Lawtell, Louisiana, USA
Leon Chavis and the Zydeco Flames
On their second CD, Holla at Me, Leon Chavis and the Zydeco Flames offer smooth, polished contemporary zydeco that also draws on the energy and power of old style music played by Leon’s cousin, the late Boozoo Chavis.
As Leon explains in an interview with Herman Fuselier in the liner notes, he wanted to convey his positive outlook on life in songs like “Everything Going to Be All Right” and to celebrate family values in songs like “Daddy Loves You.” His own life is centered on his wife and two children and, of course, his music. His father, Joseph “Chopper” Chavis, an R& B singer from way back, is a member of the band and one of the co-producers of the CD.
Leon was nurtured on music in a family setting as he grew up. He matured, gaining discipline and a strong work ethic, as a trumpet player in the Southern University Band. After founding the Zydeco Flames with his father and with Russell Labbe while he was at Southern, he went on to manages businesses before deciding to devote himself full time to a career in zydeco. The band now performs both locally and around the nation as well as overseas.
On stage, Leon Chavis’ friendly, inviting smile alone could win over audiences. The title cut, “Holla at Me,” conveys that open, receptive attitude, asking fans to “holla at me,” whether in person in a club or on a trailride or electronically through his MySpace page. The closing cut is a remix with guest Chris Ardoin, a nice instance of some zydeco friendship instead of rivalry.
“My Baby” features vocals by Chopper Chavis, who plays keyboard, and most cuts offer harmony vocals that may also include rubboard player Russel Labbe and guitarist Gabriel “Pandy” (Guitar Gable Jr.) Perrodin. Other band members on the CD are Derick Woods on bass and Eric Singleton on drums.
The CD has16 cuts, all originals except two Boozoo covers: “Tell Me What You Want” and “Play with Your Poodle.”