Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ernest James Zydeco releases "Automatic Harvester"

Late July rolled around and my friend Ernest James shot me a line that he had wrapped up his latest CD "Automatic Harvester." This was just a shot in the arm to get me out of the end of summer funk. I sat around for two weeks waiting for it to come while nervously considering  the huge changes in my job, which was about to unfold at the start of August.

The disc came in the mail just as I  got wrapped up in getting ready for the opening of the school year. I tried popping into the CD deck on the way down the highway to LaPlace, La. where I teach, but I just could not focus on it while  listening to the radio to see if there is a traffic jam up ahead. I like to take in a new CD in one fell swoop. So I shelved it for a couple of weeks  and last weekend, having a three day break, I got to listen to it three times in a row, just long enough to feel the power of the drums, the rhythm of the riffs, and the element of a soulful vibrato Ernest has brought into his vocals.

So, this week, now that the school year is under way, I started slipping it into the CD deck  during the ride home back up to Ponchatoula. One of the first things I notice right away is that Ernest James Zydeco is slowly losing that hint of California undertone and slipping into pure Zydeco (Except for the cut named "Bulldog.") And there is a tinge more Cajun influence slipping in. I think my favorite cut is "Bulldog," a rhythmic ditty rife with dobro, a funky groove, and a kick ass electric guitar riff that has a Hendrix-like tinge to it. Following slap dab behind it it the purist Cajun sounds on the CD, and possibly is one of my favorite Ernest James Zydeco  cuts of all time. "Eh Catin" is a two step  featuring the above said vibrato in Ernest's voice that is so captivating.

But what knocks me out about this band is the GENIUS psychic connection to NOLA Mardi Gras Indian Chant music found on a song named "YJ's" a song about drinking beer on Mardi Gras morning. As far as I know, this is ground breaking! Ernest James has taken the Brass Band sound, Mardi Gras Chant music  and merged it with ZYDECO!!!

Ernest and I have had several discourses about the emergence of the Mardi Gras scene found in Kansas City, Missouri, where, get this, this band hails from. You can connect up with Ernest at his website:
Broaden your musical horizons and take the time to check it out. You will be glad you did.

"Automatic Harvester"  is recorded by Jamrat records and can be purchased at

Patty McGehee

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