Ganey Arsement – Le Fogeron
Accordionist Ganey Arsement’s roots are deeply embedded in Cajun culture. His great-grandfather André Doucet was as well-known for his accordion playing as he was for his blacksmithing skills. His grandparents were popular dancers who were also instrumental in the founding of the Cajun French Music Association, which in addition to promoting Cajun music and culture, hosts the annual LeCajun Awards, the Cajun Grammys. He’s toured with Balfa Toujours and performed with Doug Kershaw and Jo-El Sonnier.
“Here In My Arms” is a tribute to his grandfather, whose dancing career ended when he lost a leg. But in the song rendered in both English and French, Arsement has him made whole again, dancing with his wife in heaven.
The accordionist whips up some Creole froth on “John Dale’s Zydeco,” Cajunized by the fiddle break in the middle of Arsement’s pumping squeezebox rhythms.
Mullican’s “Pipeliner Blues” he’s renamed “Old Pipeliner.” Arsement changes things up a bit, picking up the tempo and inserting a verse from Joe Turner’s “Shake Rattle And Roll,” his burbling accordion buoyed by snaky pedal steel from Daniel Cormier and some fiery fiddlin’ from Clint Ward.
“I’m Sorry” is old school country with a faint Tex-ex flavor, Buck Owens meets Freddy Fender.
Most people are more familiar with Bill Monroe’s version of “In The Pines,” but Leadbelly also recorded a starker, folkier version around the same time, which Arsement pays homage to here, blending a high and lonesome bluegrass vocal with a plodding acoustic guitar accompaniment, the melody similar to “House of the Rising Sun.”
Although “Small Town” shares a title with John Mellencamp, the two are vastly different in tone and content. Propelled by cheerleader soft rock, Mellancamp’s protagonist never leaves his local burg, while Arsement’s, driven by hard core pedal steel and delivered in a twangy, country drawl, goes out into the world with “a suitcase, my guitar and my old Ford truck,” only to have the glitter of the big city drive him home to the life he had gone too long without. “I think I’ll just hang around,” he concludes, and once you’ve heard what Ganey Arsement can do with a lyric, his voice and an accordion, you’ll be glad he did.
By Grant Britt