If you like your country music with more old school tumbleweed and Texas twang than fast-burning plastic of the modern age, then you should pick up Yvette Landry’s new solo CD Should Have Known. Like some Cajun queen bee from another era, the Bonsoir, Catin bassist picks up her acoustic guitar to belt out 16 original tunes that trace the arc of romance from holding hands to one night stands to making long term plans. Filled with bitter-sweet tales of love lost, found, and turned around, it’ll have you jerking the tears out of your eyeballs and crying in your beer. Co-produced by Joel Savoy and Landry, the CD plays like a woman’s honky tonk companion piece/travel guide through the back roads of the heart with upswings through the highs (“Blue Moon Girl”) and pensive meditations on the lows (“Where Memories are Gold”).
Should Have Known” is a remarkable collection of haunting barroom ballads and danceable country rhythms. Yvette Landry wrote, co-produced and sings the paint off of these 16 memorable songs, and does so with sass and authority. Showcasing her many talents and especially her riveting vocal presence, this CD should be the start of something big. Count me as her biggest fan!
Yvette Landry’s debut is imbued with the spirit of SW Louisiana. Strikingly honest country vocals, instantly familiar lyrics and a sweet meandering backdrop of steel guitar set the scene for a honky-tonk slow dance.
I met Yvette as bass player then I found out she had songs of her own I heard them and right away knew of her honesty in song then she sent this recording – the truth telling is there, her standing up and above the band is there and i am proud for her – yvette just rears back & tells the truth, y’all.
Landry certainly qualifies as “hard” country, there’s nothing soft or fuzzy about her songwriting…Landry’s songs, often set in barrooms, mine much the same “Wrong’s What I Do Best” vein as Miss Leslie and if she has the occasional iffy rhyme, it’s easily offset by a flair for gritty, authentic detail.
3rd Coast Music, Austin, TX
If you’re looking for real country music, look away from Nashville to Breaux Bridge, La., the heart of Cajun and zydeco territory. Best known in roots-music circles for playing bass with bands including Bonsoir Catin and the Lafayette Rhythm Devils, Yvette Landry comes from a long line of musicians. For her debut album as a leader, she picks up her acoustic guitar and her songwriter’s pencil and turns not to traditional Acadian music but to traditional country and honky-tonk, with a hint of Southwestern Louisiana spice. Backed by an all-star supporting cast including Red Stick Ramblers, Wilders and co-producer Joel Savoy, Landry delivers the unvarnished goods: uptempo selections such as the celebratory Blue Moon Girl and the revengepowered Jack as well as heartstring-tugging ballads including Where Memories are Gold and Fishing’s Better Anyway. Country music should know it needs Yvette Landry.
Jim Beal Jr.
San Antonio Express-News
Country music fans everywhere should snap up ‘Should Have Known’. Yvette Landry’s new album is the whole package – great songs, intimate and direct songwriting, killer musicians and excellent production. Yvette shows that that honky-tonk lives on in her native Louisiana – heartache, hard-living, and strong, gutsy women all show up in this album. Her songs have something that music lovers crave – they sound new and old at the same time, like long-lost gems from country’s 1950’s heyday. What a thrill to find someone is still writing and recording music like this!
Amanda Lynn Stubley
For The Folk, CHRW 94.9 FM
Some of my favorite recordings this year are almost straight-ahead country. Caleb Klauder’s Western Country and Yvette Landry’s unbelievable debut Should Have Known make a wonderful testament as to what’s wrong with mainstream Country today. If I had a Country station I’d be playing the crap out of both of these discs, and for that matter my favorite album of 2009 – Zoe Muth’s self titled debut. Carrie Underwood and Kenny Chesney seem like perfectly nice people but are they making “Country” music? Why is it that Country music programmers find it so important to water down their output? I guess I can probably answer that… For some reason the general public seems to have a knee-jerk reaction to Country & Western. It’s too bad because if they’d let the music seep in I think they’d be pleasantly surprised. Next time I run across a Country-music-hater I’m going to make them come to my house drink beer all day and listen to Yvette Landry, over and over and over. I promise they’ll walk away, albeit drunk, wanting to buy a 4WD and a nice pair of boots. YeeHaw!
Her vocal style recalls the rural sound that was crafted in the late ’50’s through the early ’70’s by the likes of Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Wanda Jackson. Like those three, Landry conveys deep emotion with powerful understatement and gets the most out the dramatic effects by using them judiciously…but it is fresh, intelligent interpretations such as Should Have Known that truly keep tradition alive.
Louisiana Cultural Vistas
Who would’ve thought that the best honky tonk album of the year is by a woman that would be from the middle from Breaux Bridge, LA. That area along Hwy 10 in Louisiana has a wealth of amazing Cajun musicians. Landry has been around, playing many instruments with some of the best bands from Acadiana, including the all-woman Bonsoir Catin. For her first solo album, she lets out her twangy side and wrote all the songs herself and they’re mostly solid barrroom and cheatin’ tunes. There are many famous families of bayou musicians in Louisiana including the Landry’s but the best known may be the Savoy family. Yvette wisely stays close to home by employing Joel Savoy, who not only produced the album but he also plays on it. He’s a fine fiddle player especially when playing in tandem with the Wilder’s amazing fiddler Betse Ellis. Then you add the steel guitar of Richard Comeaux and the Red Stick Ramblers’ swingin’ guitarist Chas Justus and you got a band that could set a house on fire! Even though this is a country CD, there’s an slight Cajun hot sauce added that really gives it that extra kick!
Freight Train Boogie
Honky tonk music has a pretty limited vocabulary, and Lafayette’s Yvette Landry works in it without being constrained. Yes, her songs are largely about bars, bottles and heartbreak, but the bar’s the Blue Moon and the guy is bad in bed. Her honky tonk has a foot in the city and one in the country, and neither her songs, her voice nor her band show a hint of strain in the straddle.
My Spilt Milk
Ms Landry has made herself (and us!) one fine disc here. The writing and singing show a depth and confidence that belies the fact that this is her first effort. 16 songs, all written by her, run the gamut from heart-on-the-sleeve ballads to kick-ass romps. This collection is rooted in country music, and, like the best of the genre, it draws to great effect on the neighboring styles of cajun, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. By country, I mean the stuff that tells a story that sounds like it actually happened – songs where you can still hear a heart breaking. Luckily for us, lest we get drawn down Lament Lane and Poignant Place past the point of no return (don’t get me wrong, there’s no place I’d rather spend an evening) there’s plenty of rambunctious action here. Yvette has cranked up a bunch of fine up-tempo songs as well, and the rock ‘n’ roll rolls just as well as it rocks. Produced in Louisiana by Joel Savoy and Yvette, there is no shortage of great steel and fiddle playing in the mix. All in all a mighty fine record.
When Yvette Landry makes music, the smile on her face is as wide as her Cajun roots are deep. When she performs her own swamp/country tunes about life and love (lost and found), you won’t be able to resist the urge to dance. Oozing charisma and Louisiana proud, this musician and her music are salt of the earth.