Much is made of the apparent fact that younger blacks these days aren’t at all interested in — or respectful of — the music of their elders. They don’t want to be bothered with the blues, haven’t got the patience for jazz, and have all but written off the rock ’n’ roll pioneered by the likes of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Jimi Hendrix.
Yeah, well, it ain’t necessarily so.
On Funky Nation, a true-to-the-root zydeco album that seamlessly incorporates the elements of more modern styles of music often associated with African-Americans such as rap and R&B, the five young members of Texas-based L’il Brian and the Zydeco Travelers proudly and forcefully emblazon their stamp on an underappreciated style of music most often associated with considerably older African-Americans from little swamp towns in nearby Louisiana. Complete with hefty accordion licks and the deceptively tricky rhythms that characterize the music, the dance-insistent songs on this CD prove that these guys have done their homework.
It’s not easy to “update” a style of music without perverting and polluting it in the process, but these guys have done just that. The result is a great piece of work that will probably be forced to struggle like hell to get airplay anywhere other than public radio and quite possibly some more adventurous college stations. But if their efforts can encourage more young musicians to anchor their grooves in the well-worn grooves of their elders, then that just might force a change.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.