When Waylon Thibodeaux opens his mouth, a sizable chunk of Louisiana real estate shows up. Crowned state fiddlin’ champion at the age of 16, the Houma, Louisiana, native has developed a rocking zydeco sound that blends all the varied musical cultures of that sound. Rock, country, and old-school R&B with snippets of western swing make for an eclectic mix that fills up dance floors in Thibodeaux’s home territory and across the country. Thibodeaux acknowledges a debt to Bob Wills fiddler Johnny Gimble, but he also made a stop along the way to pick up on Django Reinhardt’s Hot Club fiddler Stephane Grappelli. It also sounds like he picked up some tidbits from psychedelic be-bop rocker Papa John Creach as well. There’s a chunk of funk as well that pulses underneath Thibodeaux’s easygoing sway, always threatening to break out.
Some filthy slide from Dwight Breland on the title cut of Here We Go Again sounds like a Cajun Johnny Winter, a swamp rockin’ throwdown that morphs into a hoedown when Thibodeaux slides in, fiddle blazin’.
Thibodeaux takes on Johnny’s brother Edgar’s “Way Down South,” featured in the 1992 film My Cousin Vinny, starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei, with Breland’s guitar once again standing in for some Winter family representation. Winter’s piano-drenched original sounded more like Jerry Lee than a member of the Winter brothers’ family. Thibodeaux’s version is just as tinkly, with Rabadash studio owner/producer John Autin providing the keys work as Thibodeaux brings the fiddly funk, resting in the middle for a few bars of bluesy western swing before jumping back into Papa John Creach rockin’ mode.
Even though he calls it “I’m Stuck with the Blues,” this Thibodeaux original would be just as much at home on a Bob Wills western swing set until Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone steps in with some wiggly blues harp to take it to a swampier region.
Willie Nelson gets a nod on “Funny How Time Slips Away,” Thibodeaux’s vocal as smooth as Nelson’s original, though he sweetens it with some fiddle that’s got enough sway to transform this take into an instant swamp pop classic.
It’s a bit misleading to call this one Here We Go Again. Even if the sound is what you’ve come to expect from Thibodeaux, it’s by no means a retread. Stuff this good needs to keep going, and going …