BeauSoleil, the Grammy-winning Cajun band, returns to Baton Rouge on Saturday for another of the group’s holiday season concerts at the Manship Theatre.
But BeauSoleil singer-fiddler Michael Doucet isn’t a fan of the ubiquitous Christmas tunes that permeate the air this time of year, every year. While he’s delighted to be back at the Manship, he’d rather not call the show a Christmas concert.
“Let’s just say seasonal music,” Doucet said. “It’s a feel-good show.”
Saturday’s audience can expect to hear BeauSoleil’s own, Doucet-penned Christmas song, “Christmas Bayou,” and some other seasonal selections.
During 40 years as a band, BeauSoleil recorded more than 30 albums, received 12 Grammy Award nominations and won two Grammys. The group marked its 40th year with an April 26 appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. That performance on the Fais Do Do Stage featured special guests Jo-El Sonnier, Charles Neville, Steve Conn and Don Vappie.
“All the people we’d played with over the years … it was phenomenal,” Doucet said. “We had a great time.”
But following the late 2013 closing of BeauSoleil’s longtime booking agency, the Rosebud Agency in San Francisco, the band played no other anniversary shows. The group floundered for about a year. It had no bookings for months and played only one festival date in summer 2014.
“I’m not sour or anything like that,” Doucet said of his band’s extended bump in the road. “It’s supposed to be up and down. Sometimes you’re riding a wave, and sometimes you’re crashing.”
BeauSoleil has since signed with San Francisco Bay area booking agency Dynamic Artists Management. The band is back on track.
“It’s still going strong, which is pretty amazing,” Doucet said.
That means the widely traveled members of BeauSoleil can resume their unofficial duties as international food critics.
“We’ve played in every state in the union,” Doucet said. “I can tell you where to eat everywhere.”
When the business of recorded music collapsed in the 2000s, touring became the only way midlevel acts such as BeauSoleil could survive. Doucet remembers discussing the new paradigm a decade ago with singer k.d. lang.
“She said, ‘You have to tour. That’s how you’re going to make a living.’ And she was right,” he said. “And I don’t want to be too nostalgic about it, but it’s a shame. Because what is lost, what happened in the 1970s and the ’80s, is the ability to tell a story through an album.”
However, Doucet is gratified that BeauSoleil, unlike many artists who came along later, has an extensive catalog of recordings.
“I never wrote the songs to be hits, but we’ve got a nice catalog,” he said. “People still like to hear it.”
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