Buckwheat Zydeco: Lay Your Burden Down

It really says something about the enduring appeal of an artist’s sound when his 30th anniversary announcement is surprising not only because of how far he’s come, but because it seems like he’s been around much, much longer. Such is the case with Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr., leader of the venerable Louisiana combo Buckwheat Zydeco; his music is tied in so tightly with its rich traditional roots – but constantly brimming with infectious, life-affirming energy – that it’s never sounded anything but timeless. To celebrate his three decades in the trenches, Dural has enlisted a drool-worthy array of special guests for Lay Your Burden Down, including Warren Haynes, Sonny Landreth, JJ Grey, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews – not to mention Steve Berlin behind the boards (and sitting in with the horn section). With all that talent in the studio, it’d be a shame if Burden was weighed down with pedestrian material; thankfully, the album shines on that front, too – it kicks off with a cracking cover of “When the Levee Breaks” and keeps on strutting through a combination of solid originals and equally inspired covers (including Bruce Springsteen’s “Back in Your Arms” and Captain Beefheart’s “Too Much Time”). Typically stellar stuff from Buckwheat Zydeco, in other words. May Buckwheat’s accordion ring for another three decades. (Alligator 2009)

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