Rayo Brothers bring new energy to country _lowres

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY Jesse Reaux -- The Rayo Brothers perform Friday at Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette and Saturday at Dyson House Listening Room in Baton Rouge.

Acadiana brothers Jesse and Daniel Reaux might well have become Cajun musicians. They are first cousins to Lost Bayou Ramblers band members Andre and Louis Michot, and their uncles are in Les Frères Michot.

But rather than play Cajun music, The Rayo Brothers proudly perform folk-rock, outlaw country, Americana and rock music.

Jesse Reaux credits his band’s musical direction to his parents’ non-Cajun tastes: the classic bluegrass of Bill Monroe, the classic country of Hank Williams and gospel music.

“It probably has to do with the way we were raised,” Reaux said.

Genre-straddling Cajun-rock band Lost Bayou Ramblers is another major influence on The Rayo Brothers.

“A spiritual influence,” Reaux said. “We see what they’re doing, so it inspires us to play music. Also, stylistically, what they’re doing with Cajun music is one of the things we do with folk music. We bring a new energy to it. And we don’t feel like we’re committing heresy if we play an old song with electric guitar and a drum set.”

Friday at NiteTown in Lafayette, The Rayo Brothers will open for local classic country and Southern rock-based singer-songwriter Dustin Sonnier. Doors open at 8 p.m. The show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10. The concert is part of the series 106.3 Sessions, hosted by the local radio station.

“It’s been a while since we’ve done a big show at a good club in Lafayette,” Reaux said. “So we’re really looking forward to it.”

Clubgoers who attend Friday’s NiteTown show and other Rayo Brothers performances will likely hear a 50-50 mix of original material and cover songs. Reaux’s brother, Daniel, is the band’s principal songwriter.

The Rayo Brothers leave the 50 percent of their shows that isn’t original music to their collective whim.

“Everything that’s not original is just whatever is gonna be fun for us,” Reaux said. “Our rotating group of songs covers a lot of range. It’s so much fun to take a song like (Black Sabbath’s) ‘War Pigs’ or (Elvis Presley’s) ‘A Little Less Conversation’ and hear what it sounds like when we play it.”

Following this year’s Rayo Brothers appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and at a Lafayette cultural showcase at the South By Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin, Texas, the band released its first official music video. Professional videographer John Paul Summers conceived and filmed a video treatment for the band’s outlaw country song “Gunslinger.”

“It’s something we’re really proud of,” Reaux said.

Writing and recording a new album is The Rayo Brothers’ next big project. Demo recordings have already began. The group anticipates studio sessions for the album will begin in January.