REVIEW: Kyle Huval and the Dixie Club Ramblers – The Corner Post (Le Poteau De Coin)

Once again I find myself musically transported to the bayou country of South Louisiana, listening to the latest release from Swallow Records. The Corner Post (Le Poteau De Coin), performed by accordionist Kyle Huval and the Dixie Club Ramblers, provides plenty of proof that the musical traditions of the area are being upheld.

The group derives its name from leader Huval’s own history — his grandparents owned the legendary Dixie Club near Eunice, Louisiana, the area that he still calls home. Helping him keep the traditional Cajun sound alive are a number of good musicians, including fiddlers Brandon Moreau and Robin Bruck-Tiralla, along with drummer Cody LaFleur and Beth Fogelman on guitar. (They’re joined by guest artists on some cuts.)

It’s a band that can do justice to traditional Cajun music, as evidenced by many of the tracks on the album, including “Young Boys of the Country,” and “Two Step d’Acadien.” Both are among several on the album that pay tribute to the legendary Dewey Balfa (who Moreau’s father played with years ago).

But as much as I enjoy the sound of Cajun music done up right, I also found myself intrigued by a lagniappe – something extra – on this album, in the form of some less-conventional pieces. A couple of the band members have ties to the music of other cultures, including Appalachian and European, and it definitely flavors some of the music.

A good example of a different sound is “Fiddlesticks / J’ai ete au Bal,” an instrumental combining of fiddle and banjo with some unusual rhythms provided by the percussion. I also enjoyed “Liberty,” which evokes visions of a barn dance in Appalachia — but then transforms itself into something closer to a Cajun sound, all via a strong fiddle lead.

Cajun blues is well-represented too, with the inclusion of “The Little Animal Blues (Blues de ‘tit Betaille),” a song written by Moreau just for this album. Its slow, measured beat and fiddle lead are almost hypnotic, and set a very somber mood.

An outstanding collection of modern Cajun music that also gives a tip of the hat to the past masters, along with some exciting new sounds. It’s a good sign that the music of their heritage is alive and well in the latest generation of bayou artists.

Dixie Club Ramblers Myspace

01- Cottontail Two Step (3:37)
02- Misery Waltz (Valse de Misere) (3:01)
03- Young Boys of the Country (Jeunes Gens de la Campagne) (2:38)
04- Fiddlesticks / J’ai ete au Bal (2:49)
05- Sunny’s Waltz (4:33)
06- Two Step d’Acadien (3:11)
07- The Little Animal Blues (Blues de ‘tit Betaille) (3:48)
08- Don’t Drop the Potato (Lache Pas la Patate) (3:13)
09- I Would Like to Forgive You (J’aimerais te Pardonne) (4:35)
10- Lake Arthur Stomp (4:49)
11- The Wedding March (Marche du Mariage) (5:57)
12- Valse d’Eunice (Eunice Waltz) (2:55)
13- Hoffman’s Reel (Reel d’Hoffman) (3:23)
14- You Used to Call Me (3:54)
15- Liberty (3:16)

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