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National Beat: Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys At The Nugget in Sparks

Rosie Ledet & The Zydeco Playboys
Rosie Ledet & The Zydeco Playboys
all photos by Nick McCabe - Front Row Photo

Rosie Ledet and The Zydeco Playboys playing at JA Nugget in Sparks Nevada

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By Nick McCabe – Front Row Photo

The path well traveled provides a safe and easy journey, but to discover new gems you need to explore the unknown from time to time. It’s that concept that led me to John Ascuaga’s Nugget Saturday to see Rosie Ledet (pronounced Le-day) & The Zydeco Playboys. Their appearance in the Nuggets Celebrity Showroom intentionally coincided with Mardi Gras going on in New Orleans. The evening was enhanced with colorful hats and beads being handed out by The Nugget’s Mardi Gras host and hostess.

Rosie comes from south west Louisiana where Zydeco and Cajun music run deep, so it’s no surprise that she and her band were fantastic. The floor seating area immediately in from of the stage in the Celebrity Showroom was left open for dancers who started filling it up by the second song. The music was fast paced and joyful from the start. You couldn’t help but get worked up listening to it. At first all the songs sounded kind of the same to me, but that’s just because I don’t listen to a lot of Zydeco. I think any style of music will have a repetitious sound to it if you aren’t familiar with it, whether it be jazz, blues, classical, opera…whatever! As the show progressed and my ears got in tune with the style I started to recognize and appreciate the individuality of the songs.

Rosie plays the accordion and sings. Her mastery of both becomes apparent immediately. As she plays she glides from side to side, rolling her head back with eyes closed as if she’s having an intimate experience. All good Zydeco bands have a washboardist (washboarder…?), and Rosie’s ‘boardist’ had no shortage of stylish washboard riffs. His energy and creativity were a sight to behold. He added a stylistic and regional authenticity to the band. Rosie’s rhythm section of bass and drums was solid as a rock. Her guitarist was out of this world. He was all over the stage when it was his time to solo, which came often. He could be a welcome addition to any band. I would have lost my balance and maybe needed a neck brace if I tried to move like he did. When he put on one of the Mardi Gras purple green and gold top hats he looked like a New Orleans version of Slash. Also known as ‘The Zydeco Sweetheart’ and with song titles like “Eat My Poussiere” she has a sultry and suggestive stage presence.

The only downside to the show was sound problems during the first fifteen minutes or so of the show. The guitarist was having issues with his setup and was working with his pedals quite a bit, plus there were several incidents of howling feedback. Once they got the kinks worked out it was, Laissez les bons temps rouler!... Let The Good Times Roll!

For a more complete photo slideshow, click here.

…and the beat goes on.

Nick McCabe can be reached at: nick.frontrowphoto@gmail.com