Cajun music legends receive awards
Andrew Cormier and Dallas Roy were recently recognized for their many years in Cajun music. Tony and Karen Fuselier put together a tribute to the two men that included a who’s who of Cajun music artists.
Before Tony Fuselier entered the furniture business full time, he had an extensive career as a Cajun music producer. When he married his wife, Karen, he brought her into the music business as well.
Even though they have not had a full time involvement with Cajun music for a number of years, they have deep and lasting friendships with legendary Cajun musicians. On any given weekend, at their Cow Bayou Marina you will hear sounds of the accordion, rub board, and triangle played by such luminaries as Andrew Cormier or Gary Bertrand. Often, Alice Harrington is there playing the rub board.
The Fuselier’s love of Cajun music, deep friendships and respect for the artists, led the them to produce the Livin’ Legends Cajun Music Awards at the Texas Longhorn Entertainment Complex, March 1. Both clubs at the Longhorn were used for the show.
In the “little club,” the Legends Bar, was the country music portion led by Jessie Domingue and his band.
Domingue, on the keyboard, led with old standards from the days of Western Swing. One of the songs was the Bob Wills arrangement of “Keeper of my Heart,” followed by fiddler Gary Buxton’s version of “Bad Leroy Brown.” The guitars, twin fiddles and drums often had various musicians sitting in.
Some members of the audience thought it was “one of the finest jam sessions that would ever be heard, anywhere.”
Local country music legend Tiny Richardson was in the audience loving the music and enjoying visits with old friends.
Alex Caswell and the Cajun Cousins kicked off the Cajun music portion of the show as the house band at 2:30 p.m. in the “big club.”
Gary and Helen Bertrand kicked it off. Gary played accordion and sang, as Helen played drums. Charles Ray Thibodeaux, who has moved to Austin, has a band, the Austin Cajun Aces. He played cuts from his newest CD, including a song about Cormier and the Rodair Club. Other artists included Aaron Chaisson and Don Comeaux. Joe Simon from Lake Charles sat at the drums for several songs. Andrew Cormier Jr. proved that he learned well from his dad.
When it came time for the honorees to take the stage, Cormier was introduced by his son, Andrew Jr.
Roy was introduced by his daughter, Gail Osborne. Osborne introduced her dad as “the best Cajun singer I have ever heard.” Cormier accompanied Roy’s vocals with his accordion. Roy’s rendition of his hit “Kaplan Waltz” brought the loudest applause of the day from the crowd.
Both legendary artists looked pleased by the reception from the crowd and the thunderous applause.
“These men started their careers and they are still together after all these years,” said Tony Fuselier. “We are honored to have them with us, and proud to bring them to you for this timeless show.”
Domingue had the honor to present Cormier’s award. “We have been friends many, many years and have played together many times, in many places. Andrew is the best Cajun accordion player that I have ever worked with and it is a great privilege to present him with this award for his many years of playing Cajun music,” said Domingue.
The large loving cup award was handed to Cormier by his son. “I want to thank all of you for being with me for so many years. I hope to be around for many more,” said the elder Cormier.
“Boo Boo” Broussard of KROF-AM in Lafayette read a lengthy list of Roy’s accomplishments in the Cajun music field, which took several minutes to read. It included all his hit songs and other awards Roy had earned in his lifetime.
Bobby Paige, a legend himself, spoke of his friendship with Roy and what he has meant to the music industry. “He is one of the reasons that Cajun music is so strong today.”
“I want to thank all of you for being behind me for so many years,” said Roy, after receiving the award from Broussard, as his family looked on. “It has been a great honor to receive this award. I love Cajun music and I love all of you,” he said.
Both Cormier and Roy have been inducted in the Cajun French Music Hall of Fame, Cormier in 1999 and Roy in 2001.
“We have been pleased to have you with us today to honor these two legends… There are no finer musicians or men that I know. Karen and I decided that it was time to give them a well deserved honor,” said Fuselier. “This is not the first awards show that we have done and it will not be the last.”