From front porches all over South Louisiana, where Cajun and Creole began, the Pine Leaf Boys brought their particular mix of that delicious Southern potion to Portland’s front porch: the Oregonian Front Porch Stage at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival.
Grammy winner Wilson Savoy leads the Boys with vocals, fiddle and accordion roots that date back to his birth. Wilson’s musician-scholar parents, Marc and Ann, have significantly influenced the preservation of bayou musical heritage through video and film documentaries. And, they signed up their sons, Wilson and Joel, for family band duty — the Savoy Family Band — as teens.
Courtney Granger (fiddle, accordion, vocals), Drew Simon (drums, vocals) and Thomas David (bass) rounded out the quintet — along with Jon Bertrand (guitars), who celebrated his birthday in Portland tonight.
Known for lively sets that infuse the music of their ancestors with soul, boogie, zydeco and even Mardi Gras Indian Chants, the Boys are “the link that connects young and old,” says The New York Times, “the best new, energetic and fun Cajun band in a very long time.” “Great Balls of Fire,” you might say — and you’d be right. Their Portland set channeled Jerry Lee Lewis at one point.
Declared the “next best thing to a dance in Lafayette on Saturday night” by Rolling Stone magazine, the Pine Street Boys were tapped by the U.S. State Department for a Middle East tour in 2009, then again for a tour of Northern Europe in 2010. This summer, the Boys are staying stateside, traveling from one festival to the next — after making their Festival debut.