Linzay Young & Joel Savoy
2009, Valcour Records
Review courtesy of Zach Hudson
Innovation and modernization helps keep a musical tradition fresh and alive; no one disputes that, but there are times when even roots music needs to go back to its… er… roots. That’s what Linzay Young and Joel Savoy have done on their new self-titled release. They take Cajun music back not only before drum kits and electric basses, but before the accordion. How’s that for old school? Before the one-row accordion got popular in Cajun music, it was all up to the fiddle, often two of them, and that is what Linzay and Joel have channeled. The French lyrics are sung in the perfectly unpolished voices natural to the music. The tunes are simple, authentic and straight from the heart, and the bayou.
For such a back-to-the-basics album, the thirteen tracks are amazingly diverse. They include twin fiddle, fiddle and guitar, fiddle and voice, and vocal harmony. Fast and slow, in major and minor keys, the tunes are interesting and unique, and seem to cover every mood of traditional Cajun tune I can think of. Each is fresh, but firmly part of a tradition.
I have nothing against the accordion, but without it, the fiddles and voices are allowed some room to really express the subtlety of Cajun music. Linzay and Joel are both technical geniuses, but their album captures the honest simplicity that makes Cajun music what it is.
Hearth Music Note: Thanks to Zach Hudson for the review and Joel Savoy at Valcour for permission to stream the music. Support Cajun roots music by buying the CD and spreading the word!
Visit Hearth Music's blog to listen to audio from this CD
Also: check out this cool video of Linzay Young's prodigious cooking talents: