NEW ORLEANS COMES TO NEW JERSEY:
Buckwheat Zydeco at the Ringwood Public Library!
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

You know you are in for a good time when the Library Directory says its okay to dance among the book stacks. Andrea Cahoon has showcased music at the Ringwood Public Library for over a decade now. During her introduction it seemed she knew that the beguiling Buckwheat Zydeco and his band would have the sold-out crowd on their feet - and she was right!

Buckwheat Zydeco at the Ringwood Library
The legendary Buckwheat takes center stage in Ringwood!

The New Legacy Concert Series at the Ringwood Public Library (RPL) in New Jersey has featured many well-known musicians from a broad range of backgrounds including Americana, blues, folk, rock and roots. On Sunday February 19, 2012, Buckwheat Zydeco presented his flavorful style of Creole folk rock at RPL to kick-off Mardi Gras week with a spicy flair.

Buckwheat Zydeco is an accordionist, band leader and organ player. He has performed with a long list of amazing artists such as Eric Clapton, U2, Willie Nelson and Clifton Chenier. Buckwheat Zydeco won a Grammy Award in 2010 for his CD Lay Your Burden Down and his band played at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics viewed by over 3 billion people worldwide. Buckwheat Zydeco has had a carnival of a career and is still actively touring and crafting compelling music.

For the first few songs, Buckwheat's talented team played a number of up-tempo tunes packed with Cajun grooves, blues and quick succulent solos. During the opening set guitarist Paul "Lil Buck" thrilled the crowd by playing his instrument with his teeth.

"You all having a good time?," greeted the band before asking, "are you ready for Zydeco? Put your hands together".

The crowd was clapping along to the music as Buckwheat came out armed with his accordion to join the jam. He encouraged fans to keep clapping as he chatted to them in the context of the music. Right from the start, Buckwheat and his band were engaging, entertaining and filled the room with good energy.

"Stand up right where you are," said Buckwheat as he led his group and fans through another spirited tune with sassy solos. The sound was well-mixed where each instrument - including the rhythmic rub board - was crisp and clean. Fans were clearly having fun dancing and singing along to Buckwheat's festive and flavorful set.

Buckwheat Zydeco at the Ringwood Library
Paul "Lil' Buck" Senegal plays with his teeth; Lucy and Buckwheat; The band on stage in Ringwood!

"I see everybody can dance," observed Buckwheat as they moved into the next song. "Hey Good Lookin" cooked on Creole tempos. Buckwheat and his band greatly expanded the Hank Williams' cover with their own savory signature. Throughout the show Buckwheat engaged the audience and sought their participation. On this song he brought a young man named Brian on stage to help him sing the chorus.

Buckwheat next took a seat at the Hammond B3. They played an up-tempo jazz inspired piece that progressed through a number of time changes culminating in a fast and feisty jam and keyboard solo. "So good to be here with you," said Buckwheat with a shout out to Brian and a request for everyone to stand up. They returned to Bayou beats with fans swaying to the band's sizzling musical melds.

"Walking To New Orleans" featured a strolling tempo and solid solos from band members. The pace picked up for a few bars and then slowed as Buckwheat asked Brian, "who are you with"? He was with his sister Lucy who was then invited to help Buckwheat on the accordion by holding a button down to play a single note. She smiled and handled the responsibility well. Buckwheat made a real point of connecting to the crowd especially the younger generation repeatedly stating that "children are the future".

"Wats, are you sleeping," Buckwheat asked his trumpet player at one point late in the show. His fitting reply got a big laugh as he told his boss, "No, I'm reading!"

The encore for the afternoon was "Peace, Love, and Happiness". Buckwheat explained that the song was influenced by Bob Marley. The track was a magical blend of reggae spiked with flavors of New Orleans. The tune also had elements of rock and the hook line was another opportunity for dancing fans to sing along as Buckwheat introduced his band before concluding the lively concert on a celebratory note.

Before the concert, Andrea Cahoon quickly thanked all the donors, ticket holders and volunteers for their support, which keeps this unique concert series going. We have had the pleasure of seeing many great artists at RPL's New Legacy Concert Series over the years but for now Buckwheat Zydeco was our favorite at the venue!

BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO - THE BAND:
• Accordion, keys & vocals - Stanley Dural, Jr., "Buckwheat Zydeco"
• Lead guitarist - Paul "Lil' Buck" Senegal
• Bass - Lee Zeno
• Guitar - Mike Melchione
• Drums - Kevin Menard
• Rub board - Reginald Dural
• Trumpet - Curtis Watson

Buckwheat Zydeco at the Ringwood Library
Buckwheat Zydeco - on organ near the newspaper archives - made Grammy headlines in 2010!

Related Links: For more information on BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO | NEW LEGACY CONCERTS | A VIDEO FROM THE SHOW

(Originally Published on February 20, 2012)

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