Red Stick Ramblers8pm, SaturdayJanuary 30th 2010St. James Hall3214 West 10th Avenue
at Trutch St. in Kitsilano
It's not often we get a chance to present Cajun music at The Rogue. It seems that very few bands from Louisiana make it this far north. We are determined to remedy this deficiency in our programming, and what better way to start than by bringing in Les Voyageurs de Baton Rouge, aka The Red Stick Ramblers?
"We live pretty fast and hard," confesses Red Stick Ramblers fiddler and vocalist Linzay Young. "We live life to its fullest. Then we pour that into our songwriting and our music, and take it with us wherever we go."
Hard driving, witty, eclectic, and honest, the music of the Red Stick Ramblers is inseparable from their way of life and the rich Louisiana culture that first inspired them. Their fifth album, My Suitcase Is Always Packed, is as much a travelogue as a sound recording, complete with audio snapshots of relentless all-night dances, laid back campfire sessions, dusty honky-tonks, and raucous family reunions. It is the fullest flowering so far of the Ramblers' unique hybrid of Cajun, country, stringband, and swing influences - a sound marked by a daring willingness to experiment with mixing different elements, rather than simply progress through a laundry list of genres from song to song. Available May 19 on Sugar Hill Records, My Suitcase Is Always Packed is visceral and vital, an album that puts the Red Stick Ramblers at the very forefront of a new generation of Louisiana roots musicians who are reinventing their tradition while remaining deeply aware of their heritage.
By drawing on a vast array of influences, the Red Stick Ramblers are also able to continually rediscover new facets of Louisiana music. It is this delicate balance, now honed over a decade of playing together, which allows My Suitcase Is Always Packed to sound both classically timeless and startlingly fresh. "Louisiana music is an incredible mix," Justus concludes. "There are Irish immigrants, the creoles, that voodoo gris-gris. There's a reason it doesn't just sound like French-Canadian music. Even the language represents holding out - holding out from the homogenization of America. It's not all Wal-Mart and McDonalds. There's a cultural identity here, which is something that is getting harder and harder to find. We try to represent that identity, that authenticity."