A brief history…
Kyle Huval (accordion): As a young child, watching Mardi Gras in his hometown of Eunice, Louisiana, Kyle was fascinated by the traditional Cajun musicians playing on the trailers. He decided to pick up the accordion at the age of eleven, under the watch of the late Kenneth Thibodeaux. Recognized by the local music community for his talent, Kyle was the 2004 Cajun French Music Association New Dawn Award recipient. He has also received multiple scholarships to the Cajun and Creole Week at Davis and Elkins College in Augusta, W. Virginia, as well as to the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week near Ville Platte, Louisiana.
Brandon Moreau (fiddle, vocals): A native of Basile, Louisiana, Brandon started playing the fiddle in his early teens. His grandfather Vories Moreau, was a well known musician around the Basile-Eunice area, as well as his father Kerry Moreau, who played with the late, great Dewey Balfa towards the end of his career in the 80s and early 90s. From these generational influences, Brandon has refined himself into a true and genuine Balfa fiddler. In 2004, Brandon traveled to Canada for the 400 year celebration of the Acadiens in that area, and in 2005, he was nominated for a CFMA award for his recording with the Band Acadien.
Robin Bruck-Tiralla (fiddle): Robin was born in a little town in Southern Germany and started playing violin when he was 10 years old. After trying out Irish, Scottish, French, Italian and Swedish fiddle music, Robin picked up Appalachian Old Time music and stuck with this for the next 10 years. In an effort to return to his European roots, Robin began focusing on Southwest Louisiana’s French music. Eventually his love for this music led him to Eunice, Louisiana, where he currently resides. Enjoying both lead and second fiddle, Robin’s refined technique and vast repertoire have helped him become a sought after Cajun and Creole fiddler in Southwest Louisiana.
Beth Fogleman (guitar): Growing up in a musical family in the mountains of N. Carolina, Beth’s parents introduced her to the guitar when she was 10 years old. Exposed to Cajun music through old time festivals, where she performed with various bands, Beth quickly immersed herself and began playing guitar and triangle. Moving to Eunice, Louisiana, Beth quickly became the rhythm backbone for shows around the Deep South.
Geezer Music Club, January 2008
Kyle Huval “The Corner Post
Once again I find myself musically transported to the bayou country of South Louisiana, listening to the latest release from Swallow Records. The Corner Post (Le Poteau De Coin), performed by accordionist Kyle Huval and the Dixie Club Ramblers, provides plenty of proof that the musical traditions of the area are being upheld.
The group derives its name from leader Huval’s own history – his grandparents owned the legendary Dixie Club near Eunice, Louisiana, the area that he still calls home. Helping him keep the traditional Cajun sound alive are a number of good musicians, including fiddlers Brandon Moreau and Robin Bruck-Tiralla, along with drummer Cody LaFleur and Beth Fogelman on guitar. (They’re joined by guest artists on some cuts.)
It’s a band that can do justice to traditional Cajun music, as evidenced by many of the tracks on the album, including “Young Boys of the Country,” and “Two Step d’Acadien.” Both are among several on the album that pay tribute to the legendary Dewey Balfa, (who Moreau’s father played with years ago).
But as much as I enjoy the sound of Cajun music done up right, I also found myself intrigued by a lagniappe – something extra – on this album, in the form of some less-conventional pieces. A couple of the band members have ties to the music of other cultures, including Appalachian and European, and it definitely flavors some of the music.
A good example of a different sound is “Fiddlesticks / J’ai ete au Bal,” an instrumental combining of fiddle and banjo with some unusual rhythms provided by the percussion. I also enjoyed “Liberty,” which evokes visions of a barn dance in Appalachia – but then transforms itself into something closer to a Cajun sound, all via a strong fiddle lead.
Cajun blues is well-represented too, with the inclusion of “The Little Animal Blues (Blues de ‘tit Betaille),” a song written by Moreau just for this album. Its slow, measured beat and fiddle lead are almost hypnotic, and set a very somber mood.
An outstanding collection of modern Cajun music that also gives a tip of the hat to the past masters, along with some exciting new sounds. It’s a good sign that the music of their heritage is alive and well in the latest generation of bayou artists.
Kyle Huval “The Corner Post”
If you blinked, you might have missed it. Cajun music just sprouted another branch, and this time it’s Kyle Huval and the Dixie Club Ramblers. Though the Ramblers may be young—16-year-old accordionist Huval fronts the mostly 20-somethings—it’s clear that they take tradition and the stalwarts who came before them seriously. Their pile-driving dancehall stuff stomps and pops; their waltzes are glorious, majestic and stirring. There’s a strong undercurrent of Dewey Balfa and the Balfa Brothers with several tunes credited to Dewey or hailing from the family repertoire. A few, like “J’aimerais te pardonné,” even feature Dewey’s grand nephew/guest vocalist Courtney Granger for another symbolic Balfa connection. Huval shows how tradition runs deep in his family by christening his ensemble after his grandparents’ Dixie Club nightclub that operated in Eunice from the mid-’40s to the mid-’60s.
While their devotion to tradition is steadfast, many aspects about this disc are quite novel. Not only is there a scintillating rendition of “Fiddle Sticks”—a rhythm teaching technique where one participant delicately hammers an object against the strings while the fiddler bows—but two more tunes are fiery fiddle tunes adapted to accordion. They allow Huval to showcase his chops, yet, the most unusual of all is the haunting “Marche du Mariage,” a wedding party promenade that practically fell off the radar in recent years since it wasn’t necessarily dancehall fodder.
“Liberty,” their last song, is nothing but pure joy. The crisply ringing t-fer kicks off the proceedings, a frolicking fiddle follows, a madly strummed guitar joins in next and finally the electric bass and accordion complete the artful progression, conjuring up images of ecstatic instruments dancing joyously in a round dance. Eventually, the merry, breathtaking pace causes instruments to drop out in order of entry until only the t-fer is left in solitary to transmit its beckoning rhythmic message: come dance.
written by Dan Willging
2004 CFMA New Dawn Award: Kyle Huval