Terrance Simien – The Dockside Sessions
Cajun and Zydeco music is the staple of the dance halls of Louisiana and East Texas, it is known for its roots in the blues and its marriage to French music, its energetic performers, and its danceability. Those who sing the songs generally aren’t known to have the voices of Johnny Adams or Sam Cooke. What a revelation when the whole package is contained in one person. There are very few singers who can make me tear flow, however when Sam Cooke sings “A Change Is Gonna Come,” it is all over. Just in case you think that is a throw away line listen to Terrance Simien’s Tribute Sessions and see what he can do with his voice and what in particular he does with Sam Cooke’s, “Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day.” His voice is just sheer magic and so expressive.
Mr. Simien wrote four of the tunes on this disc, though they are mostly sung in French you don’t even have to have knowledge of the language to understand the tone of the songs. He is exceedingly adept at picking good songs that fit both his style and melodious voice, and they are mostly in English. His ear for songs that fit him is so spot on and he doesn’t hesitate to include one of his favorite artists Bob Dylan, there are 3 of his songs here, and he does them in his own way, which is a delight: to hear for instance, “You Go Your Way,” done as a snappy 2-step. And there is a great take on a J.Garcia/W.Kreutzmann/R.Hunter (Grateful Dead) song. He also does a song written by Producer George Receli, who came home to Louisiana to work with Terrence on this disc, that his daughter, Marcella Simien, sings on. The song, “Ava Magnolia”, features Marcella on lead;” I saw her when she was a kid about 14 year ago and she can displays such taste and power in her voice here that I am stunned (when will Marcella do a disc?). Then, listen to the closing song, I won’t ruin the surprise however it is a soul-stirring version of a popular song. But this singer is one whose voice at times has the smoothness of Sam Cook’s, or the rasp of Mr. Dylan, as needed and is as versatile as anyone and as supportive of his whole community in all ways as can be. A favorite so far this year.
MusicMattersRecords – terrancesimien.com