Known as “the crown prince of zydeco,” C.J. Chenier
has become one of Louisiana’s greatest musical exports. C.J.'s father, Clifton Chenier
, was the undisputed "King of Zydeco" who was almost solely responsible for popularizing the entire music genre. And C.J., as singer and accordianist has for the last thirty years upheld the great Chenier family legacy with verve and style.
Throughout college, C.J. studied keyboard and saxophone, playing mostly jazz and R&B. But when a spot opened up in his dad’s band, the acclaimed Red Hot Louisiana Band
, he joined up with his father to learn the zydeco tradition. In 1987, after a decade performing together, Clifton passed away, leaving the band to C.J. The following year, he made his recording debut on Arhoolie Records. C.J. does not try to imitate his father's playing: "I play it the way I play it. All my father really told me was to do the best I could do with my own style."
Without missing a beat, Chenier took the Red Hot Louisiana Band all over the world, touring the festival circuit and recording the music his father helped create. Over the past decades, Chenier recorded acclaimed albums for some of the most respected labels in the country, including Slash, Alligator and World Village. He was featured prominently on Paul Simon
’s Rhythm of the Saints record (and subsequent tour) as well as having a guest appearance on the Gin Blossoms
’ New Miserable Experience. His 1995 appearance on the Jon Stewart Show
brought C.J.’s music to his widest audiences yet. But all this attention didn’t change his philosophy toward his music. “You go to a gig by a jazz band,” he says, “and everybody's sitting down, sipping drinks. You play zydeco and you see shoes flying off. You can’t come to my show and stay unhappy all night long. You’re going to break a smile and stomp your foot before too long. This is happy music, and it makes you dance.”
Over the last few decades, C.J. (along with his friend Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr.) has been one of the world’s biggest ambassadors of Louisiana music and culture. The Chenier musical legacy is in good hands.When:
Oct 27, 2016 7:30PM in Shirley, MACost:
$20 advance; $25 day of show
Karaoke every Thursday. 9pm - 1am 4 Ayer Rd in Shirley, MA
When: Oct 27, 2016 8pm in Shirley, MA