The Creole Zydeco Farmers formed from the remains of Fernest & the Thunders, a zydeco band led by accordion player Fernest Arceneaux; an injury put the band's leader out of commission and led to Fernest & the Thunders's demise in 1989. Two of the group's musicians, drummer Clarence "Jockey" Etienne and guitarist Chester Chevalier, joined forces to establish a new band that would be dedicated to traditional zydeco. The band, which makes its home base in Lafayette, LA, takes its name from the prevalent occupation of the southwest region of the state, where farming has been an honored way of life for generations. The Creole Zydeco Farmers includes bass player James Prejean, accordion player Morris Francis (who also sings and plays scrub board), and Walter Prejean Sr. (who contributes vocals, scrub board, and accordion). Chevalier plays both rhythm and lead guitar, while Etienne continues to drum as he did for Arceneaux. Bandmembers are all Louisiana natives with family ties to Lafayette Parish. A number of well-known zydeco artists have employed the group as their opening act, among them Beau Jocque & the Zydeco Hi-Rollers, Buckwheat Zydeco, Wayne Toups & Zydecajun, and the Blues Runners. Making a name in zydeco circles in their own right, bandmembers have taken their music throughout Canada and much of the U.S., including stops in California, Tennessee, Washington, Oregon, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Texas, Mississippi, New York, and Washington, D.C. The group played overseas in Greece, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Holland. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival welcomes them annually to its stage. Drummer Etienne worked for Excello Records as a studio musician at one time. His drums can be heard on recordings by Slim Harpo, Fats Domino, Lazy Lester, and Katie Webster, among others.
Share this page