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Friday, March 20, 2015

Feufollet returns with Two Universes

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge Feufollet performs Saturday, March 21 at Tipitina's. - ALLISON BOHL/MAKEMADE
  • Feufollet performs Saturday, March 21 at Tipitina's.

For more than a decade, Lafayette's Feufollet has waved the flag for Cajun music, whether planting its feet in its roots or pushing its boundaries. Two Universes, the band's first album in five years out March 24 on Thirty Tigers Records, is a balancing act in both. The minor-key opening of the country-influenced ballad "Tired of Your Tears" is followed by the bright psychedelic rock 'n' roll of "Know What's Next" and the Cajun-French honky-tonk of "Hole in My Heart." The band's primary songwriters are Chris Stafford and Kelli Jones-Savoy, who makes her album debut with the band on Two Universes. Jones-Savoy, originally from North Carolina, brings her old time, country and bluegrass traditions to the band's Louisiana palette, peppered with accordion, rolling piano and playful fiddle riffs.

"We were coming from the point of me joining the band and really wanting to have an album with mostly original material," she says. "The sound of the band definitely changed a lot with me being in there. It also sprouted from us figuring out what we sounded like and what we could do as a band."

The band performs an album release party at 10 p.m. Saturday, March 21 at Tipitina's (501 Napoleon Ave.) with Little Maker and The Kid Carsons with W.B. Givens before embarking on a monthlong tour.

Jones-Savoy fell in love with Cajun music while attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, when she was a roommate with her future bandmates. Her husband, Joel Savoy, is a Cajun music stalwart. "I fell in love with the scene around here," she says. "I already played the fiddle, so you put two and two together."

Lafayette's latest fertile music scene — which has birthed Brass Bed and GIVERS, among others — has been the center of a hugely popular, renewed interest in its Cajun music traditions, anchored by bands like Feufollet and Lost Bayou Ramblers and scenes buzzing around places like the Blue Moon Saloon. 

"I don't see it as being in danger of dying out any time soon," Jones-Savoy says. "From when I moved here, there's kind of a resurgence of younger people being into Cajun music. ... They have a program at the university now for traditional Cajun music, which they didn't have while I was there. It's probably a sign that it's becoming a bigger interest for the younger generation, which is great."

That was Feufollet's mission statement, initially. Stafford had joined the band when he was 12. 

"That was the goal, preserving and playing the French music," Jones-Savoy says. "And they've been doing that for 15 years now. At this point as a band, we're interested in expressing ourselves in our original music, and we're also inspired by that whole genre of music. There's no leaving it behind. It's very much a presence in our shows and writing and playing."

The album's title track chugs like The Band at an Acadian slow dance, and even Jones-Savoy's country heartbreaker "Red Light" lights up with a love-lorn Cajun accordion. That Cajun influence is embedded throughout, even on the grooving rhythm and blues of album closer "Questions Sans Responses," in which Jones-Savoy sings in Cajun-French.

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