Benefit for Coz Fontenot with Savoy Family, Steve Riley, Liberty Theater, Nov. 11, 2017
Despite health problems and other serious setbacks, Coz Fontenot has kept on singing Cajun songs in the old style in a voice resonant with what a writer once described as “the high lonesome,” evoking an earlier time drawing on deeply rooted memories and feelings, on joys and sorrows beyond the reach of a lot of contemporary music. His talent, dedication, and perseverance have earned him deep respect and admiration from other musicians. To help him out, the Savoy Family Band, Steve Riley, Mitch Reed, and members of Coz’s own band participated in a benefit performance at the Liberty Theater, Nov. 11, 2017.

The Savoy Family Band opened the show. Coz joined them to do “Les blues de Bosco” and “Choupique Two Step.” The band consisted of Marc and Ann Savoy and two of their children, Joel Savoy and Wilson Savoy, plus Steve Riley, a second cousin to Marc, on drums. Steve also did a twin fiddle number with Joel. Derek Landry was show host.

With Coz on vocals and harmonica, Coz’s own band finished the show: Steve Riley on accordion and Mitch Reed on fiddle along with regular band members Nolan Cormier on bass, Stuart Davis on acoustic guitar, and Jake Benoit on drums. When Steve switched to fiddle, Coz played accordion on “Reel de joie,” a traditional fiddle tune to which he added words and adapted it to include the accordion. (It’s on his first recording, “Lundi Gras,” released as a cassette in 1997 and digitally remastered as a CD in 2008.) John Best, the regular accordionist in the band, joined the group for the rest of the show, which continued on for 10 minutes after the end of the radio broadcast.

In addition to “Lundi Gras,” Coz Fontenot has released two other CDs: “Just a Little Piece of My Heart” and “Memories of My Past,” which features a cover photo of the Blue Goose Lounge, the club in Eunice that Coz ran decades ago.
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