LOUISIANA RED HOT RECORDS

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THE BLUERUNNERS

BluerunnersBIO

In 1991 The Bluerunners leapt from Lafayette, Louisiana into the white-hot glare of the national limelight. Propelled by a seamless (if seemingly unlikely) blend of frenetic cow-punk originals and traditional Cajun music, The Bluerunners’ self-titled major label album earned the group rave reviews in rock circles and an important niche in the rich musical history of South Louisiana. Discerning critics praised The Bluerunners’ eclectic yet organic approach and the distinctive songwriting of Mark Meaux, making favorable comparisons to the likes of The Band, and Los Lobos.

Fourteen years, three subsequent albums and many career cycles later, The Bluerunners shine radiant and luminescent once again, thanks to their glowing new album, Honey Slides, released on their newly-formed label, Bayou Vista. As always, The Bluerunners remain rooted in the Cajun music and Creole zydeco of their home turf, as well as the gutbucket blues and country that form musical lingua franca of the South. The edgy punk sensibility of their early years is still evident as well.

But Honey Slides also reflects The Bluerunners’ maturing, burnished skills. Their effortless groove grinds and lilts in tandem, as befits a band based in a city where everybody dances. Their deft instrumental chops and heartfelt vocals reveal years of doctoral studies at Bandstand University, Meaux plays guitars (lead and rhythm), mandolin, and fiddle on “Mardi Gras Jig”. Ade Huval’s agile accordion work underscores the band’s South Louisiana identity, while lap-steel guitarist Willy Golden makes the blues and country connection. The impeccable pocket provided by bassist Cal Stevenson and drummer Frank Kincel prove that bass and drums are indeed “one instrument played by two people.” Special guest Mike Chiasson adds rhythmic texture on washboard throughout the album, while Mitch Reed plays some fine fiddle on “Coulee Rodair” and Valse De Grand Pere”. Susan Cowsill – whose lengthy resumé includes the late, lamented Continental Drifters as well as The Cowsills – adds haunting vocal harmonies to the poignant “Ghost of a Girl.”

Among Honey Slides’ many revelations is Mark Meaux’s growth as a wise, eloquent lyricist who speaks volumes with deceptively simple lyrics. Sophisticated but disarmingly down-home, Meaux’s songs – and his wry delivery, as the band’s signature vocalist – embody the Bluerunners’ urbane/rural balance. So do the full-throttle vocals of Ade Huval, who sings lead on “Coulee Rodair” and “Lune de Minuit.”

Mark Meaux formed The Bluerunners in 1987. This was an especially inventive musical era, even by South Louisiana’s high standards. Lafayette and environs were cresting a heady wave of cultural resurgence that began swelling in the late 1970s. The region’s French music and dialects, scorned and suppressed for decades, came to be revered, celebrated, and documented. A collective weight lifted from Cajun and Creole shoulders as conformist assimilation into America’s mainstream was replaced by ethnic pride. Elderly musicians – such as Dennis McGee, and Canray Fontenot – enjoyed unexpected late-life career revivals. Young musicians – such as Michael Doucet and Zachary Richard – embraced the rich local repertoire of Cajun music and zydeco. They honored this legacy, once dismissed as passé, with verbatim performances of obscure archaic classics that became favorites once again. But they also blended Cajun music and zydeco with a wealth of far-flung contemporary styles to invent a vital new sound that evolved constantly. All genres were fair play for this creative process, and Mark Meaux chose to meld his Cajun roots with punk rock.

“I loved bands like X and The Blasters. We heard all that, growing up here, we picked up on everything that was popular nationally. Cajun music wasn’t considered important in our house when I was a kid,” Meaux reflects. “But at that time, nobody really gave much credence to Cajun culture, it just was there. It wasn’t until a few years later when I was a teenager going out to hear live music, people like the King of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier, and bands like The Red Beans and Rice Revue, that it started to sink in how unique this area really is. And later, when I formed the Bluerunners, we did the ‘harder, faster, louder punk rock thing’ but we could also hear the local musical and cultural elements that kept popping up in our music. Seventeen years later I can see that it’s been a long trip of learning about ourselves, and where we come from. The greatest gift we’ve had is the long line of musical “teachers” that live or have lived among us.”

This stylistic synthesis is evident on Honey Slides. The Cajun/zydeco dance-hall tradition, with its blues and country components, is amply evident on “Working Man’s Zydeco,” “Coulee Rodair,” “Walking and Sighing,” the hypnotic, one-chord “Mardi Gras Jig,” the sweet twin fiddles of “Valse de Grand Pere,” the self-explanatory “King Snake Crawl,” and “Lune de Minuit,” with its waltzing homage to Clifton Chenier. Just try not dance to these songs! The full-tilt romp of “Black Cat Bone” recaptures The Bluerunners’ pioneer punk-Cajun synthesis, with Willy Golden’s howl-at-the-moon, blues-drenched vocals. Meaux’s sly vocal phrasing and succinct story-telling highlight “Ghost of a Girl,” the soul-baring, funky “The Grave Digger,” and the album’s tender closing number, “Big Head.”

Expertly produced by Mark Meaux and recording engineer Ivan Klisanin, Honey Slides was recorded in Lafayette. This decision underscores The Bluerunners’ strong sense of regional identity and musical community. “We’re indebted to so many musicians,” Meaux observes. “Clifton Chenier, Dewey Balfa, Canray Fontenot, Boozoo Chavis. And maybe even more importantly, the folks that directly proceeded us, like Michael Doucet and Beausoleil, Zachary Richard, and Sonny Lnadreth, who showed us the importance of the culture through their work. They could have chosen any genre of music to work in, but they always played from a Louisiana perspective first. That showed us how important they felt the Cajun/Creole culture was, and how important it was to include French lyrics in their music. That had a far greater impact on us than any sociological lecture ever could have – and all three of those artists are making the best music of their careers right now. ‘Many other folks influence us,” Meaux continues, “both from here and elsewhere – Los Lobos, Bob Dylan, the icons. But something that really helped us create Honey Slides is the wealth of great new young bands and players from this area – The Lost Bayou Ramblers, Feu Follet, Courtney Granger, Joel Savoy. And our contemporaries- Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Mitch Reed, Kevin Wimmer, and Dirk Powel. All these great musicians live in and around Lafayette and are doing some of their best work right now. It’s exciting. It inspires us Bluerunners. We felt like we’d better bring something good to the table just to keep up with the pack”.


PRESS

“Never mind that Lafayette’s Bluerunners have stuck it out longer than the majority of bands working the Hub City scene. Regrets, there’ve been a few, but hands down, the Bluerunners outdid themselves this time with their fifth effort in a storied 17-year-run. Gone are the alt-country influences and much of the Cajun traditionalism found on the previous couple of outings. Rather this time they’re more akin to the Latin Playboys interpreting artsy blues-based zydeco while howling on the Atchafalaya levee under a glowing full moon. Scrumptious tunes like “Voodoomens and Voodoo Dolls” and Jessie Mae Hemphill’s “Black Cat Bone” featuring Will Golden’s toasty slide run ahead of the curve while another hipster, “I Got You,” resembles Bob Dylan trapped in an insufferable South Louisiana summer without an air conditioner. A well-concocted brew of sorts, there’s garage band old school zydeco (“Working Man’s Zydeco”), a nod to Creole fiddler Canray Fontenot (“Coulee Rodair”) and cerebrally crafted songs (“The Gravedigger”) textured with layers of meanings and sonic coolness. Cal Stevenson’s beautiful “Valse de Grand Pere” is built upon subtly swirling undertones. “Lune du Minuit” with accordionist Adrian Huval’s gliding five-row stylings is a good ole fashion clanky waltz. Killer stuff.” – Dan Willging, Offbeat Magazine

“The last time singer-guitarist Mark Meaux and his band were noticed outside their Lafayette swampland was in the early ’90’s when a thrilling if uneasy sonic alliance of zydeco and X inspired punk rock fired up their debut album on Island. Here again the ‘Runners make a belated bid for wider recognition by going beyond dance-hall research to find a fresh, edgy sound that simultaneously reveals their full understanding of Cajun/Creole culture and their affinity for blues-rock recklessness. Accordian player Ade Huval works wonders focusing the intensity in “Coulee Rodaire,” “Kingsnake Crawl,” and 11 other selections” – Frank-John Hadley, Down Beat Magazine

“Somewhere between BeauSoleil and Los Lobos, two great American roots music bands, there’s the Bluerunners. The Lafayette band’s roots-dipped Honey Slides manages to be rocking, waltzing, two-stepping and laid-back and contemplative, all in a mere 13 tracks.” – John Wirt, The Advocate

CHUBBY CARRIER

Chubby CBIO

Chubby Carrier is undeniably “The World’s Premier Zydeco Showman.” Born on July 1, 1967 in Churchpoint, Louisiana, Chubby is the third generation of zydeco artists with such famous relatives as Roy Carrier (father), Warren Carrier (grandfather), and cousins Bebe and Calvin Carrier who are presently considered legends in zydeco history.
Chubby began his musical career at the age of 12 by playing drums with his father’s band. He began playing the accordion at the age of 15. By age 17, Chubby had begun to play with Terrance Siemien and toured the world for 2 1/2 years, before forming his own band in 1989.

Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band have recorded ten CDs over the past 22 years of Chubby’s professional career. His band has traveled all over the world, performing to audiences in all parts of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, Canada. North Africa and Europe. Chubby and the band travel 150-175 days a year, taking his act to big festivals such as the New Orleans Jazz Fest, the Chicago Blues Fest. Summerfest (Milwaukee), Memphis in May, and several festivals in Europe. Chubby has also done guest appearances on recordings for Tab Benoit, 6Was9, and Jimmy Thackery. Ann Wilson of the group Heart encourages Chubby to “continue the great sound that you have. This sound will take you places.”

In 2011, Chubby won the Grammy for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album for his critically acclaimed album “Zydeco Junkie”

 


PRESS

“This is truly a new level of ‘swamp funk’ that is going to start rising from the mists of the bayous and taking the country by insidious invasion” – Bob Gottlieb, AllMusic.com

www.chubbycarrier.com

Honey Island Swamp BandBIO

Great music begins with great songs, and great songs are what the Honey Island Swamp Band is all about. The band came together after Aaron Wilkinson (acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Chris Mule’ (electric guitar, vocals) were marooned in San Francisco after the levee breaches following Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, and had a chance encounter with fellow New Orleans evacuees Sam Price (bass, vocals) and Garland Paul(drums, vocals) at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room on Fillmore Street. They knew each other from having all played together in some form or another in various New Orleans bands, and with the great unknown regarding their return to their underwater hometown looming in the distance, they decided to put together a band and get some gigs going. Fortunately, the Boom Boom Room’s owner Alex Andreas offered the band a weekly gig on the spot.

Sunday nights at the Boom Boom Room soon became a favorite of Bay Area roots music lovers, who have a long-standing affinity for New Orleans music and musicians. Two months into the residency, sound engineer Robert Gatley approached the band with a rare opportunity — he wanted to record a Honey Island Swamp Band album at the legendary Record Plant studios in Sausalito, where he worked. The 7-song eponymous debut “Honey Island Swamp Band”came together beautifully, with Wilkinson and Mulé both contributing favorite originals, and was received so well that they all decided to continue the band upon moving back to New Orleans in 2007.

Honey Island Swamp Band‘s music has been described as “Bayou Americana”with timeless songs from Wilkinson & Mulé, highlighted by Mulé’s searing guitar, Wilkinson’s sure-handed mandolin, and 4-part vocal harmonies, all anchored by the powerful groove of Price & Paul’s Louisiana stomp rhythm section. The addition of Trevor Brooks on Hammond B-3 organ to the HISB family in 2010 has rounded out the band’s sound, which draws from a variety of influences in the world of roots music, including artists such as Lowell George & Little Feat, The Band, Taj Mahal, Gram Parsons, Jerry Garcia, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Reed, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, and New Orleans’ own Earl King and Dr. John.

In April 2009, the band released its first full-length album entitled Wishing Well. The album was well-received and based on the strength of such songs as “Natural Born Fool”, “Till the Money’s Gone”, and the  title track, Wishing Wellwas awarded 2009′s “Best Blues Album” by OffBeat Magazine, which also named HISB as 2009’s “Best Emerging Artist” and 2010’s “Best Roots Rock Artist”. Most recently HISB won the award for “Best Roots Rock Artist” of 2011 at the Big Easy Awards, New Orleans’ most prestigious arts and entertainment honors.

2010’s Good To You was named to several “Top Ten CDs of 2010″ lists, and has quickly become a staple on the Crescent City’s legendary radio station WWOZas well as on Sirius/XM Bluesville. It features the southern strut of songs such as “Be Good”, “300 Pounds” and the album’s first single “Chocolate Cake.”

Now the band is gearing up for their first nationally-distributed studio recording, Cane Sugar, on Louisiana Red Hot Records in late July 2013. Produced by Grammy-winning producer John Porter, the 12 new songs illuminate the mix of country-inflected rock, New Orleans funky blues and infectious songwriting that makes Honey Island Swamp Band‘s music so familiar yet unique at the same time. Cane Sugar is by far their most fully-realized recording to date and reflects the finely tuned unit the band has become after incessant touring.


PRESS

“Somewhere, there exists a dark, smoky bar with a jukebox that spins George Jones, Gram Parsons, Delbert McClinton, and Little Feat. And if that fantasy honky-tonk lights your Marlboro, you need to know about Honey Island Swamp Band.” – Broward-Palm Beach New Times

“Vintage country meets Gulf Coast boogie-woogie blues.” – Bthesite, Baltimore Sun

“The Honey Island Swamp is a real place. It resides near the border of Louisiana and Mississippi. It’s therefore a fitting name for this band that draws inspiration from the music of those two states. With the Honey Island Swamp Band, soul, country, R&B and blues are all on equal footing. The two man songwriting/guitarist team of Chris Mulé and Aaron Wilkinson produce expressive, hook-laden tunes that honor songcraft while respecting the groove.” – Jambase.com

“What a fine band this is – an utterly refreshing, unpretentious group of first-rate instrumentalists who also sing engagingly. Their music is as delicious as their name.” – Susan Peña, The Reading Eagle

www.honeyislandswampband.com

 

LIL’ MALCOM & THE HOUSE ROCKERS

lilMalcomBIO

Lil’ Malcolm & The House Rockers personify two closely related terms: family and tradition. This five-man band centers on guitarist Percy Walker and his two sons, drummer Percy Walker, Jr. and accordionist Lil’ Malcolm Walker. Inspired by Zydeco legends like Buckwheat Zydeco and Rockin’ Dopsie, the band’s steady focus on tradition sets them apart from the newest wave of “pop Zydeco” bands.

Percy Walker, Sr. began his musical career at an early age, learning to play the drums from his older brother Joe Walker. He soon moved to guitar, then bass, then accordion. Percy began playing in bands at the age of ten, even playing with the legendary Rockin’ Dopsie during his musical career. Eventually he formed a band of his own, Percy Walker & The House Rockers.

Percy taught his children to play, much like his older brother taught him. The children shared Percy’s devotion and love of the music, and Percy was pleased to have young Zydeco devotees following in his footsteps. Even in their youth, Percy’s sons were anxious to start a band with their talented father. Soon the boys starting playing house parties and garnering great crowd reactions. When the diminutive Malcolm started a group, he chose the name of his father’s band. Lil’ Malcolm & The House Rockers was a name that instantly reflected the group’s emphasis on family ties, and on great music.

The new release by Lil’ Malcolm & The House Rockers, Zydeco Three Way, honors two late Zydeco greats: Rockin’ Sidney and Clifton Chenier. These innovators of Zydeco inspired the House Rockers in their early days of playing music. Percy emphasized throughout his sons’ musical training that they keep Zydeco tradition in their sound, creating music that is pure, solid Zydeco.

Lil’ Malcolm & The House Rockers also place a strong emphasis on creating live shows that are exciting and fun. “We let the crowd enjoy (the music) with us,” remarks Percy Walker, Sr., adding that he likes to pull audience members onto the stage to dance and play with the band. The House Rockers note that keeping tradition in Zydeco is the best way to make the music enjoyable. By honoring the musical styles that were successfully established by legendary Zydeco figures, the House Rockers are a band that is sure to please.

Visit Lil’ Malcolm & The House Rockers’ website here

GREGG MARTINEZ

Gregg_MartinezBIO

A premier, powerhouse vocalist of Louisiana, Gregg Martinez (from the Spanish Creoles of Bayou Lafourche) is a sensationally soulful baritone often compared to Sam Cooke and Luther Vandross. Recognized early on in local churches and bars, the young Martinez rapidly ascended all the way to an exclusive contract with billionaire Donald Trump in Atlantic City, and a seven figure recording deal with multi-platinum Philly producers Victor Carstarphen and Keith Benson. On the brink of stardom, though, the bubble burst, eventually returning the prodigal son to his native Bayou Blues and Creole Soul roots.

The late Ed Bradley of TV’s 60 Minutes—upon seeing him perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2005—called Gregg Martinez one of America’s greatest hidden treasures. His talent is the stuff of legend and even after more than thirty-five years, Gregg is better than ever. He has performed throughout the U.S. and has toured South Africa, England, Wales, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Gregg has released ten recordings, Wonders Never Cease- 1991, Love Has A Voice- 1993, They That Wait- 1997, For The Ages- 1999, All The Days- 2001, Christmas- 2002, Bring Down The Thunder- 2004, Big Bad Daddy- 2006, South Of The Parish Line-2011, and the brand new Creole Soul-2013, his first on Louisiana Red Hot Records. His music is played on radio stations in the U.S. and abroad. Gregg has shared the stage with many notable artists including Stevie Wonder, Foreigner, BTO, Dobie Gray, Shirley Caesar, Percy Sledge, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Patti Labelle, and Bobby “Blue” Bland. He is also the former lead singer of the Boogie Kings, for which, as a member of that legendary group, he was selected into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2010. He wrote and recorded the title song for their final album, Never Go Away- 2007. He has twice been nominated for Best Male Vocalist by OFFBEAT Magazine – the only one outside of New Orleans to ever receive a nod in this category. He recently had the incredible honor of singing for the funeral of the great Percy Sledge.

If Elvis were remaking his famous New Orleans movie now, the man “…with a great big soul” he’d be singing about would be Gregg Martinez – the REAL King Creole.

 


PRESS

“…one of America’s greatest hidden treasures. ” – Ed Bradley, 60 Minutes

“…the white Teddy Pendergrass.” – Offbeat Magazine

“…brilliant interpretive success. A real find.” – Blues Revue

“A strong, daring presence – heartfelt when others are boastful, soulful when others simply shout.” – Something Else

“The best voice in Atlantic City and a terrific performer.” – Donald Trump

“A world class talent.” – Atlantic City Magazine

“Martinez is a vocal genius…the smoothness of Sam Cooke.” – Times Record News

“One day soon, we will all be buying his records.” – Patti Labelle

“My personal favorite.” – Ivana Trump

“…the most beautiful instrument is the human voice and Gregg Martinez has one of the best ever.” – Blues Radio, Poland

www.greggmartinez.com

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