Son of Cajun music royalty Marc and Ann, Joel Savoy is best described as an instigator. He has been at the forefront of the Louisiana music revival of the last 20 years and as a result he has become a highly visible figure in the American roots music community, placing him onstage alongside folks like John Fogerty, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Earle, and T-Bone Burnett. Recently appointed as the new Artistic Director of the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington, and the founder of the Louisiana-based label Valcour Records, Joel is a GRAMMY winner for his production work with The Band Courtbouillon and a ten-time GRAMMY nominee, as well as a two-time winner of the Cajun French Music Association’s Fiddler of the Year Award. Having grown up literally at the feet of the Cajun greats, he represents his culture with an authority that few people his age can and his playing leaves no doubt that Cajun music is still very much alive. He has worked with some of the best in Southwest Louisiana, though most often he’s seen with his brother Wilson and their parents in the Savoy Family Cajun Band or with the legendary Cajun powerhouse Jesse Lége. He has also appeared on the big screen in "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," "All the King's Men," HBO's Tremé and Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.
- Cedric Watson and Corey Ledet: Broken Hearted
This was our first record way back in 2006. We had just decided to start the label and my buddy Chas Justus said hey, you know who you should record? Cedric and Corey. They came over and played so effortlessly and perfectly, just sitting there in the live room for most of it, tracked straight to tape. This John Delafose song gets me every time!
- The Pine Leaf Boys: The Pine Grove Blues
The Pine Leafs are one of the most entertaining bands around town. This was a party track for sure- recorded at the home of Chris Segura and Chris Stafford with about 20 other people hanging around. Wilson loved that funky organ in the house so we just had to include it. I think this is one of their most-requested tracks on KBON still!
- The Figs: Three Four
It’s hard for me to listen to this after what happened to dear Jillian. This was the Figs' first album, and this was always my favorite of Sarah’s songs. Recorded to tape in Lafayette at Sarah’s dad’s house, listening to this I can close my eyes and remember being there with all of them.
- Cedric Watson: Zozo Noire
Cedric decided to leave the Pine Leaf Boys right before we made this record. He came into the studio with a huge amount of original material and this one kinda defines that era of his music for me. I got to play guitar on this track. Recorded in Ville Platte, I believe.
- Feufollet: Femme L’a Dit
Feufollet is a fixture in Acadiana. They’re the most innovative Cajun band out there IMO and I’ve always been a huge fan. We’ve tried to release all their other albums too, but it doesn’t always work out! This is a classic, recorded by Ivan in Lafayette.
- Christine Balfa: Tit Fer à Grandpere
What can I say?
- Bonsoir Catin: Mon Aimable Brune
I’ve had the pleasure of working with these gals a lot and we always joke that they must have at least one pirate song on each album. Recorded by Dirk Powell in Parks, LA, this song is so mysterious- I love it!
- Joel Savoy and Linzay Young: Si Tu Voudrais Marier
This was one of those "hey we need a record, come over this afternoon” type projects. Linzay and I sat down across from each other in my little studio and just played songs we loved.
- Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole: Le Sud de la Louisiane
You can hear the evolution of Cedric’s band on this track. The Bijou Creole was really rocking in this era and we had a whole lot of special guests on these sessions in Ville Platte, including Kelli and Anna Laura, and Josh LeBlanc (Givers) and Will Henderson on horns.
- Dennis McGee: La Valse a Guilbeaud Pelikan
The story behind this song is amazing. A deserter in the Civil War was caught and the law was that he must be executed, so he’s sitting on his coffin and he asks the Captain (who was also a fiddler) if he (the dester) could play his song so that it could live on through the Captain. He consents and Guilbeaud played this tune in front of the firing squad. Afterwards, twelve men were given twelve muskets, but only one had a ball in it. On the mark, they all fired so no one knew who had the gun with the bullet. The song lived on, clearly, thanks to the fiddling Captain. Thanks to my Parisien friend Gerard Dole for donating these recordings to me.
- The Pine Leaf Boys: Cajun from Church Point
Another session in Ville Platte, the Pine Leaf’s are so natural in the studio! They just come in and rock out and that’s pretty much it. What more do you need?!
- Dirk Powell: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Since I first heard it on cassette years before we released it, I always loved this album from maestro Dirk Powell- so simple and delicate. I was thrilled when he allowed us to re-release it.
- Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole: The Corner Post
Cedric is such a charismatic performer. This album was recorded live at the Blue Moon Saloon during Festival International de la Louisiane one year and you can just feel the energy in that place!
- The Cajun Country Revival: Courville’s Fetish
This was a project I did with my buddies from the Foghorn Stringband out of Portland Oregon and my longtime musical partner Jesse Lege. We had so much fun playing music together- all of us- and so we decided we had to record some music. This is another track where you can just hear the energy in my tiny little studio!
- The Band Courtbouillon: It’s Lonesome in Prison
Three amazing Cajun musicians all in one tiny room playing simple, beautiful old songs. This is my favorite track on that album, by the Touchet Brothers. Recorded in 2011 in my studio, this was our first and hopefully not last GRAMMY award!
- Belton Richard: Le Paradis des Musiciens
We started working with the Archives at UL to release some love recordings from Festivals Acadiens. This was the first of several releases with them, and I love Belton’s spirit on this track!
- The Balfa Family: J’ai Pleuré
This is another album from the Archives, featuring the evolution of the Balfa Family at Festivals Acadiens, beginning with the brothers, and going all the way to Balfa Toujours. I love this song Dewey wrote.
- Kelli Jones and Emma Young- No Letter Today
Kelli and Emma have been singing together for so long. It’s a shame they don’t do more of that these days. They sang this live on the same mic in my little studio. That’s how music should be made!
- The Pine Leaf Boys: The Werewolf Two-Step
This is the most ridiculous track ever, but I just had to include it. We recorded this in Eunice at my place- it’s a Paul Daigle song, I think. Or Robert Elkins? Wilson wanted wolves howling and a machine gun on the track. Ask and you shall receive. Beau Thomas killin it on the fiddle!
- Boozoo Chavis and His Magic Sounds: Louisiana Blues
This was our last release with the Archives at UL. Live is the perfect way to capture a band like Boozoo’s. They sound so natural and so on it!
- Bonsoir Catin: Jamais Faire Ca
This was the first time I got to work with Bonsoir Catin as a producer and I’m so happy to say that it wasn’t the last (new album coming out this Spring!). This song has so much emotion- all of their sessions in my tiny studio have been nothing short of magical. Powerful stuff here!
- The Cajun Country Revival: Au Bal Chez Tit Maurice
I might be Jesse Lege’s biggest fan haha. We’ve been playing music together for a long time, and we’ve been all around the world with Sammy Lind and Nadine Landry who recorded this with us. There are a lot of songs about Tee Maurice’s club. I wish I could've gone there!
- Kristi Guillory and Anya Burgess: The Belle of Point Claire
Kristi and Anya are a unit. On the Catin albums I love to have them play parts in unison as much as possible. This is a great stripped-down track of them doing what they love, recorded live with two mics in my little studio.
- Doug Kershaw and Steve Riley: J’ai une bonne Femme
This was such a fun project. Doug is such a legend and you feel that in his presence. He’s always “on.” Steve dug this one of his songs up for the album and it’s become a favorite!
- Yvette Landry: Pretty Paper
I’ve gotten to work with Yvette a lot over the last years but we never were able to put out one of her albums until we did this Christmas EP. This conveys the magic of her duo with Richard “T-Coe” Comeaux perfectly.
- Kelli Jones: Inch Above Your Knee
When Kelli decided she wanted to do this track for the Lomax project we knew it had to be raunchy and powerful. I came up with the riff and then Kel and I tracked it live- her on guitar and vocal and me on drums, then we layered it up. The original was just an a capella ballad!
- Anna Laura Edmiston: Les Amours et Les Beaux Jours
I’ve gotten to perform this one live with Anna a few times and it always kills me. Her voice with Caleb Elliot on cello and Daniel Gale on violin just makes me melt.
- Ann Savoy: Aux Illinois
My mom knew that she wanted to do this song instantly when Josh and I approached her. She wanted a troubled and dark kind of sound to highlight the lyrics. When we were recording at my country studio, this huge storm blew in so we opened the door and let the rain and thunder sounds be on the recording. You can almost feel the rain on this track.
- Tif Lamson: The Orphan Girl
Tif is such a powerhouse. She came over and I got her started in the studio working on beats and percussion, and she basically took it from there. I’d leave the room and come back a little bit later and she was just going to town on harmonies and synth stuff! She mixed this one herself too!
- T’Monde: Didn’t Come Home
I’m biased I guess, but I just think the sound of Kel and Megan’s voices together is the best! This song comes from those great Jo-El Sonnier and Robert Bertrand recordings from way back in the day.
- Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys: Ding Dong
This is a George Harrison song that Steve brought in for their Christmas album this winter. I love how that bridge just comes out of nowhere! Danny Devillier added the chimes on this one afternoon at UL and the kids- students of Brazzos Huval- were recorded in the Teche Center for the Arts in Breaux Bridge.
- Courtney Granger: Don’t Put Her Down, You Helped Put Her There
Dirk Powell produced and recorded this album and we mixed it together. He captured Courtney’s essence so perfectly. I love the space and the sound of the room. I like to listen to this with headphones and just feel like Courtney is playing with the band in my living room.
- Kelli Jones and Joel Savoy: I’ll Be There
I had to include this one- our KBON hit! Kel and I were supposed to be packing and getting ready for a long trip, but instead we decided we had to go cut this old Ray Price song with a Zydeco feel. Despite popular belief, that’s Linzay Young with the comments, and his wife Emma singing the high harmony. I played guitar bass and drums, and Kel played accordion and washboard!