New Release Friday: Sean Ardoin – Kreole Rock and Soul

Posted by Greg on Sep 14, 2018 in Music |

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You probably have no idea who Sean Ardoin is and that’s just fine. But after this weekend, you darn well better remember his name. Ardoin released his latest album, Kreole Rock and Soul today and it absolutely demands your attention. A fourth-generation Creole accordion prodigy, Ardoin is a name that’s worth remembering this fall and beyond.

Album opener “Kick Rocks” sounds like a Black Crowes b-side and drips with passion, energy and swagger. From the very onset, it is incredibly evident that Ardoin owns what he does. Never once does the song feel inauthentic. In fact, the song is kinetic, magnetic and quite dynamic. Not wanting to shy away from his trademark accordion, there’s an accordion interlude at the 2-minute mark and in just a few short seconds it is readily apparent that this dude can really play.

There’s a Southern hip-hop vibe on “In It For a Minute” and there’s a sense of comfort and familiarity about all of it. Ardoin sounds in the pocket and completely at home on the song and nothing about it feels rushed, unfocused or without thought. The first of three covers is Steve Miller’s “Abracadabra” which has a distinct hip-hop flavor, a searing guitar solo, joyous accordion and should absolutely be flooding playlists for the remainder of the year. Ardoin’s first ballad is “Butterfly” an overly saccharine valentine for his wife that is smooth and simple but lyrically banal and a bit self-indulgent. The song’s veneer is a paean to old school R&B and while it isn’t exactly flawless, it’s a serviceable effort and keeps the album moving forward.

His cover of Estelle’s “Do My Thing” on the other hand is bright, sun-drenched and downright intoxicating. If there’s one thing Ardoin does well it’s honor the original while making it all his own. In short, “Do My Thing” is so strong it just might have some chart success.

The album’s most distinctly Cajun effort is “Keep on Moving,” which features Ardoin’s trademark accordion, a washboard and an airy organ. At its core its authentic Southern rock and from the very first seconds it’s a hip-shaking, beer-swilling good time. The washboard returns on the horn-laden “Overdosed” a co-write with his son that borrows from the Bruno Mars playbook. Upbeat, urgent and decidedly ebullient the song is easily the most catchy on the album and just darn fun.

Louisiana singer-songwriter Cory Landry lends his writing talents to the smooth and sweetly affecting roots cut “What Do You Want to Do,” another effort with an infectious chorus and another searing guitar solo. “What Do You want to Do” is also the first cut on the album that proves what a versatile vocalist Ardoin really is. As he reaches for the upper register in the song’s waning seconds it is a moment that cements his status as a true original.

Not content to allow filler to suck the life out of the disc, Ardoin offers up The Cars’ seminal classic “Just what I Needed.” Borrowing shades of hip-hop and reggae the cover is confident, polished and absolutely pristine. Much like the previous two covers, “Just What I Needed” is a song that needs to be shared and absolutely demands wider attention.

Easily the album’s most energetic effort is the high-energy “Mama” which features an air-tight rhythm section, sultry horns and a chorus that will stick in your head for days. Ostensibly a love letter to his mother, it just might be the new anthem for Mother’s Day 2019. From the opening seconds the song is ablaze with swagger, soul and passion. Add to it that it just might be the most addicting and catchiest song we’ve heard in quite some time and well, you have an album that continues to reward long after its initial offerings. The tender piano ballad “You Complete Me” closes out the album and while it once again suffers from some trite lyrics the entire thing feels like mid 90s Boyz II Men.

While Ardoin is a gifted accordion player, he also has a songwriter’s innate ability to craft winning and memorable songs. That ability paired with his accessible voice makes for an album that deftly balances bright pop, classic rock and Zydeco for something that is truly arresting. Having already played the likes of Carnegie Hall and having been featured on MTV, BET, VH1 and Bravo, Ardoin is no stranger to the media. With this album though he just might be stepping out into something that takes his career into an entirely different direction.

Here’s hoping exactly that happens.

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