Tom Rigney & Flambeau
Ace fiddler Tom Rigney and his Louisiana-drenched band Flambeau can be heard in concerts from the Caribbean to Alaska, at the big festivals in the summer, and monthly at his favorite neighborhood dance palace: Ashkenaz. Tonight the band celelbrates the release of its new CD, "Enjoy Yourself (It's Later than You Think)." The unusual title song (recorded by everyone from Guy Lombardo to the Supremes) is a real surprise. According to Rigney, it's "a great song, although I must admit when I heard it when I was a kid it made no sense at all. I listened to the Guy Lombardo version a couple of years ago and realized what a brilliant, funny, and on-the-money song it is." In addition to old favorites and Rigney's own compositions, some of tonight's songs are pulled from the CD/DVD "Swamp Fever - Live at Three Stages," whose video was part of the PBS-TV series "Music Gone Public." Featured songs range from "Iko Iko" to "Orange Blossom Special" and "C'est la Vie." What sets Rigney and Flambeau apart is their fresh musical takes on Louisiana Cajun and zydeco, New Orleans R&B, down-home blues, and other styles he loves to play from rock to classical, creating a celebration of life through dance rhythms. Flambeau is a tight ensemble of virtuoso musicians, with guitarist Danny Caron (Charles Brown's bandleader; he and Rigney met when both backed up Rockin' Sidney in the '80s), boogie-woogie keyboardist Caroline Dahl, bassist and singer Steve Parks, and drummer Brent Rampone. Son of baseball legend Bill Rigney, Tom Rigney has long been a force in Bay Area music. He began in bluegrass-Western Swing band Back in the Saddle, then went from helping bandleader Queen Ida pioneer zydeco in the 1980s, to 15 years leading his New Orleans-drenched rock-R&B-zydeco outfit the Sundogs. At the turn of the 21st century he launched Flambeau, which has remained busy on the road ever since, releasing records mixing traditional and original fare. Not long ago, after teaming up for a few shows at Ashkenaz, Rigney and fellow fiddler Michael Doucet recorded the critically acclaimed CD "Cajun Fandango," a hot collection of fiddle duets on Parhelion Records.