Saturday, September 13, 2008
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Jo-el Sonnier
Song:Church Point Breakdown
For a while in the 80s, it looked like Cajun accordion player Jo-el Sonnier was going to be a major crossover star. That didn't work out but Sonnier has settled into session work and recording on his own label. He was born Oct. 2, 1946 in Rayne, LA to French speaking sharecroppers. And I guess that's the difference with the Cajun sound of Louisiana that comes from the French speaking natives as opposed to Zydeco music. They're similar but not the same. Sonnier learned the accordion as a child and was a local sensation as a teenager. He recorded regionally and moved to Los Angeles in the early 70s. He signed with Mercury Nashville and they tried unsuccessfully to turn him into a country music star. He gave up on country music until Merle Haggard asked him to open for him in the early 80s. This got record companies interested in him again and he had some country chart success on RCA in the late 80s. Sonnier moved to Capitol's Liberty label in 1991 but music styles had changed and Sonnier's country crossover attempts ended. He works on a lot of Nashville sessions and this 1994 CD Cajun Roots was on Rounder Records. Sonnier continues to record on his own Musique de Jo-el label and his latest CD The Real Deal was released in Feb. 2008. Jo-el Sonnier is still a sought after session musician and continues to tour the world with his entertaining brand of Cajun accordion music. Here's Jo-el Sonnier with David Sanborn & Richard Thompson performing on Night Music in 1990.