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Across The Parish Line
Review of CD by Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience

By Julius Timmerman
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Some might remember accordion player Terrance Simien of Louisiana USA from “The Big Easy” soundtrack or more recently his concert in Sydney. Well Terrance is still doing the Zydeco thing, but giving it a commercial tinge by fusing it with funk, soul, reggae and rock styles.

On this new album he's included some fine guest musicians like Paul Simon, Marcia Ball, David Hidalgo, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko.

It’s a bright, energetic album with most tracks suitable for dancing. The band has a big sound and is a tightly knit unit.

However the traditionalist in me didn't warm to the commerciality of the fusion sound. The songs are a mix of traditional numbers plus originals, but to give you an idea of how far off the beaten track he goes, included is Elvis’s “Always On My Mind”, sung by Marcia Ball, fairly unconvincingly at that.

Part of zydeco's attraction lies in the rustic rural nature of the playing that gives the music that authentic roots feel. Once all the creases have been ironed out through modernisation, the definitive bayou essence is in danger of being lost, and the music can become something else altogether.

Although the sheer verve of Simien’s band is enticing, I eventually had listening fatigue because there isn’t a lot of individual freedom within the band and despite the variety of influences, most of it seems relentlessly reduced to a lowest common denominator.

Still, if you like your zydeco rocked up, this could be for you. If nothing else, it’s good party music.


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Across The Parish Line