Multi-talented singer, songwriter and accordionist Terrance Simien was first introduced to Zydeco music in 1981, around the time he got his first accordion. The Tribute Sessions
is an homage to those musicians who highly influenced the singer and songwriter. Along with nods to Canray Fontenot, Clifton Chenier and A.P. Carter, Simien covers Sam Cooke’s “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day.” Simien’s warm, melodious tone reminds us of Cooke’s heyday and the late 50’s pop sounds.
With the beginning of each cut, Simien speaks about the influence of the songs’ authors, along with a few biographical tidbits important to the leader. Simien’s accordion technique is superb. Equally impressive are the drums and percussion that so enhance the music. Most noteworthy is the foot-tapping number, “That Was Your Mother.”
For all of its traces of blues, the disc is loaded with emotion. As a novice to Zydeco music, I was pleasantly surprised by the gaiety, sadness, melancholy and elation in the music. Every cut gives a feeling that something wonderful is happening, regardless of the theme. Songs sung in French seal the experience for their positive vibe.
If you are unfamiliar with Zydeco music, this CD is a nice candidate to start your adventure. Where “Zydeco Cha Cha” is danceable, the accordion-drum combination of “Yesterday” will have you bouncing with a non-stop rhythm, with which Simien manages to tackle with perfect syncopation. Finally, Simien reaches beyond traditional Creole influences. He borrows from the fabric of reggae, blues, jazz and pop to provide a totally enjoyable experience. Whether you are already a fan of Zydeco or this is a new world to explore, this release comes highly recommended.
Personnel: Terrance Simien (accordion, vocals); Danny Williams (keyboards, vocals); Ralph Fontenot (rubboard/frottoir); Nick Lewis (bass); Glenn LeBlanc (guitar); Danny Devillier (drums, percussion); Djalma Garnier (guest fiddle)