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Jo-El Sonnier


There were better-known figures than Jo-El Sonnier inside the Cajun music tradition of Louisiana. And there were Louisiana musicians, such as for example Doug Kershaw, who’ve taken simplified variations of Cajun music to Nashville and experienced better success in the wonderful world of nation music. But no-one has transferred as conveniently between Cajun and nation music as Sonnier, no one is really as well reputed being a bridge between musical customs. A fixture of the original Cajun picture, Sonnier in addition has reached the very best levels of the united states graphs and brought his full of energy accordion noises to recordings by performers which range from Bob Dylan to Steven Curtis Chapman. Sonnier was created the kid of French-speaking sharecroppers near Rayne, LA. He grew up in severe poverty, often employed in the natural cotton fields along with his parents. Sonnier started playing his very much old brother’s battered accordion at age group three and was shortly referred to as something of the Cajun-music prodigy. He initial performed on the air when he was six (on Crowley, LA, place KSIG) and was documenting by 11. As an adolescent Sonnier became a well-established Cajun musician, documenting four albums with least twelve singles on local Louisiana brands. (Some had been reissued in 2000 within the Cajun Valentino recording, whose title described Sonnier’s billing at that time.) He relocated to California searching for wider popularity in the first ’70s, landing program work and acquiring buddies among the LA music top notch, and he appeared to possess stardom within his understanding when he was authorized to the Mercury label’s Nashville department. Sonnier’s Mercury produces attemptedto make him right into a Lousiana edition from the wildly effective Freddy Fender, combining his accordion with Nashville electrical bass guitars and including French-language passages in a few tunes. Sonnier experienced small commercial success at that time, but his Mercury materials continuing to amass followers and was reissued in its entirety in 1992. In the mean time, Sonnier temporarily quit on nation music and came back to Lousiana, trimming the Grammy-nominated Cajun Existence recording for the Rounder label. Merle Haggard tapped Sonnier as an starting act in the first ’80s, and restored connections with California music artists such as for example Albert Lee, who was simply then assisting to spearhead Nashville’s traditional-country revival within Emmylou Harris’ Sizzling Music group, led Sonnier to consider another shot at documenting in Nashville. Authorized to RCA, he released the recording SERIOUSLY Joe in 1987. The recording coincided using the crest from the past due-’80s neo-traditionalist influx, and Sonnier quickly was sharing nation airwaves with famous brands Randy Travis because the recording spawned two TOP singles, the ballad “FORGET ABOUT ONCE MORE” along with a ferocious cover of United kingdom folkster Richard Thompson’s Cajun-inspired “Tear-Stained Notice.” Sonnier transferred to Capitol in the first ’90s, however the brand-new trend toward nation music rooted in ’70s rock and roll still left him behind. Although his nation career hardly ever really retrieved, Sonnier continued to be in weighty demand like a Nashville program player. Sonnier made an appearance on recordings by Alan Jackson and Harris and proceeded to go far beyond nation music with visitor slots on produces by Elvis Costello and Edie Brickell & New Bohemians. He also experienced success like a songwriter; both Patty Loveless and George Strait documented Sonnier’s “Blue ISN’T a Term,” and he regularly placed tunes on albums by additional performers in the past due ’80s and early ’90s. Sonnier also dabbled in performing, appearing within the movies Mask, EACH OF THEM Laughed, and SOMETHING Called Like. Finally he came back to genuine Cajun music also to the Rounder label, where he teamed with Beausoleil’s Michael Doucet on many 1990s releases. Another Grammy nomination arrived Sonnier’s method for the 1997 launch Cajun Satisfaction, and he became a member of fellow Louisianan Eddy Raven for the recording Cookin’ Cajun. Sonnier toured broadly, performing at the brand new Orleans Jazz Event as well as the Grand Ole Opry (in 1999) and going to Europe and SOUTH USA. His self-released recording Cajun Blood received him another Grammy nomination, one for the 2001 Greatest Traditional Folk Recording award. By the first 2000s, Sonnier appeared to have discovered his market: He was a genuine ambassador of French-descended Louisiana.

Quick Facts

Profession Singer-songwriter, Accordionist
Nationality American
Awards Grammy Award for Best Regional Roots Music Album
Music Songs Tear Stained Letter, No More One More Time, Evangeline Special, Cajun Born, Jolie Blon, Healin' Song, If Your Heart Should Ever Roll This Way Again, Les Flammes d'enfer, Rainin' in My Heart, Cajun Blood, Cajun Life, Sang Cadien, Come on Joe, I've Slipped Her Mind, Vien Dans Mu J'oin, He's Still All Over You, Allons à Lafayette, The Back Door, Louisiana 1927, Chere Alice, Lake Arthur Special, Ma Chere Bebe Creole, One Step de Chameau, Right Next Door To Texas, La Chère Toute-Toute, Twelve Honest Men, Step It Fast, Pine Grove Blues, Tes yeux bleu, Chere Yeaux Bleu, J'étais au bal, Juste une affaire
Albums Come On Joe, Cajun Hymns, Cajun Roots, Cookin' Cajun, Cajun Pride, Cajun Tradition, Cajun Life, The Cajun Valentino, the L.A. Sessions, Cajun Blood, The Legacy, Where's That Music Comin' From?, Here to Stay, Cajun Mardi Gras, Tears of Joy, Have a Little Faith, The Complete Mercury Sessions, Highlights of Jo-El Sonnier, Rockin' Cajun
Nominations Academy of Country Music Award for New Male Vocalist of the Year, Academy of Country Music Award for Specialty Instrument(s) of the Year

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True Detective 2014 TV Series performer - 2 episodes
The Thing Called Love 1993 performer: "PLENTY OF TOO LITTLE", "NEVER DID SAY GOODBYE"
Zandalee 1991 performer: "Cher Tout-Tout" / writer: "Cher Tout-Tout"
Texasville 1990 performer: "I Don't Think I Could Take You Back Again" / writer: "I Don't Think I Could Take You Back Again"
Steel Magnolias 1989 arranger: "LES GRANDS BOIS" / performer: "LES GRANDS BOIS"
Wildfire 1988 performer: "Come On Joe"



True Detective 2014 TV Series Accordion Player
Zandalee 1991 Bartender
Mask 1985 Sunshine
They All Laughed 1981 uncredited



The Mervine Kahn Legacy 2014 TV Short documentary Jo-El Sonnier
Cajun Pawn Stars 2012 TV Series Himself
The Thing Called Love 1993 Himself
Hee Haw 1989-1990 TV Series Himself
Nashville Now 1990 TV Series Himself - Guest star

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