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An Evening Of Cajun Magic Bass To Fiddle To Guitar, Beausoleil Plays The Music That Keeps The Fans On Their Feet

Don Adair Correspondent

BeauSoleil Thursday, April 27, the Masonic Temple

On a good night, the Cajun band BeauSoleil is magical; any other time it’s merely excellent.

Thursday, at the Masonic Temple, BeauSoleil landed squarely in the excellent zone.

The musicians got to town late, never seemed to get comfortable with the sound system and failed to establish the link with the audience that made their show here three years ago so memorable.

But, still, they are BeauSoleil and any time they climb on the stage together, wonderful music will result.

Just ask any of the many happy couples that jammed the dance floor until the band finally wrapped up its second set at 11:20 p.m. Even with a delayed start time and lengthy intermission, that’s 2 1/2 hours onstage.

BeauSoleil’s music is based in the traditions of the French-Canadian culture that took root in Louisiana in the 18th century, and it has a decidedly Old World feel, despite the country, blues and Caribbean influences it picked up along the way.

BeauSoleil’s six members are, to the man, exceptional musicians, and they weave intricate acoustic tapestries. Several times, Al Tharp would put down his bass and pick up a fiddle to join Michael Doucet for one of the twin-fiddle arrangements typical of Acadian music.

Michael’s brother David Doucet took an occasional lead turn with a fleet, intricate guitar solo (he also has a high-lonesome voice that would be at home in a bluegrass band) and Jimmy Breaux kept his Acadian accordion churning within the mix, giving it a ripe body the guitars and fiddle alone could not produce.

Billy Ware roamed among an assortment of percussion instruments, including washboard and congas, and drummer Tommy Alesi displayed the light touch these rollicking but delicate songs require.

But as always, the star of the show was Michael Doucet, who founded BeauSoleil 20 years ago. A marvelous fiddle player whose richly ornamented solos seem to convey every emotion, he is also an expressive singer.

It didn’t matter that he was singing in French - Doucet always got his point across.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Highlight The country-inflected two-step “Oh, What A Life”

This sidebar appeared with the story: Highlight The country-inflected two-step “Oh, What A Life”

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