Buckwheat Zydeco / Marcia Ball
Tuesday, February 9 at 8 p.m.
American musical legend Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr. (a.k.a. Buckwheat Zydeco) is the preeminent ambassador of Louisiana’s zydeco music. If you’ve gotten into zydeco music, or felt its influence, or watched the world celebrate this great aspect of Louisiana culture over the past 30+ years it’s likely been because of Buckwheat Zydeco. Millions witnessed the excitement when Jimmy Fallon chose him to open the final episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The show opened “cold” with a tight close-up of Buck’s accordion, then—joined by Fallon on guitar and backed by the Roots—they kicked off a rousing rendition of “On A Night Like This.”
That song was the title track of Buckwheat Zydeco's groundbreaking first Island Records album and was responsible for bringing the unique sound of zydeco into the musical mainstream in 1987. It was also the first major label zydeco record, and a Grammy® Award nominee. No other zydeco artist has come close to selling as many records or exposing the music to more people around the world. The band claims the three largest selling zydeco albums of all time.
Moving in yet another new direction for zydeco music, Buckwheat Zydeco is featured on their own YouTube channel, Buckwheat’s World. The series showcases musical performances, and presents slices-of-life footage of Buck, the band and friends doing what they do in everyday life in Southwest Louisiana.
In 2014, Buckwheat Zydeco was named the honoree at the Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation Gala. Past headliners at this event have included Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, B. B. King, Fats Domino, Smokey Robinson, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, and Little Richard. “Zydeco and All That Jazz: A Lifetime Tribute to Buckwheat Zydeco,” also boasted an array of zydeco stars including Terrance Simien, C.J. Chenier, Nathan Williams, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr., Rosie Ledet and Li’l Buck Sinegal paying tribute to the honoree.
The band celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2009, and capped it with the release of the Grammy Award-winning Alligator CD, Lay Your Burden Down. In February of 2010 the album won for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album. Buckwheat Zydeco had been nominated four previous times in three different categories. This was the band’s first Grammy win.
The title track of Marcia Ball's new album, The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man, is an irresistible tale of true love at the travelling carnival. It’s a story that nobody but Ball could spin, filled with vivid details, universal truths, and a rambunctious sense of fun and desire. With raucous horns punctuating Ball’s legendary piano pounding and emotional, melodic vocals, the song kicks off the CD of eleven originals and one glorious cover (Hank Ballard’s “He’s The One”). The release mixes Ball’s Gulf Coast blues, New Orleans R&B, swampy Louisiana ballads, and jumping, Tex-Mex flavored zydeco into a one-of‐a-kind musical gumbo, a sound she has been perfecting over the course of her legendary career.
The Texas-born, Louisiana‐raised musical storyteller has earned worldwide fame for her ability to ignite a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she strolls onto the stage. Her groove‐laden New Orleans boogie, deeply soulful ballads and rollicking Gulf Coast blues have made her a one‐of‐a-kind favorite with music fans all over the world. In 2010, she was inducted into the Gulf Coast Hall Of Fame and in 2012 into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. She’s received a total of six Living Blues Awards and nine Blues Music Awards (and has a whopping 42 nominations). She’s received five Grammy® Award nominations, including five of her six previous Alligator albums. Always a songwriter of renown, Ball delved deeper into songwriting than she ever had in her career with her Grammy-nominated 2010 Alligator release, Roadside Attractions, creating one of her best and most personal albums.
On The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man, Ball continues that trajectory, drawing her listeners deep into her music with instantly memorable melodies and imaginative imagery. Her songs paint vibrant musical pictures richly detailed with characters, flavors and scenes straight out of Louisiana, Texas and the Gulf Coast. From the poignant “Just Keep Holding On” to the fresh start of “Clean My House” to the surprising and timely “The Squeeze Is On” to the southern warmth of “Human Kindness”, Ball has delivered a set of songs so well written and so well performed, she’ll astound and delight her longtime fans and give newcomers plenty of reasons to join the party.
The New York Times says, “Marcia Ball plays two-fisted New Orleans barrelhouse piano and sings in a husky, knowing voice about all the trouble men and women can get into on the way to a good time.” The Boston Herald declares, “Ball’s voice can break your heart with a ballad or break your back with a rocker."
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