Even by the standards of Michael Doucet, who has extended the traditional Cajun and Creole fiddle styles of his personal heroes such as Dennis McGee and Canray Fontenot into the future, this one’s a wild card. Playing octave violin, guitar and accordion in addition to fiddle, working solo or with fiddler Mitchell Reed or guitarist Todd Duke, the Beausoleil bandleader offers up nineteen tracks — every one of them a first take — of traditional and original songs.
Needless to add for anyone already familiar with Doucet’s work, the musicianship is as precise as it is loose and spirited. That’s as true for a novel version of the Allen Toussaint/Lee Dorsey New Orleans R&B chestnut “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky” as for something that stays closer to tradition (such as “Bee De La Manche”).
Doucet’s swinging, heavily-accented style covers a lot of ground on workouts such as “Madame Boudreax” and “Reels De Mamou”, and his occasional partners are more than able to go along for the ride (check out Duke on “Fonky Bayou”). He takes excursions into gospel on “A Closer Walk With Thee” and “You Gotta Move”, and into hot jazz with “New Orleans” and “St. Louis Blues”, and it all remains of a piece.