Get Ready for the Revelers

by delarue

Here’s another hot party band passing through town who’re playing an unlikely spot. You may know the Revelers as being more or less the house band from the cable tv series Treme. Where in New York will these state-of-the-art cajun rockers be on August 20? The Jalopy, obviously? Nope. Beast of Bourbon, maybe? No dice. The Bell House? Uh uh. They’re at the Rockwood. At least they’ll be in the big room, where they’ll be playjng at 7 PM. Cover is $10.

They’ve also got a new album, Get Ready, streaming at Spotify, a surprisingly subtle, meticulously and puristically arranged counterpart to the band’s energetic live show. The first track, Toi, Tu Veux Pus Me Voir, meaning “you don’t wanna see me anymore,” pulses along on a brisk 2/4 groove from drummer Glenn Fields that’s practically ska. Accordionist Blake Miller and fiddler Daniel Coolik are the twin engines that drive it. Fields lends his suave vocals to the oldschool soul number Play It Straight, a co-write by Coolik and Kelli Jones-Savoy from Feufollet. Likewise, tenor saxophonist Chris Miller teams up with the accordion for Outta Sight, a more zydeco-flavored take on retro soul music. Where these guys come from in southern Louisiana, cross-pollination is de rigeur [that’s the French – does it work in Cajun too?].

The wistful ballad In the Proof proves how good the band is at mixing vintage honkytonk into their sound, guitarist Chas Justus following a smoky sax solo with some Tex-Mex flavor. Pus Whiskey is not an unthinkably disgusting drink but a sad cajun waltz (the title means “no more whiskey”) – again, there’s that border rock influence, this time mixed with C&W. And Please Baby Please mashes up 60s garage rock with cajun, the accordion growling to the point where the reeds sound like they might bust loose.

Another ballad, Just When I Thought I Was Dreaming looks back to Fats Domino, the sax picking it up with some jaunty spirals. Single Jeans, with some neat tradeoffs between Justus and the accordion, refers to what a girl’s wearing to get what she wants at the bar (we’re not talking drinks). The swaying Juste Un Tit Brun goes back to classic country; the album’s most unselfconsciously gorgeous number, Being Your Clown, is a soul ballad. The final cut is a shuffling dance number, Ayou On Va Danser. This is an especially good album for people who might think that cajun music is all accordions and vampy riffs – it’s a strong reminder how the eclecticism of the music mirrors the diversity of the people who make it. And, obviously, it’s a lot of fun.