Corey Ledet is Connecting With His Ancestors on 'Zydeco'
A3973007816 10.jpg

The self-titled album Corey Ledet Zydeco, an accordion-driven encapsulation of all of Louisiana’s trademarks, is this leading light from Zydeco's 14th album. Zydeco sees Ledet fusing his music with his family's legacy – breathing new life into zydeco, ragtime, jazz, blues, creole and even be-bop. Ledet can be seen on lead, harmony and backing vocals, accordion, drums and washboard.

Zydeco was produced by Ledet and Louis Michot, recorded at Dockside Studios, Maurice, Louisiana, June 2019 with Justin Tocket Engineering and Mixing. It was mastered by Mark Bingham at the Nina Hwy Studio near Henderson. He was joined by Cecil Green on the Hammond B3 organ, and bassist Lee Allen Zeno, harmonica player, in the studio Grant Dermody, Julian Primeaux on rhythm and lead guitar and backing vocals and Gerard Delafose on drums and washboard.

By the time Ledet graduated from high school, he was confident of his calling as a musician – he eventually moved to Louisiana, where he learned all he could about Creole culture. Growing up in Missouri City, Texas, you can also hear traces of a neo-traditional land in his compelling vocal melodies. But all music is deep in his soul and is expressed through his distinctive style.

"Something about music," he tells me. “It's a gift, but it's a curse. It's hard to find something I don't like. I will like it nine times out of ten.” While the cool kids downtown may not understand why you are pixies – Having a record next to a Platters record, the fact that Ledet marched to his own drum hit really worked in his favor.

During the recording of this album, Ledet didn't really have the direction he wanted it to go. And then one day Louis Michot from Lost Bayou Ramblers brought up his family's idea. "He said," What about your family? "We sat down and talked about it."

Michot was cleaning his house when a book fell open from the shelf. He looked down and saw the last name Ledet. It caught his eye, so he read it.

“He had this book about Bunk Johnson, the early days jazz trumpeter. He was from New Orleans and then moved to New Iberia, Louisiana. It's a book about him and the period from the late 19th to the early 20th. Century. The name was Buchanan Ledet and the instrument was drums. That was my grandfather. He told me about it and sent me some pictures. I went there and started reading it and saw some other family members like my great grandfather "All my cousins ​​- the fact that they had all these jazz bands. They played ragtime and my great grandfather played double bass with Bunk Johnson. All sorts of things."

Ledet had just put down a few ideas, but nothing specific. “When that came up, it was like a spark. That's it. I started reading the book and started asking questions and hearing their stories from my living cousins, the older ones, who are now 80 and 90 years old. Because a lot of the stories were being told, but it was so casual. It was just in the family and they just said, “Yeah, he played the drums. He played with so and so. "And that was it.

“But that's a great story and I need to know all of this, right? So I took all of this and was just starting to really get into it. Now we can add different pieces of music that I like to my list. We can add to the ragtime because I love all that stuff. I always knew about my family history because my father always told me. But I've never seen anything documented. It was just word of mouth. "

Ledet met harmonica player Grant Dermody through violinist / banjo player Dirk Powell. “I think it was early last year. Dirk was working on Grant's album. They needed an accordion player to play some accordion parts, and Dirk called me. And I'm not staying too far from the studio so he called me to come in. I was originally supposed to come in and do a small part and I ended up staying and doing five songs with him. And we just clicked together. I'm in his file and he's in mine. "Dermody is really a blues man, but following Clifton Chenier's pattern, he blends blues and zydeco seamlessly.

About halfway through the shot Zydecowho have favourited the pandemic. “The studio was afraid to let people in, and then the musicians were afraid to come in. It just really put everything on hold. We would go in there as much as possible. Towards the end I just thought it would be safer if I just went in and finished the album on my own. I went in there and it was just me. And the engineer was on the other side of the building. We felt good. I went in and I just did the last three songs myself. I even played the accordion role, jumped off and played drums on it. "

The opener of Zydeco is a reminder that we desperately need live music as the energetic music of This Is All I Want is played perfectly on a large dance floor on a Saturday night in Louisiana. "Buchanan Ledet Special" pays homage to his grandfather who played drums with Clifton Chenier and Rockin 'Dopsie as Zydeco's first drummer, who invented the double-pumped bass drumming pattern called double clutching. "He's like a celebrity to me," he says. “I never had the opportunity to meet him. He died in 1978 and I was born in 1981 so I just missed him. "

Ledet also promotes his family's cultural heritage by speaking their Creole dialect throughout the album. “Through the music and definitely through the language. My family is from Parks, a small town between Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville. And the whole area – the way they spoke French was a dialect called Kouri-Vini. It's a little different than when people speak French for about an hour in the Eunice area, northwest of Parks. It's a different dialect. You bring words together and then speak them in English. While in French sometimes the words are flipped to make sense. But in Kouri-Vini it is spoken in English. "

Spiritually he connects with his ancestors. From the moment Michot found the book, Ledet never stopped digging. "And I think this is a step in a direction I think from now on, if I publish something, there will be a connection somewhere." There is Now a fire burns inside me While I was trying to be almost like a singer-songwriter before, I would just detach myself from the top of my head or use experiences that I have had in my life. But now it's like I have all this ammo to work with. "

“I never knew this book existed, so there could be more. I am sure I could find more information. Probably a few pictures and everything. “The porch Corey sits on on the album cover is his great-grandfather's house, which is still there and kept by his cousins. Also pictured is Buchanan Ledet's Ludwig Snare Drum from around the 1940s.

A more precise family research and a musical dissemination in the world are for Ledet. He even saved a lot of information for follow-up projects.

“I'm really proud of what I officially discovered about my family in this book because I often tell people that I come from a musical family. And often people are used to seeing someone who – know She, her dad was in the business or her mother or something. But my relatives were in the business with me, but it's been so long that it's been difficult to officially document. So now I can show people. And I am learning playing the style of music they played back then and mixing it with mine. I'm just looking forward to nurturing my family through my music and sharing it with everyone. It's cool stuff. I had a cousin who was Louis Armstrong played. As far as I know, it goes back to my great-grandfather ragtime from the late 19th century. "

Zydeco will be released by Arnaudville, Louisiana's Nouveau Electric Records, on January 15, 2021 via CD, digital download, and streaming platforms. Ledet will perform at 8 p.m. CST on the day of release Michot's melody maker with singer / songwriter / cellist Leyla McCalla. This event will be Livestream from New Orleans ’d.b.a. He will deliver keyboards, drums and bass on accordion and perform solo at the same time.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here