Horace Trahan & the New Ossun Express

Horace-Trahan“Back by Popular Demand” is a phrase often heard, but in the case of Horace Trahan & the New Ossun Express, it is literally true.  Ever since the band played Gator By the Bay in 2011, the fans have been begging us to bring them back—and we listened!  Horace and the Band rarely tour outside of their native southwest Louisiana, so we are doubly excited to present them on both Saturday and Sunday on each of the main stages.

Horace Trahan is a world renowned Cajun and Zydeco artist, respected for his ability to “pull the hell” out of an accordion and belt out powerful vocals.  He is known as the creator of the much-covered, ironic zyde-cajun classic, “That Butt Thing”, and no stranger to controversy when, in the middle of a successful career in the early 2000s, he defied stereotypes and switched his focus from Cajun to zydeco music—something relatively unheard of in his Louisiana Cajun community.

Horace began playing the accordion at 15, having already achieved proficiency on the guitar and saxophone. At 16, he began singing Cajun music in French and English, and by 18 he was on the road touring with the great D.L. Menard.

These days, Horace Trahan and the New Ossun Express is known as a quintessential zydeco dancers’ band, playing not only tunes that are a joy to dance to, but are musically sophisticated as well.  Horace’s creativity and mastery of the accordion has earned him the respect and admiration of his fans and his fellow musicians.

In addition to Horace, The New Ossun Express members are: James Prejean, bass; Horace’s father-in-law, Rodney Bernard, rubboard; Doug Garb, saxophone, harmonica, flute; and Shane Bernard, Horace’s brother-in-law, drums.

Horace Trahan & the New Ossun Express will be playing at Gator By the Bay on both Saturday & Sunday, and, in a special appearance, Horace Trahan will join Andre Thierry, along with Chubby Carrier and Ryan Brunet for a four accordion masters’ extravaganza at the festival’s Saturday Night Dance, held in the Harbor Island Ballroom of the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. You KNOW you don’t want to miss that!

Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band—Grammy Winning Funky Zydeco

Chubby Publicity photo 2014_sd220px“Ain’t no party like a Chubby party, ‘cause a Chubby party don’t stop!”

For 25 years, Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band have been turning audiences into “zydeco junkies”, by plying them with the band’s own brand of high energy, funky swamp zydeco, and instigating dancing and listening euphoria.  When Chubby and the guys played Gator By the Bay in 2012, the response was so overwhelming that we knew we had to have them back!

Chubby’s sound is infectious— a concoction of blues, 70s funk, rock and roll, and good-ole zydeco flavor—and is flat out made for dancing. Like any good gumbo, it serves up the tastiest musical flavors of Louisiana in one big bowl of “gotta have more!” and it is this quality that earned band’s 2011 release, “Zydeco Junkie,” one of the highest musical accolades when it was named Best Zydeco or Cajun Album during the 53rd annual Grammy Awards celebration in 2011.

In addition to the coveted Grammy, accordionist Carrier was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame on October 16, 2011, the band was honored with OffBeat magazine’s Best of the Beat award when it named “Zydeco Junkie” as the Best Zydeco Album, and the 2011 Big Easy Music Awards awarded the group the title of Best Zydeco. In recognition of Carrier’s accomplishments as a musician and humanitarian, the band has been bestowed with keys to the city from such Louisiana municipalities as Lake Charles, Opelousas, and Lafayette.

The consummate showman, Chubby is a third generation prince of zydeco royalty. His father, Roy Carrier; his grandfather, Warren Carrier, and his cousins, Bebe and Calvin Carrier, are considered zydeco legends, and the band’s newly released 13th album, Back to My Roots, draws on the influences from these greats. Chubby began his musical career at the age of 12, playing drums with his father’s band, and took up the accordion at the age of 15. By age 17, Chubby had begun to play with Terrance Siemien and toured the world for 2 1/2 years, before forming his own band in 1989.

The tight sounds of The Bayou Swamp Band are a result of the talents and professionalism of its members. Guitarist Randy Ellis has been playing guitars since he was 5 years old and brings together elements of zydeco, blues, and  rock’n’roll, Jordy Guidry delivers on bass guitar, AJ Bellow sets the beat on drums, and Neal Williams on rubboard channels the AJ Bellow / Randy Ellis / Neal Williams / Jordy Guidry zydeco syncopation . Together, they give Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band the pizzazz-laden musicality that “zydeco junkies” everywhere have been clamoring for, for 25 years.


Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band will be playing at Gator By the Bay on Friday, Saturday, & Sunday!


Balfa Toujours—Exceptional Musicians Coming Together!

BalfaTouj_RevTo call Balfa Toujours a band of All Stars would not be an exaggeration in the least.  This exciting Cajun band from Louisiana, carrying on in the soulful, impassioned Balfa Brothers tradition, is led by Christine Balfa, daughter of the late, great Cajun fiddler Dewey Balfa. Originally founded after Dewey’s death in 1993, the extended family band reemerged last year after a five year hiatus, revitalized and repopulated by some of the finest Cajun musicians on the scene today—each a well-respected musician in his or her own right who also plays with some of the most recognized contemporary Cajun bands.  According to Christine, they’ve come together with the stated purpose of expressing music through good times and bad, and just celebrating life.

The band members include:

Christine Balfa, guitar and vocals.  Christine grew up playing triangle with her father Dewey and absorbed music and language from the thriving culture around Basile, Louisiana. Her singing communicates powerful feelings directly to the heart, and she collaborates on many of the group’s original songs. You might have seen her cameo appearances in the 1986 movie, “The Big Easy” but you’ve probably enjoyed her performances more recently with the (mostly) all-women Cajun Band, Bonsoir Catin, which she also founded and which drew rave reviews at Gator By the Bay in 2012. Christine is the founder and director of Louisiana Folk Roots, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Louisiana traditions.

Yvette Landry, bass guitar, vocals.  Yvette is one busy lady! Not only is the Breaux Bridge, La native an integral member of Balfa Toujours, she leads her own band, The Yvette Landry Band, and plays with both Bonsoir Catin and  Lafayette Rhythm Devils, whom we loved last year at Gator By the Bay. By day, Yvette is an educator, teaching American Sign Language and Song Writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and she has also taught bass, guitar, accordion and vocals at numerous music and dance camps.  And if that isn’t enough, she just published her first children’s book!

Courtney Granger, fiddle, vocals.  Master fiddler Courtney is a Balfa family cousin, evidenced in his powerful vocals and heavily Balfa-influenced fiddling. He originally joined Balfa Toujours as a teenager in 1999, but most people recognize him as the highly sought-after fiddler in the four-time Grammy nominated The Pine Leaf Boys, with whom he has played since 2008, including at Gator By the Bay in 2009.

Kevin Wimmer, fiddle. Kevin Wimmer, who has been playing fiddle since the tender age of three, performed frequently with Dewey Balfa and learned the essence of the tradition directly from him. One of the original members of  Balfa Toujours, Kevin is best known today as the fine fiddler and powerful vocalist of the Grammy nominated Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, which he joined in 2011, performing with them at Gator By the Bay in 2012. He has also been a member of the Red Stick Ramblers and played with some of the biggest names in both Cajun and zydeco music.

Ryan Brunet, accordion. Ryan, raised on the Louisiana bayou in a French speaking household, was introduced to the accordion at the age of 12, and his passion for Cajun music was born.  A multi-instrumentalist, he fronted his own band, Ryan Brunet & the Malfecteurs, wowing the Gator By the Bay crowds in 2012, and has played with The Dirt Pile Ramblers, Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys, Kermit Venerable, Lafayette Rhythm Devils as well as the Grammy Nominated Pine Leaf Boys and Lost Bayou Ramblers. In 1999 he was honored by the Cajun French Music Association with their prestigious New Dawn Award.

Danny DeVillier, drums.  In addition to playing the drums with Christine and Yvette in both Balfa Toujours and Bonsoir Catin, and with the Lafayette rock band FIGHTS!, Danny teaches music at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, South Louisiana Community College and the Acadiana School of the Arts. He has shared the worldwide stage with some of Louisiana’s most well-known musicians and his arrangements and compositions include works for marching band, orchestra, percussion ensemble, dance, theater, and other mixed media.


All together, Balfa Toujours packs some powerful talent, and we are beyond excited to bring them to the Gator By the Bay stage!  Look for the band’s latest cd, due out this year featuring both original music and traditional favorites.

Tab Benoit Comes to Gator By the Bay!

tab-benoit-2Now in it’s 13th year, Gator By the Bay continues to be the West Coast’s largest Cajun, Zydeco, and Blues music festival, delighting over 17,000 attendees on the 2nd weekend of May, every year.

This year, the good times of Gator By the Bay expand to 4 days, with the addition of a festival kick-off, Thursday Night Blues Extravaganza featuring Louisiana guitar legend Tab Benoit on May 8,  under the Festival Stage tent at 6:30 PM.

Benoit, who has chocked up three Grammy nominations, four Blues Music Award’s “Entertainer of the Year” titles, and has garnered five Contemporary Male Blues Music Awards, consistently plays to sold-out crowds. A founding member and driving force of Voice of the Wetlands, an organization of musicians, filmmakers and conservationists dedicated to preserving Louisiana’s endangered wetlands, Tab Benoit is the real deal— a masterful musician and a true son of the Louisiana bayou.

Seating is limited and this concert WILL sell out! Don’t wait—order tickets here: https://events.admitoneproducts.com/tkt_sales.php?test=true&event_id=776414&sales=

Bill Magee Blues Band

Bill MageeGator By The Bay is thrilled to announce the addition of the Bill Magee Blues Band to our 2013 lineup. No matter how much crawfish and dancing fun you have scheduled at the fest you absolutely must make it a top priority to see the renown Bill Maggee Blues Band perform on Saturday May 11, 2013. Quite simply, you will not be disappointed.

Born in Collins, the backwoods of Mississippi in 1943, Willie (Bill) Magee grew up listening to and living the Blues. Orphaned as a teenager Bill was uprooted from his home in Mississippi to live with his brother in a one room flat in Harlem, New York. It was during this transitional time in Bills life that he discovered his love and natural born talent as a musician. While Bill’s musical start may have began slow in the beginning with him scrimping and saving for his first guitar that cost $29.99, by the late 60s his career was in full acceleration and since then he was had worked with many legendary artists including but (nearly) limited to: Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Otis Redding, and Bo Diddley.  Fast forward through the amazing years of travel and tours to the late 80s when Bill landed in sunny San Diego.  To date Bill has grown to be a San Diego staple in the local and international music scene and has consistently mesmerized us again and again with his timeless and soulful blues. It goes without saying that it is with amazing honor that we welcome the Bill Magee Blues Band to Gator By The Bay 2013.

Stay tuned for more of our daily Gator By The Bay 2013 lineup updates, news and happenings!


Sue Palmer

sue palmerGator By The Bay 2013 is proud to announce the return of San Diego-based Great and winner of the San Diego Music Awards “Best Blues Album“, Sue Palmer.

Add some beehive history, some soulful Blues, a big splash of glamorous style and a lot of boogie woogie and what you will get is Sue Palmer. For over a decade Sue has been making her mark as a top-level artist and a boogie woogie fashionista with her high-energy band the Motel Swing Orchestra. Sue’s glam-talent is described best in her online biography: ” [Sue] Wearing a couple of pounds of big cocktail rings on each hand, she wails through a very complete blues keyboard vocabulary like the veteran she is”.

However you phrase it we know this much is true: Sue has amazed audiences around the world and back again with her Blues and we are truly honored to have her, her boogie, her woogie and her “phenomenal left hand” grace Gator By The Bay this year.

Remember to check back here often for Gator news, 2013 lineups and updates! In the meantime start stretching….this is going to be the best Gator By The Bay event to date!


Lil Wayne and Same Ol 2 Step

lil wayne and same ol 2 stepGator By The Bay is proud to announce the addition of Lil Wayne and Same Ol 2 Step to the 2013 Lineup. Lil Wayne and Same Ol 2 Step are schedule for three shows that will occur over Saturday May 11th and Sunday May 12, 2013.

The lead vocalist, accordionist and native Louisianan Wayne Singleton has been involved in the zydeco music scene since the young age of seven years old. His youthful vigor and performance energy brings the band and the crowds to life.  Simply add in seasoned rubboard player Brandon Delafosse, guitarist Isaiah Savoy, bass player Eric Singleton and drummer Aaron Laws and you have a recipe for a Zydeco Force Band that is a high-energy mix of old and new zydeco music with just the right touch of nouveau.  But don’t just take our word for it check it out for yourself at the Gator By The Bay 2013 festival held May 10-12, 2013!

To learn more about Lil Wayne and Same Ol 2 Step and the entire 2013 Gator By The Bay lineup stay tuned to the daily Gator News updates.