Let me just be upfront about it: My taste in music has always run toward Top 40 rock kind of stuff. I grew up in the Beatles/Bob Dylan/Beach Boys era and loved Rod Stewart and even Mick Jagger back in the day. But I try to be open-minded, and over the years, I’ve developed a more eclectic take on the music scene. So, when the opportunity presented itself recently to experience yet another musical genre— Cajun music—I was more than eager.
My daughter, Kathy Bradshaw, Assistant Editor of Where Y’at Magazine, interviewed the Lost Bayou Ramblers a while ago for the magazine. The band, whose home base is Lafayette, won a Grammy this year for their album Kalenda and are touring to promote the album. It was serendipity that one of the stops on the tour was Cleveland, Ohio, just up the road from our home in Stow, Ohio. Since the Lost Bayou Ramblers are favorites of Kathy’s, we thought we should take advantage of proximity and go see them perform.
My husband and I are very glad we did. The Music Box, the venue for the show, is in the Cleveland Flats, an area of trendy bars and restaurants on the Cuyahoga River. The venue itself is charming, with outdoor tables, a huge indoor bar, and two-level table seating to enjoy fabulous food while you listen to the music.
Neither the food nor the Lost Bayou Ramblers disappointed. Both were fantastic.
With Louis Michot on the fiddle leading the band, his brother Andre Michot on accordion and lap steel guitar, joined by Eric Heigle (acoustic guitar, drums and sampler), Johnny Campos (electric guitar and pedal steel), Kirkland Middleton (drums), and Bryan Weber on bass, the band delivered an upbeat selection of foot-stomping, head-bobbing, finger-snapping songs that brought the crowd to its feet several times.
This band does not play your daddy’s Cajun music. They bring their own flavor to the tradition with elements of rock, Caribbean, and even punk blending with the old Cajun melodies. A lot of the lyrics are in French, which only adds to the allure of this high-energy group.
If this is Cajun music, then count me in as its newest fan. It wasn’t only the crowd that was having fun, though. It appeared that the band was genuinely enjoying themselves as well. It definitely was a loud and raucous good time. And it ended way too soon, even though the band played two sets lasting nearly two hours.
The Lost Bayou Ramblers have a few more performances in Louisiana before they take a hiatus to rest up from the energetic playing and work on new music. They are playing at Festival Acadiens on October 13 in Lafayette, and their final performance is on October 27 at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans. If you get a chance, you should absolutely take in a show. Trust me, next time they are in a place near me, I’m going to go. I might even schedule a trip to the Big Easy to do it. They are that good. And that much fun.
Check out their website, lostbayouramblers.com, for performance dates and times.