Wilson will ask trivia questions and give brief history lessons inbetween songs.
--They get the crowd involved, they will ask you to come on stage with them during Zydeco Gris Gris, and if you can play an/or sing Wilson will be more than happy to share the stage with you.
--Each member of the band (maybe with the execption of Jean Bertrand) can play multiple instuments and play them VERY well. And 3 of the 5 members have excellent authentic singing voices.
--THEY FREAKIN ROCK!!!
Someone has an issue with Jean Bertrand
no lie!!! by the way it's spelled JON Bertrand
No, I think you guys have me all wrong. I think "Jon" is a great guy from the few times I have met him. I was just poking fun in a friendly kinda of way. Please keep in mind that when I posted this it was only a few days after seeing a Pine Leaf show where Jon was wearing a toga made out of something like a table cloth, lol...