The Pine Leaf Boys at the Rosendale Cafe

Cajun music is just the remedy for the winter blues that set in at the end of the season (which is perhaps the hardest part to endure). I got a hearty dose of said remedy in the form of the Pine Leaf Boys, who were playing at the Rosendale Cafe in Rosendale, NY on Thursday night. There’s nothing like listening to some honest to goodness, down home two-steps to inflate ones spirits like an accordion… Cajun is real soul music, and the Pine Leaf Boys are some of the best playing it today. Their Grammy nominated third CD, “Homage au Passé,” was just released three days ago. “Homage au Passé” means homage to the past, and the Pine Leaf Boys are just that, but not only just that. The band retains a sound heavily influenced by old-time authentic Cajun music, while keeping the music fresh, and energizing it into the 21st century.

The Pine Leaf Boys played at the Rosendale Cafe back in June of last year, and I attended that show as well, although the line-up has changed somewhat since then. Blake Miller and Cedric Watson no longer play with the band. Courtney Granger and Thomas David took their places, joining Wilson Savoy, Jon Bertrand, and Drew Simon. On Thursday, the band got to the cafe a half hour before the start of the show, having just flown in from Louisiana, and sat down to do their sound check. There was a laid back feeling in the cafe, and the Pine Leaf Boys truly bring a part of where they’re from with them wherever they go, uncontrollably so. Where they’re from is who they are, and that’s a wonderful thing. It seems they would be comfortable playing just about anywhere, and they transform wherever they do play into a fun filled Louisiana dance party. The Pine Leaf Boys’ spirits and playing radiate a certain charm, and the only expression I’ve ever seen on any of the band members faces is a half lopsided grin. They were perfectly at ease playing inches away from the dancers who filled the room (and in some cases, it was less than inches that separated them… Poor guys, on more than one occasion someone stepped on their toes as they were two-stepping past). The musicians were equally at ease switching instruments with one another, which they did multiple time throughout the concert.

Keeping in traditional Cajun fashion, the Pine Leaf Boys played a waltz after every two-step, except for their last song. They ended the night with a tune called “The Pine Leaf Boys Two-Step.” It started out mostly a cappella, except for bass which kept the beat. The crowd clapped, stomped, and whooped in enthusiasm, and when the musicians finally broke into the song itself, it was so exciting! The whole band sang, with a sort of call and response taking place between Wilson and the others. A perfect end to a perfect evening. Who says perfection doesn’t exist? I’ve found it, in the Pine Leaf Boys’ music. You can have technical ability, but if you ain’t got the heart, the music won’t be the same. Likewise, even if you have the music in your heart and blood, if you don’t put the effort into it, you won’t get the results. The Pine Leaf Boys have it all. We’re still in February? Well, I’m warmed through still spring, thanks to those guys.

Videos of them playing:

Blues de Bosco

Mansion On The Hill (a Hank Williams tune)

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