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Tuesday, Feb. 25 --- Zydeco Dance at Twisted Martini (Clearwater)

Twisted Martini, Clearwater, FL

5:30 to 8:30 p.m. 
Due to the success of our first dance, Twisted Martini has invited us back! Last month we had a nice group of 35 dancers and we hope you’ll join us. 
You’ll dance to a nice variety of Cajun and zydeco tunes provided by our DJ Dwight Dupree. Twisted Martini, 13563 Icot Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33760. (727) 754-9800.  Contact Sharon Stern at 727-648-7858 for additional info. http://www.twistedmartinigrill.com/

Saturday, March 1 --- JB's Zydeco Zoo at Cajun Cafe on the Bayou (Pinellas Park)

JB's Zydeco Zoo

6 to 11 p.m. This is an annual Mardi Gras celebration, this year featuring JB’s Zydeco Zoo. Tickets can be purchased online for $16 (no handling fee), or at the door for a little more.  The band is great.  I understand the guitarist also plays with the Allman Brothers, and when you hear him that fact will become readily apparent. Come on out for a good time. Cajun Café on the Bayou is located at 8101 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park, Florida 33781, phone 727-546-6732. Visit their Facebook page to find a link to purchase tickets or get more information on the Cajun Café.

Sunday, March 2 --- BeauSoleil at Skippers Smokehouse (Tampa)


6 p.m. Celebrate Trish Gowl's birthday, and enjoy 2 bands. Trish is a zydeco dancer who recently relocated to St. Petersburg from the Washington DC-Philadelphia area. Find the dancers at a table near the stage, and have a piece of birthday cake. On Sunday, March 2, the party is at Skippers!

For the past 37 years, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet has been making some of the most potent and popular Cajun music on the planet. Born out of the rich Acadian ancestry of its members, and created and driven by bandleader Michael Doucet’s spellbinding fiddle playing and soulful vocals, BeauSoleil is notorious for bringing even the most staid audience to its feet. BeauSoleil’s distinctive sound derives from the distilled spirits of New Orleands jazz, blues rock, folk, swamp pop, Zydeco, country and bluegrass, captivating listeners from the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, to Carnegie Hall, then all the way across the pond to The  Meltdown Festival in England.

For their first studio release in four years, and the 25th in their 37-year career, BeauSoleil teamed up with Nashville- based roots music label Compass Records. The band named the new album “From Bamako to Carencro”, a title that alludes to the cultural and migratory connection between Bamako, in Mali, West Africa, and Louisiana (symbolized in name by the Lafayette, LA. suburb of Carencro), a connection that draws a sonic bloodline back to BeauSoleil’s roots. On the album’s 11 tracks, the band performs with a resounding authenticity all the while bringing a refreshed playfulness to the genre—the fiddle, flat-picked guitar and accordion carry driving melodies over the two-step and waltz dance beats characteristic of their Cajun and Zydeco music, but not without the country, jazz and blues leanings that informed the genre in the 1920s. They channel the godfathers of other music as well by including a Cajun/La La- style reimagining of James Brown’s classic 1962 Live at the Apollo version of “I’ll Go Crazy” and a swing version of John Coltrane’s tune-de-force “Bessie’s Blues.” beausoleilmusic.com

Starting the evening is the band Under The Willow. Helping to revive the love of folk and grass instruments in the hearts of a new generation. Under The Willow is a string band featuring the lead vocals of Erin Donovan and Hayley Skreens. An original four piece rooted in but not limited to traditional bluegrass instrumentation. Using socially conscious thought provoking lyrics forged with imaginatively original arrangements Under The Willow blends the sounds of folk, bluegrass, newgrass, Jamband, rock, reggae, and Americana, all with a twist of soul.

Skipper’s Smokehouse is at 910 Skipper Road, Tampa, FL 33613, phone 813-971-0666. Website: skipperssmokehouse.com.

Tuesday, March 4: Dunedin Mardi Gras Parade and Festival

Professor Pennygoode's Mighty Flea Circus

5:30 p.m. Each year the city of Dunedin hosts a Mardi Gras parade and party which features some danceable bands. Music begins at Pioneer Park pavilion at 5:30 p.m. Come Back Alice plays “funky eclectic rock” with fiddle playing until about 7:30 p.m. Then a parade featuring unique and colorful floats rolls through town for about an hour. From 8 to 11 p.m. Professor Pennygoode's Mighty Flea Circus play (swing, rockabilly, jump blues).

Sunday, March 9 --- Fais-Do-Do featuring Gumbo Boogie at Skipper’s Smokehouse (Tampa)

Gumbo Boogie Band

5 p.m. Cover is $7 online or $10 at the door.
Skipper’s Smokehouse is at 910 Skipper Road, Tampa, FL 33613, phone 813-971-0666. Website: skipperssmokehouse.com.

Friday, March 21 --- JB's Zydeco Zoo at Bradfordville Blues Club (Tallahassee)

JB's Zydeco Zoo in Tallahassee

9 p.m. BBC is located at 7152 Moses Lane, Tallahassee FL 32309, (850) 906-0766.  Website: www.bradfordvilleblues.com

Saturdays --- Easy Street Duo at Zydeco Grille (Englewood)

Easy Street Duo

5:30 to 9:30 p.m. --- Fat Tuesday, March 4 
7-9 p.m.
 --- Saturday, March 8
7-9 p.m.
--- Saturday, March 29
7-9 p.m.
 --- Saturday, April 5
7-9 p.m.
 --- Saturday, April 12
7-9 p.m.
 --- Saturday, April 19

Mark Trichka and Lisa Brande will be doing their mix of rootsy zydeco, Cajun, rhythm and blues, and Americana music. Mary Morella will accompany Easy Street Duo on rubboard and percussion. Zydeco Grille, 8501 Placida Rd  Englewood, FL 34224. (941) 828-1472. I’ve seen them there, and can attest that the food is great, and the service is even better. However, there is not a lot of room for dancing. Lisa says "We have a couple senior folks who come and dance zydeco there to us pretty regularly. It’s a restaurant, so not really set up for dancing, but if a few couples were there, they could fit in to dance by the bar."  Zydeco Grille Website.

WCS Dance Tip 37 "Advanced Embellishments"

Michael Khiem

Michael Khiem reviews some techniques such as "level changes" which can also be added to your zydeco to make your dancing more dynamic. Michael's Starlight Dance Studio in San Diego has been home to world champions in the dance world, and my wife Jane went through Michael's 2-year teacher training program for all the ballroom and club dances. The free video tips he posts on YouTube.com has a huge following and you can subscribe for free.


Water, Seasoning, Meat, Roux

Harold Guillory teaches zydeco

Zydeco dancer Harold Guillory says the ingredients of the zydeco dance is like the four ingredients of a good gumbo. Check out this video.


CD Review of Andre Thierry's "Are You Ready to Learn?"

Andre Thierry CD, "Are You Ready to Learn?"

I've been dancing to Andre's band since 2003, and over the years he has acquired a dedicated following of dancers, as well as top zydeco musicians you know well, some of whom recruit Andre as they tour California. It's not unusual to find Andre helping out on accordion, drums, guitar or vocals in a traveling Louisiana band. But Andre Thierry and Zydeco Magic is a powerhouse that has become THE top west coast zydeco band.

He's a master on the accordion, and sounds great even on the stripped-down "Day By Day" where he plays solo. He's got a soulful, mellifluous voice that is real easy on the ears, and after ten years together his band has a tight sound that will keep you on the dance floor throughout this album.

Also, the variety of tempo makes this album a great choice if you are just starting a collection of zydeco music. Some zydeco artists play nothing but fast-tempo (190+ beats per  minute) music, but Andre has only one fast one on this CD, "Let Me Get Down." Zydeco is more comfortable and soulful to dance to in the range of 140-170 BPM, which is where most of these songs fall. He also slows it down to 120 BPM with "Better Man" and includes a slow night club two-step, "No Good Woman," and a mid-tempo waltz, "You Put a Spell on Me." In other words, you can play this album right through and you won't get bored. Every song has its own unique sound and feel, and they all “feel” great.

You can consider this entire album as the basis for a dance playlist. Intersperse some tunes by Kevin Naquin, Horace Trahan, Steve Riley, Brian Jack, Chubby Carrier, Jeffery Broussard, Rosie Ledet, Travis Matte and other favorites of yours, and you've got a fine playlist that is sure to keep everyone on the dance floor the entire evening. Enjoy!!!

From Festival-O-Rama --- The Fun Part of Volunteering

Carole and Al are volunteers at Gator By The Bay

Carole Osborne and Al Gardner spend most of their time at Gator By The Bay (Mothers's Day weekend in San Diego) organizing other volunteers, making sure supplies get where they are needed, video taping the bands, making announcements, handing out flyers, checking on the instructors at the dance lesson tent, and answering a whole lot of questions. A few times during the day they get to dance with the rest of us! You know, maybe the real fun part of volunteering is seeing a festival attended by some 20,000 people turn out to be a total success in spite of all the challenges that are encountered. Consider volunteering at your favorite dance festival. You'll meet lots of people, maybe make friends with some of the band members, and contribute to making the show a success.

By the way, this year the lineup at Gator By The Bay includes Tab Benoit ("Blues Entertainer of the Year", and 4-time GRAMMY nominee), Chubby Carrier and Bayou Swamp Band (GRAMMY winner), Horace Trahan, Balfa Toujours, and Andre Thierry and Zydeco Magic (voted "best zydeco band" by Bay Area Blues Society and GRAMMY nominee), Joe Fontenot Creole Cajun Band, San Diego Cajun Playboys (winners of the CFMA award in 2007), Bill Magee Blues Band (longtime blues favorite in San Diego) and Sue Palmer, queen of the boogie woogie (winner, SDMA "Best Blues Album" and "Jim Croce Award" and band leader of Roseanne Show in 1999). I hope to see you there!

From Festival-O-Rama --- South Florida C-Z Festival on March 22

CrawDebauchery Festival

NEW! South Florida
 Cajun-Zydeco Festival 
A single-day festival is planned in Pompano Beach on March 22nd, 2014.
Bands listed on the website include:
Rockin Jake Band, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, Stooges Brass Band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys, Remedy Krewe, Bonerama and Raw Oyster Cult. Let's all support this event and watch it grow next year! Website is http://crawdebauchery.com.

From Festival-O-Rama --- Annual Cajun Cafe on the Bayou Crawfish Festival (Pinellas Park)

Cajun Cafe on the Bayou

April 4-6 2014 --- Boiled crawfish, authentic Cajun food and craft ales available for purchase.  Live music and dancing on their semi-outdoor deck in front of the stage. “Dance floor” is not real smooth, so wear some leather boots or less “grippy” soles. Band list yet to be determined. Check Cajun Cafe Facebook page for details. 8101 Park Blvd, Pinellas Park, Florida 33781. Phone 727-46-6732. cajuncafeonthebayou@tampabay.rr.com. I don’t know what bands they will have this year. Last year we danced to a half dozen bands including Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble and Donna Angelle & The Zydeco Posse. It was a good time.

Flashback --- Reggae Cowboy Line Dance

Reggae Cowboy Line Dance

From "Get Into Reggae Cowboy" by Bellamy Brothers

"These days I sit in my garden
Soft refrains on a steel guitar
Beautiful rhythms on the tradewinds
Blowing in to a Florida farm"

Line Dance Video from 1992

Please check FloridaCajunZydeco.com for more information on these events and others. In next couple weeks I will add events to my listings on Festival-O-Rama where I only post information I have verified through event websites. I do not rely on any other list for this information, and this list is unique to my sites only.  We’re getting into festival season, so check back soon and begin making your plans to attend a festival or two.

Regards, Jim Hance
Publisher, FloridaCajunZydeco.com