Chris Miller & Bayou Roots: Press
From "The Daily Advertiser," Lafayette, LA newspaper, 8-19-06
Top performers honored by CFMA
When Chris Miller was driving from Lake Charles to Lafayette on Friday, his expectations weren't high. Miller figured it was just an honor to be nominated for three Le Cajuns, Grammy-style trophies issued annually by the Cajun French Music Association.
But his nominations turned into victories as Miller and Bayou Roots claimed Band of the Year, Best CD of the Year and the People's Choice Award at the 18th Annual Le Cajun Music Awards on Friday at the Heymann Performing Arts Center. The Le Cajun Music Festival continues today and Sunday with live music from 10 bands.
Miller, a 39-year-old father of four and choral director at Barbe High School, won with his Bayou Roots CD, which includes traditional French music, swamp pop-flavored English songs and a Zydeco Breakdown. Miller's children even sing on a revival of the old tune, Dansez Codinne.
Miller said he was pleased to receive the pat on the back from the CFMA.
"I'm very excited and very honored," he said. "I tried not to expect anything because that way, you don't get disappointed.
Lee Benoit was the top winner Friday with Accordionist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year for his CD's title cut, Ma Petite Femme. Benoit's wife, Valerie, was named Female Vocalist of the Year.
The Benoits did not attend Friday's ceremony. According to the Web site, leebenoit.com, the band was playing its usual weekly gig at Mulates in Breaux Bridge.
Other winners were:
Fiddler of the Year - Courtney Granger
Best First Recording of the Year - Les Larmes Dans Tes Yeux (The Tears in Your Eyes), Seth Guidry
Reggie Matte and Cliff Newman were inducted into the CFMA Hall of Fame. Young musicians Briggs Brown, Daulton Huber, Austin Monceaux, Logan Hendon and Mark Oneal Penn were recognized as New Dawn winners
From BillyBop: A Tribute to Roots Music--
This band, based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, has good reasons to be proud of this brand new self-titled CD. Chris Miller is a wonderful all-round musician. Next to his great vocals and song-writing talent, he also plays accordions, fiddle, harmonica, piano and percussion. The name “Bayou Roots” comes from a restaurant where this band regularly played. “Bayou Roots Special”, the CD-opener, is a sort of Theme-song for the band. Written by Chris Miller, this beauty is a bit in the style of the Cajun music from Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys. “La Valse d’Espoir”, also written by Chris Miller, is a pure Cajun waltz. As in the first song, special guest Marty Broussard also added some real nice dobro-work here. Following is a great version of Canray Fontenot’s “Bee de la Manche”. Chris Miller also made a real nice folkloric sounding vocal-tune from the instrumental “Ton Tit Bec Est Doux”. A great version from a great song from the Touchet Family is following: “Old Fashioned Two-Step”. (This beauty has also been recorded by the Balfa Brothers…) “Deux Contredanses” and “One-Step de Bashoot LeBlanc”, 2 very fine Cajun-instrumentals, demonstrate how well Chris can handle his different instruments. “Please Stay Dance” is a pure Zydeco-song written by Chris Miller. Very well done again, Chris! Louis Cormier is honoured with a real good version of “Tante Adèle”, a beautiful Cajun waltz. Chris Miller wrote another nice Cajun waltz with “La Belle Dans Mes Rêves”. My personal favourite on this high-quality CD is “In The Pines”. This outstanding version shows the link between old-time “Honky Tonk-” Country and Cajun music. “Yon-Yon Boogie” and “The Leavin’s Always Easier” are 2 nice originals from Chris Miller. It’s both good rockin’ Swamp Pop with the addition of Zydeco-accordions. More Zydeco-accordions on Chris’ arrangement of the traditional instrumental “Zydeco Breakdown”. In “Dansez Codinne” Chris let his 4 children take care of the vocals. (I wished he would have filmed this…) Nathan Abshire is also honoured with a great version of his wonderful classic “Choupique Two-Step”. This CD includes great modern and traditional Cajun, Zydeco and Swamp Pop. All lyrics are included! Yvieboy
From "Mosquito Gumbo"
Rating: 10 Budweisers Now here's a guy, a band and a CD I am glad to know about. I picked up Chris' CD in January of 2006 and have listened to it everyday since. I am impressed with not only this native from Lake Charles' song writing and execution, but the scope of music he and the band offers up. I am particularly enthused by the Bayou Roots Special, Old Fashioned Two-Step, Tante Adele, and Bashoot Leblanc from an accordion player's perspective. Equally as laudable are the vocals and harmonies, which makes for all the tunes easy on the ears. A couple of tunes paint a very "Acadie" tone on this CD, which is a great perspective that few LA musians venture on -- capturing the rather ancient introspection in the Cajun music. The tunes, Please Stay Dance and Choupique Two Step, with their nouveau zydeco stylings, create a nice contrast to the rest of the disc, as well as the old-school zydeco tunes of Zydeco Breakdown, "Yon-Yon" and "Leavin's Easier." This is a very strong and multi-faceted CD, voicing broad swaths of sounds encapsulating the spirit of Louisiana culture, while still giving a true-to-form modern Cajun genre-loving listener like myself, a lot to appreciate.
From "OffBeat Magazine"
It’s fashionable these days to proclaim oneself as a roots musician, especially when it comes to hunting down big money gigs. When Chris Miller, former lynchpin of Louisiana’s Kingfish, says his new band, Bayou Roots, is totally roots-centric, you can bet the farm on that. Rarely has there been a Louisiana French music offering with quite the depth as this one, with everything from traditional Cajun music to several flavors of zydeco. Sandwiched in between the driving dancehall chestnut, “Bayou Roots Special” and the Clifton Chenier-styled “Zydeco Breakdown” are rocking renditions of Creole fiddler Canray Fontenot’s “Bee de La Manche,” a bottom-end pounding version of Willis Touchet’s “Old Fashion Two-Step” and blitzing coverage of Nathan Abshire’s “Choupique Two-Step.” The first-generation zydeco-styled “Yon Yon’ Boogie” swings like crazy while the nouveau-styled “Please Stay Dance” recalls Zydeco Force with an added twist of a boogie-bombing piano solo. The roots examination is a comprehensive one, sealed with a couple of Acadian/Celtic tinged selections, “Deux Contradenses” with crazy spoon rhythms and fiddle-harmonica interplay, as well as the lilting “Dansez Codinne” that features the angelic voices of the Miller youth. Though the pair may sound like imports from a foreign soil, amazingly, everything is homegrown here. The Appalachian lamenting “In The Pines” is another creative masterpiece, initially resembling a scratchy record, then transitioning to an accordion-led, Cajun French sung counterpart before returning to its plaintive, Anglo form. That in itself symbolizes Cajun music’s durability, the willingness to adapt, borrow and incorporate while surviving the gale forces of Americanization. Trophy stuff.
This is a popular Cajun band from the Lake Charles area and is now bound to get more attention elsewhere. As the band name suggests this release is not typical dance hall fare. Most of the stories come from the local area and ten of the fifteen cuts are Miller originals. The CD has an excellent liner with complete French and English Lyircs, as well as info on the origin of each tune. Miller is an accomplished musician and has a pleasant voice.
Three cuts have a Celtic fell, including "Deux Contredances" and nice twin fiddle instrumental and "Dansez Codinne" with interesting female group vocals. Variety is displayed with three cuts in English, a couple of Zydeco-tinged numbers, including a stripped-down "Zydeco Breakdown." Of the six waltzes, the "La belle dans mes reves" (The Beautiful One in My Dreams) is especially beautiful and haunting.