On Father's Day weekend, June 14th and 15th of 2014, the Isleton Chamber of Commerce presents their annual Cajun and Blues Festival filled with outrageously delicious Cajun foods and Blues music. The event is a great place to take your dad and your mom, the whole family, and even the entire neighborhood. It's a genuine family friendly event with music for everyone and special entertainment activities for the young. The featured music brings in some great blues and zydeco musicians including a good number of incredible female performers to balance out a billing that all too often overlooks the ladies who are as good as and work as hard as the men.
However, it's not just for this reason that they have four spotlights on the ladies at their festival this year. Its because these ladies rock the blues right out of this world. On Saturday at 12:15 p.m., Wendy DeWitt is set to dazzle the crowds with her award winning Boogie Woogies. DeWitt was a long-time player with the legendary Hank Ballard & The Midniters and has been leading her own group for several decades, has seven albums with an eighth due to release shortly, and also produces the annual International Boogie Woogie Festival in San Francisco.
Sunday will find many people celebrating Father's Day at the festival and Beth Reid-Grigsby is another dynamic lady musician who will help the guy's kick back or dance to some "rollickin' Chicago shuffles, swampy Texas-Louisiana strolls and classic woman ballads." Beth is a California-born, Texas-bred blues singer who leads Red's Blues, an "all-star NorCal band with R.W. Grisby on bass, Robert Sidwell on guitar, Larry Carr on drums and Taki Komori on piano/organ. And for the festival, Chicago/Oakland blues great, guitarist Steve Freund will be joining the band!"
The ladies will continue to come on strong on Sunday with Yvette Landry and Ronnie Romero performing at 1:45 p.m. Yvette is a Louisiana Honky Tonk singer-songwriter described by writer Bill Bentley as having "the kind of voice that can get grown men into trouble and make adult women follow her into dangerous places. She is seductive without playing the diva card, and writes songs that have grits and gravy spread all over them. In Louisiana, where great singers seem to grow on trees, this Southern star-to-be flirts with country, seduces soul and generally plays havoc with our expectations as she concocts a brand new brew of sounds; always to be treasured and not to be missed.”
Landry is also an educator, teaching American Sign Language and Song Writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. As if that isn't enough to keep her busy, she continues to tour worldwide as a multi-instrumentalist in several bands including Bonsoir Catin, Lafayette Rhythm Devils, Frisson and others. In 2010, "Yvette took center stage fronting her own band and released her award-winning debut CD, “Should Have Known,” comprised of thirteen original honky-tonk tunes. Since then, not only has Yvette continued her musical career, co-producing her new CD, “No Man’s Land,” which contains thirteen songs, twelve of which are original compositions; but she has become a published author as well." If Yvette Landry doesn't define "Superwoman" then no such thing exists.
The final Sunday performance will end the festival with another lady great with Marcia Ball playing at 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. Marcia is a pianist and singer/songwriter born in Orange, Texas but raised across the border in Vinton, Louisiana which is "squarely in the heart of the 'Texas triangle,' an area that includes portions of both sates and has produced some of the country's greatest blues talents."
Marcia began playing piano at the age of five and has grown up to be the "subject of feature stories in many national publications, including USA Today, Keyboard, DownBeat, Billboard, and in newspapers from coast to coast. She has twice performed on A Prairie Home Companion, appeared on World Cafe and Whad’Ya Know?, Public Radio International’s Studio 360, as well as on XM/Sirius satellite radio. Ball has appeared on the covers of The Austin Chronicle as well as Blues Revue magazine and performed in Piano Blues, the film directed by Clint Eastwood included in Martin Scorsese’s The Blues series which aired on PBS television nationwide in 2003. Marcia has also appeared on Austin City Limits and The Late Show With David Letterman."
Marcia Ball is another superwoman in the incredible music she creates within a schedule busy enough to make most people spin. "Living the life she loves, Marcia has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. 'Forty years of roadside attractions and the life of roaming ’round has never worn thin,' she proudly says. 'I love it when the wheels start rolling, when the band starts playing, when the crowds start dancing!'" Father's Day Cajun and Blues fans can look forward to some East Texas Blues meeting Southwest Louisiana swamp Rock at the festival finale.
The ladies and the gents will surely rock the Blues in a weekend celebration of Cajun food and Blues grooves. The poppas, the mommas and the munchkins will all be welcome and thoroughly entertained, enticed and wooed with music and multiple "off-the-hook" food vendors. The Isleton Cajun and Blues Festival takes place at The Delta Boat Storage located at 950 Brannan Island Road, Isleton, CA, 95621.