Zachary Richard Album Review - Silver Jubilee
by Kendall Fontenot
Silver Jubilee is an important piece of history for today's Cajun. It is a summary of a career that has spanned decades and continents. It manages to capture the sounds of the past and of progression and rolls them into one. It is both fun and moving at the same time, and it's all from the blood and sweat of one man: Zachary Richard.
Richard has the unique ability to play traditional Cajun songs such as Madeleine in a way that makes them sound both old and new all at once. He can then take a rather commercial-sounding song like Crawfish or Filé Gumbo and perform them in a way that makes you realize that he's not faking anything. When many country singers these days talk about driving their beat-up Ford to pick up their redneck girl so they can take a ride on the ol' John Deere, you catch on to the fact that these guys probably have limos and city-fied girlfriends who wouldn't know John Deere from John Paul Jones. Richard, however, sings in a way that tells you that he really does know how to eat crawfish, loves gumbo and can cut loose for a good time when he wants to.
On the other hand, Richard can perform a song like Cap Enragé or Ma Louisiane that will move you in ways you've never been moved before. I can't understand French that well, but listening just to the music of Cap Enragé lets me know that Richard puts his heart and soul into his songs.
No matter what he plays, you can easily see that Richard is not a poser. He's the real deal, full of intellect and dedicated to his people's past, present, and future. He plays with heart, not just to pay the bills.
It's hard to come up with words to describe just how much this album's music means to me. I guess you have to have a little Cajun blood in your veins to understand. Mr. Richard's music is, to me, a message wrapped in melody and mayhem.
If you have one drop of Louisiana in you, buy this important album.