Live Music Will Never Die – OR – Transcendent Joy

Guest Washboarders at the Terrance Simien Concert

Guest Washboarders at the Terrance Simien Concert

Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience played last night at Discovery Green.  I do love the zydeco, but was caught off-guard by how perfect a night it was.

For the 8th of October, Houston sure was warm last night.  By warm, I mean it was in the high 90s until the sun set.  The wind was roaring through the park like the rush that proceeds a forest fire, although a fire wouldn’t have had a chance given the sopping wetness of the humid air.

Didn’t matter.  Terrance Simien won the Grammy in the new Zydeco and Cajun category, a category that should have existed already, and a category that leaves off the third leg in that trinity, Creole.  Point is, he won, and good on him.

He brought his Grammy with him to the show last night, a move which could easily have been seen as pompous.  But good lord, the smile on this man’s face!  His absolute joy at playing music he loves for fans who are having as much fun as he was.  I wanted him to do a victory lap with it.


What really made the night?  Hard to say.  I’d show you a picture of the couple in not-quite-matching Hawaiian shirts who line-danced most of the night, just the two of them, but they did not once crack a smile, so you’d have a hard time believing how much fun they were actually having.

Well, maybe you’ll take my word for it:


But that photo at the top of the post really captures it.  The woman in orange is Lady D, a Houston zydeco legend.  The young man in Tevas, well, he is not yet a Houston zydeco legend.  But that kid got up on stage and played the washboard for the whole song.  He checked in a little bit with the other musicians on stage, but he mainly just smiled out at the audience while figuring out how to make music with 2 spoons and a weird piece of crinkled metal.

Lady D and I talked after the show about the fact that kids just get it.  When the music rocks, when the joy is flowing, kids will move, dance, and take part in it all.  If the music sucks, kids lose interest.  And they may be entertained by video games, but as long as kids get a chance to experience the magic of a great musician in person, live music will never be in any danger.

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