Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole | Mayne Stage | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader
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Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole 

When: Fri., March 14, 9 p.m. 2014
Price: $15-$25
I can’t think of an ambassador for the music of Louisiana’s bayou country who’s more tireless and inspired than Cedric Watson—and he was born and raised in San Felipe, Texas, 50 miles west of Houston. When he was a child, though, his family would visit Jennings, Louisiana, near Lake Charles, and he absorbed the local culture—especially the music. In the mid-aughts he got his start as a member of the Pine Leaf Boys, and since 2007 he’s been making records under his own name, developing an expansive modern take on his adopted state’s already hybridized Creole sounds, flavoring it with hearty injections of soul and Caribbean influences as well as whiffs of bluegrass and string-band music—an approach that reached its fullest expression yet on last year’s Le Troubadour Creole (on his own Lache Pas imprint). Watson is a fantastic vocalist, adding subtle melodic shadings and R&B phrasing to his hard-grooving songs, and though his tight, electric sound has little in common superficially with the rough-hewn delivery of ancestors such as Canray Fontenot and Boozoo Chavis, his energy is just as raw and ragged. His brief stab at rapping on “L’argent N’as Pas D’ame” falls flat, but his singing carries a profound force—and he’s a master fiddler and accordion player, propelling the band unstintingly with either instrument. —Peter Margasak

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