Born and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, you might think that Cajun singer, songwriter, and accordion player Ganey Arsement makes his music on the fringes of Cajun country. Actually, Lake Charles is more of a crossroads, a meeting point between the honky-tonks of East Texas (Beaumont, Texas, the home of George Jones, is 45 minutes away), and the Cajun dancehalls of Southwest Louisiana. Ganey's music reflects these crossroads, and on his new album, Le Forgeron, he slips as easily between the cranking heat of the Cajun accordion and the electric twang of East Texas Country and Electric Blues.
Ganey's got a great love for the Blues and early Country music that's easily discernible. The classic Lake Charles triangle of Blues, Country and Cajun heard on this album can also be heard in the music of nearby friends and Louisiana music legends Jo-El Sonnier and Doug Kershaw, both of whom Ganey sometimes performs with live. For example, “Pipeliner Blues” by Western Swing fiddler Moon Mullican, mixes East Texas twang, an old country blues foundation, and some of Ganey's hard-driving Cajun accordion. “In the Pines” is a tribute to Leadbelly, a fellow son of Louisiana and a huge source of inspiration for Ganey, who often imagines what a meeting between Leadbelly and the great Creole accordionist Amédé Ardoin would have been like. Ganey's song “Small Town” draws from the bluesier strains of Texas country roots music, and “I'm Sorry” sounds like it could be heard on CMT.
There are a lot of different influences in Ganey Arsement's new album, Le Forgeron, but that's to be expected from an artist at the crossroads of some of the most musically fertile land in America. This is pure Americana, at once informed by our shared traditions, but driven to keep moving, to keep driving down the highway of American roots music.
Ganey Arsement (Guitar, Accordion)