This week, distinguished traditional Louisiana Cajun music connoisseurs The Savoy Family Cajun Band recorded live at the Ozark Folk Center State Park. Also, interviews with renowned fiddler Joel Savoy. Mark Jones offers an archival recording of Ozark originals Ervin & Lily Freeze performing the song “Let Those Brown Eyes Smile at Me.” Author, folklorist, and songwriter Charley Sandage presents a portrait of Blanchard Springs National Park, featuring an interview with long time U.S. Forest Service visitor information specialist Tony Guinn.
The Savoy Family Cajun Band consists of father Marc, mother Ann, and brothers Joel & Wilson Savoy.
Marc Savoy was born and raised in the small Cajun prairie town of Eunice, Louisiana. Drawing inspiration from 'bals de maison' (house dances) in his father's outdoor kitchen, Savoy obtained his first accordion and began playing it at the age of 12. Playing the instrument led to repairing it and after disassembling enough accordions he began to build them. Playing the accordion has always been a natural part of his life from the dancehall to the home. The musicians with whom he has played Cajun music read like a who’s who of the finest in Cajun music, from the Balfa Brothers, DL Menard, Doc Guidry to early fiddle masters Dennis McGee and Wade Fruge.
Ann Allen Savoy is a musician, photographer, record producer, and writer. Her destiny was sealed when she began to listen to rare collections of Cajun 78’s. She met her future husband, acclaimed accordion builder/musician Marc Savoy, and after their marriage she began documenting the Cajun culture, taking photographs, interviewing important musicians, and transcribing the Cajun French songs. Her documentation ultimately became a book, Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People Volume 1, which won the prestigious Botkin book award from the American Folklore Society. An avid photographer since high school, her photos have been exhibited at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and at the Festival of American Music in Eugene, Oregon.
Joel Savoy is one of the most requested fiddlers in SW Louisiana today. Joel grew up in Eunice, Louisiana, literally at the feet of Cajun heros like Dennis McGee, Dewey Balfa, Michael Doucet, and Wade Frugé. In 2006 Joel founded Valcour Records. He’s worked and played with Linda Ronstadt,T-Bone Burnett, Steve Buckingham, Allison Krauss, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Miller, Tim O’Brien, Darol Angor and many more. Joel also builds accordions with his father, makes electric guitars and hi-end tube amps and studio gear, and is an excellent recording engineer.
Wilson Savoy, the youngest son of Marc and Ann, has made music since before he could walk. He began playing boogie-woogie and blues piano, inspired by Louisiana native Jerry Lee Lewis, at the age of 10. Wilson took up the accordion after graduating from high school. His major influences are his father, Amede Ardoin, and Iry Lejeune. Besides being a musician he is an avid filmmaker, and has produced films of many of the finest bands in SW Louisiana. (www.almenafilms.com) When he isn’t making and producing music videos and short biographies he is traveling with his three times Grammy nominated dynamic young band, the Pine Leaf Boys. - http://www.savoyfamilycajunband.com/index.html
In this week’s “From the Vault” segment, musician, educator, and country music legacy Mark Jones offers an archival recording of Ozark originals Ervin & Lily Freeze performing the song “Let Those Brown Eyes Smile at Me,” from the Ozark Folk Center State Park archives.
Author, folklorist, and songwriter Charley Sandage presents an historical portrait of the people, events, and indomitable spirit of Ozark culture that resulted in the creation of the Ozark Folk Center State Park and its enduring legacy of music and craft. This episode brings us a portrait of Blanchard Springs National Park, featuring an interview with long time U.S. Forest Service visitor information specialist Tony Guinn.