Sean Ardoin / ZydeKool

Pullin'

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In Louisiana, there are plenty of zydeco artists who are content to emulate Buckwheat Zydeco or Clifton Chenier. But there are others who are doing their part to help zydeco forge ahead; Sean Ardoin is such an artist. The singer/accordion player (who was 32 when Pullin' came out in 2001) comes from a long line of zydeco artists who include father Lawrence Ardoin and grandfather Bois-Sec, but he isn't going out of his way to emulate any of his relatives. Pullin' finds Sean Ardoin putting his own spin on zydeco, incorporating elements of funk, rock, blues, and reggae. Ardoin is hardly the first zydeco artist to be influenced by rock or R&B -- plenty of zydeco artists were hip to Memphis soul in the '60s and Ohio funk bands in the '70s. While Ardoin is well-aware of the cultural contributions of the Baby Boomer generation, he is also aware of later developments in music. And on Pullin', he doesn't come across as someone who is living in zydeco's past -- he respects and appreciates that past but isn't willing to live there. Ardoin has been influenced by Buckwheat Zydeco and Clifton Chenier (among others), but he obviously realizes that admiring those legends doesn't mean that he has to sound exactly like them. Consequently, Ardoin and his band, ZydeKool, bring a definite freshness to exuberant, sweaty gems like "Shut 'Em Down," "Creole Girl," and "New School/Old School." Anyone who is seeking something fresh and forward-thinking from zydeco would do well to check out Pullin'.

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