Posts in the ZYDECO category

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.


“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





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



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.



“…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


SUNPIE: Sunpie

SUNPIE“Sunpie Barnes is to zydeco what Taj Mahal is to blues—an eclectic type who follows his music to African and Caribbean roots.” – Brett Milano, Offbeat Magazine
Sunpie in the colorful top hat on the cover of this CD is none other than Bruce Sunpie Barnes. The zydeco star is based in Louisiana, where by day he is a park ranger and naturalist with the National Park Service at Jean Lafitte National Park and at night he transforms into one of the most popular musicians in the region. Adept at numerous instruments — including the accordion, harmonica, and piano and vocals — Barnes shows his versatility on this CD, released in 2001. In it, sounds from different places and genres merge into something that Barnes has dubbed “Bouje, Bouje.” A listener can hear zydeco, of course, but there is also a definite Afro-Caribbean influence, along with the funky backbeat that characterizes the music of the city of New Orleans. The CD features tunes written by the multi-talentedBarnes. It opens on a pleasant note with the “Lah Lah Song,” with an infectious rhythm that permeates the entire album. Barnes sings in both English and French. “Mo Bien Comme Me Ye” is followed by a whimsical piece called “Tomato.” He sings — or is that howls — on his popular song about the legend of the werewolf in the Louisiana swamp country, entitled “Loup Garou, Loup Garou.” All the while there is the accordion or harmonica to keep the toes tapping. “Mother Earth” speaks to Barnes’ deep love for nature, as evidenced by his choice of day jobs. The music closes out with “Blues With a Groove,” which proves the point: This music is meant for dancing.”




leGrandBleu“…one of the hottest, most creative young bands to emerge from Southern Louisiana in a long time…everything that’s best in American multi-cultural music.” – Album Network

Le Grand Bleu offers a portrait of the Bluerunners as a mature ensemble presenting a fresh approach to roots rock. Translated as “The Big Blue,” the recording is an excursion into Americana via Southwest Louisiana: part Southern urban folk, part traditional Cajun, and part no-holds-barred rock with a definitive edge.

Le Grand Bleu is unmistakably a rock record, but with a first-class Cajun pedigree. It was recorded at the legendary LaLouisianne Studios with second-generation engineer David Rachou and recorded and mixed at Dockside with Tony Daigle (who has produced records of note in Louisiana from BB King’s most recent to the Grammy-award-winning Beausoleil CD L’Amour Ou La Folie.) Accordionist Adrian Huval, of the Huval family band Jambalaya, was recruited as a band member. Bluesman Sonny Landreth and Beausoleil leader and fiddler Michael Doucet make guest appearances on Le Grand Bleu. Internationally recognized folklore photographer Philip Gould provided the cover picture. Nonetheless, the anticipation for the new CD is considerably wider, extending well into what Southwest Louisiana calls “the other forty-nine.”

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