Lost Bayou Ramblers is a Grammy-winning Cajun music band from Broussard, Louisiana, Arnaudville, Louisiana, and New Orleans, Louisiana.
They were formed in 1999 by Louis Michot and his brother Andre Michot and grew to include producer Korey Richey, Johnny Campos and Eric Heigle. With 15 years of touring, recording, and collaborating under their belt, the band has continually integrated new sonic elements to its live performances, always experimenting and growing the show to what it’s become today, an eclectic mix of modern sounds and rhythms with ancient Cajun melodies and lyrics.
The Lost Bayou Ramblers have toured through much of the United States and Canada. The Ramblers had their first international performance in Lyon, France in November 2004, and have since toured through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Sweden. In 2008, the Ramblers were nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Zydeco or Cajun Music category (a new category for that year) for their album Live: A La Blue Moon.
Lost Bayou Ramblers have also played a series of shows with Violent Femmes vocalist and fiddle player Gordon Gano and collaborated with him on Bastille, a song written by Louis Michot looking back 221 years from the Gulf Oil Spill in Louisiana to the Bastille . Lost Bayou Ramblers and Gordon Gano met at d.b.a. one night about five years ago, “we had been doing ‘O Bye’ from our first album (Pilette Breakdown). When we’d get to the breakdown part we’d do different songs, like this one White Stripes song and sometimes ‘Blister in the Sun’. We were doin’ that, and suddenly this guy climbs up on stage and he’s like, ‘You mind?’ and I said, ‘I guess not.’ Enter Gordon Gano.
Gordon Gano was also featured on the Lost Bayou Ramblers’ 2012 release, Mammoth Waltz, along with guest artists Scarlett Johansson and Dr. John. Besides the diverse list of guests, Mammoth Waltz was a musical breakthrough for LBR and the genre as a whole, drawing on influences from the modern soundscape beyond the genre. The result was a passport to play for audiences who may not have known Cajun music, but who appreciated Lost Bayou Ramblers for their music, not their genre. Although Mammoth Waltz is 100% in Cajun French, it acted as an invitation for all music lovers to tune in to the hypnotic Cajun rhythms Lost Bayou Ramblers have been known for since their inception in 1999.
2012 also brought the Ramblers’ musical collaboration with the Oscar nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild in which the band laid down the base track to “Bathtub” and other parts of the score. 2014 presented Lost Bayou Ramblers with the chance to play on their biggest bill to date, opening for Arcade Fire on two dates of their Reflektor tour. The invitation came after the Montreal-based band saw Lost Bayou Ramblers perform to 30,000 fans at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2013, at a rare performance in which most of the audience understood the depth of the Cajun French lyrics which make up almost their entire repertoire. The release of the Ramblers’ second live album also came in 2014, with Gasa Gasa Live, which was recorded at the club on Freret St in New Orleans, and released in September and accompanied by a tour from New York to Chicago.
In 2018 The Ramblers won The Grammy in the Regional Roots Music Album category for their album Kalenda. The news of the award came shortly after the band announced that they would be taking a hiatus after nearly 20 years of performing. The upcoming performance will help mark the return of Lost Bayou Ramblers to the music community at large.
Over the past few years, Sweet Crude has managed to take the music and language of Louisiana and produce a completely fresh music that thrusts century-old traditions into the present. The six-piece band consistently delivers exciting shows featuring enough drums for a small marching band, exuberantly bellowed harmonies, and lyrics that jump from English to Louisiana French in a single verse. Boasting surnames like Marceaux and Chachere, Sweet Crude seeks to reconnect with their lineage in a way that draws on their own modern influences, while nodding to the music and language of their ancestors.
The members of Sweet Crude all hail from South Louisiana, a region which still holds onto its unique culture and way of life stronger than anywhere else in the United States. That said, many of those elements are fading with time as American culture gradually becomes more homogenized. This trend can be seen most directly in the gradual fade of the Louisiana French language. The members of Sweet Crude grew up with grandparents and great grandparents that spoke the region’s native dialect as their first language, yet with each successive generation, that language gets lost to time. Instead of singing the language in its usual music genres, zydeco and cajun, Sweet Crude draws on their own influences coming mainly from New Orleans music, pop, and indie rock to produce a sound that is accessible to today’s generation. In essence, they are taking the language out the museum, weaving it in with English, and giving it fresh legs and relevancy for years to come.
Sweet Crude released their debut LP Créatures in April of 2017 on Rhyme and Reason Records and followed the release with performances at major US festivals such as Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and High Sierra. In addition to headlining their own US tour in April and May of 2017, they hit the road with their dear friends, Tank and the Bangas, on a sold-out nationwide club tour that lasted through the summer and fall. The band also won the Big Easy Award for “Best Rock Band” in New Orleans in 2017. The other two nominees were The Revivalists and Mutemath.