Bruce Sunpie Barnes

Lick a Hot Skillet

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Bruce Sunpie Barnes is a zydeco musician who wears many hats. His accordion looks tiny in the hands of the big man who was once a professional football player. His athletic frame wears a National Park Service uniform in his job as a ranger and naturalist at Jean Lafitte National Park outside New Orleans. But when he gets on-stage, there is no doubt that Barnes is a professional musician. A veteran performer at festivals and clubs, he commands the attention of the audience with his size and his voice. That voice can be heard in the collection of good-time music on this 1998 CD release. The multi- talented Barnes wrote most of the material in English and French. Standouts include "Funky Zydeco," "Hush," and "Chanson du Mardi Gras." He is accompanied by John Hart on tenor saxophone, Leroy Etiene on drums, and Stephan "Kenyatta" Simon on djembe and jun-jun. The most compelling selection is the last, which pays homage to Barnes' father and their country heritage. The tune is entitled "Sunpie's Swamp Blues, the Fox & the Hound." It combines actual sounds of the swamp with Barnes' blues harmonica and husky voice in a riveting spoken-word account of a hunt. It is a perfect way to end a recording that is as authentic as its author.

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