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No sophomore slump here, Yvette Landry delivers a beaut that honky tonks its way through an assortment of colorful tales told mostly from a woman’s perspective. Whether it’s turning the tables, perpetuating romantic failure or finding lasting love, she covers a wide range of topics as captured by an observant eye. Some such as “What I’m Thinking” and “I’d Love to Lay You Down” are funny and you’d hate to be the rascal that the female protagonist is hunting down. On the shuffling “Three Chords and a Bottle,” this gal’s about her music and is not about to play the game.
Though she pretty much shot from zero to sixty on her debut, it’s also evident she continues to evolve as a writer. She’s becoming a master of such inventive phrases as ‘Butterfly kisses, crackerjack mornings,’ the latter a reference to the unexpected prize or dud that the day may bring. There’s twists and turns as well—later in the same song (“Butterfly Kisses”), it’s clear that the protagonist never recovered from love lost and drinks her life way. Tempo shifts are used effectively to shift emotion (“Forever Cowboy”).
While she excels at honky tonk—especially with ace steeler Comeaux’s perfect fill-in—she isn’t afraid to have other arrangements lean towards bluegrass, Americana and classic rock. “Yeah, You Right!” is almost experimental with its blend of country and zydeco featuring Geno Delafose (accordion/drums), Lil Buck Sinegal (guitar) and Erick Adcock (organ). While the band’s hot and guests like Cindy Cashdollar and Bill Kirchen never hurt, would this still work without her expressive set of pipes? Probably not, and her gripping performance on “When I Die” should be enough to win over any remaining skeptics.
Yvette Landry, No Man’s Land. Straight outta Beaux Bridge, Louisiana comes Yvette Landry, a singer who knows her way around all the things that can make life a mysterious dance full of inspiration and intrigue. The way she handles the quiet and not-so-quiet warfare between man and woman sure makes it seem like she’s been there, but who knows? Maybe it’s just her fertile imagination and plenty of on-the-job observations. Landry’s song titles alone say so much: “Dog House Blues,” “Three Chords and a Bottle,” “My Next Mr. Ex” and “This House Is Not a Home.” Even the lone cover, “Lord, I Get High,” is a seamless fit into her world. It’s the kind of album that should be handed out at couples therapy and divorce court alike, and maybe even high school homemaking classes to let the youngsters in on what lies ahead.
The last song, “When I Die,” is a sobering assessment of the hope that awaits everyone in the next life, and how it might be a blessing after all. When Yvette Landry sings of “the fighting being over,” the chills run all the way to the bone while the weeping steel guitar drives the final nails in the coffin. There is a Southern fatalism that runs through the land below the Mason Dixon line. Producer Jim Dickinson used to say it was because the South “lost the war.” Could be, or maybe it’s just the way a sweet release from the struggles of living there is such a long time coming. Either way, Yvette Landry has a direct line on those struggles and that release. She stands up to the former and keeps pushing for the latter, showing what a Louisiana woman can be counted on to do. Yeah, you right.
So, our Cajun Goddess, who wowed NotSXSW a couple of years ago, with FAR reporter Obie Obermark (Texas Renegade Radio, KNON, Dallas) remarking “Yvette Landry is the most charismatic performer I’ve seen not named Willie Nelson,” but couldn’t make it for 2012, was supposed to be back with us this year. However she ran afoul of possibly the only bride in the entire US of A who only needed six weeks to plan a wedding that would tie up two members of her band for March 16th. However, at least I can console myself with her second album. Landry’s stunning debut, Should Have Known (Soko, 2010), had a certain shock value as she was known as a sidewoman, playing bass with Bonsoir Catin, Lafayette Rhythm Devils, Balfa Toujours and many other Cajun groups, rather than a country singer-songwriter, and anyway, who expects a killer honky tonk album to come out of Breaux Bridge, LA? No Man’s Land, of course, can’t be another came-outta-nowhere bombshell, but it’ll still blow your doors off again, no second album slump here on 13 tracks that feature steel guitarist Richard Comeaux and Dirk Powell piano, with appearances by Cindy Cashdollar, Bill Kirchen, Joel Savoy, Lil Buck Sinegal, Betse Ellis, Geno Delafose and Tony Daigle among others. Ms Landry is, well I was going to tactfully say une femme d’un certain age, but as she’s fronted up the details for my B&D column, I assume she doesn’t mind you knowing she’ll turn 50 later this year. Maturity may be a career-killing liability in Nashville, but it’s a valued asset, almost a requirement, here at 3CM Towers, and if she came to songwriting later than most, the payoff is that she’s writing songs for and about grown ups, the way country used to be. On top of that, there’s her seductive delivery, as Bill Bentley put it, “Yvette Landry has the kind of voice that can get grown men into trouble.” JC
3rd Coast Music
This is the second disc from this rich-voiced young country singer who has a much older sensibility to her. She gives us a dozen of her songs; the thirteenth song, Lord I get High, was written by Matt Kline. The songs reflect an active intelligence that doesn’t accept things at face value. Sometimes they are ironic and funny, at other time sad, yet always present a sharp comment on life as she experiences/observes it in Breaux Bridge, LA, or on the road with one of the bands she plays in. Just the titles give you a hint;Butterfly Kisses, Three Chords and A Bottle, My Next Mr. Ex, and I’d Love to Lay You Down, are a few of the titles and present you with ideas on her songs. It is her wit and sharp insight that make them into the gems that they are. The songs and the way they are presented take the listener back to the days of country singers such as Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, and Loretta Lynn. Yet it is a new age and today’s thinking woman isn’t going to “Stand By Her Man” no matter what, they demand respect and deserve it for what they have accomplished.
This country singer, Yvette Landry, here spends many of her nights playing with several Cajun bands, Bonsoir Catin, The Lafayette Rhythm Devils, and Balfa Toujours, to name three. The people that perform on No Man’s Land reflect the respect that she earned: Cindy Cashdollar, Bill Kirchen, Dirk Powell, Tony Daigle, and her son Trevor Landry. (When you were a college student, would you want to be seen with your mother’s band?) This disc contains a good variety of buckle polishers as well as some that rock. If the music doesn’t get you up and dancing, the songs will bring some smiles to your face as well as thoughts to your grey matter. A solid disc in every way and one that is sure to stick in your player as it is that good on so many levels.
Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
What happened last week: I decided to forego the super-sized spectacle of Bayou Country Superfest and instead, bike my way down to the free fan fest in the parking lot to catch Yvette Landry’s brilliant honky-tonk set. Pedal steel maestro Richard Comeaux gave the set its most graceful moments, but there was a second when Landry let out a country holler that echoed off the cliff faces of Tiger Stadium. It was a brief, goose bump moment, one that even surprised her. It made me wonder if anything that was to go on during the big money show later would come close.
Alex V. Cook
Steel-guitar shaman Richard Comeaux has been part of Yvette Landry’s country aggregation for a few years, but when Landry needed a duo partner for the smaller gigs a year-and-a-half ago, playing with T-Coe (as he’s alternatively known) just clicked.
Obviously it clicks here, too, on this predominantly one-of-a-kind vintage country affair. Many of the classics, “Tennessee Waltz,” “Cold, Cold Heart” and “I Fall to Pieces,” are slowed down considerably to allow for the talents of both to be front and center, unencumbered by an otherwise full-size band.
It’s an amazingly deep album full of layered listens and focuses. On one level, steel-guitar fans will likely drool over Comeaux’s infinitively limitless technique of picks, slides, glides, rolls, growls, howls and sacred harmonics that’s almost as if he were a one-man steel-guitar convention. Listening to Comeaux’s extended solos―a rarity since most steelers are relegated to briefer rides for the ego of the vocalist―becomes a mood-altering, if not spiritual, experience.
On another level, Landry’s slightly syncopated vocal interpretations are often stunning, sometimes playful, as on “Can I Go Home with You,” and sometimes astounding, such as on the end of “A Church, a Courtroom and then Goodbye” —where she belts out, “And [pause] then [pause] goodbyeeeeeee” to the heavens.
Though this wasn’t intended to showcase any Yvette Landry material, “Memories of Clelia”—with its full-blown imagery of loaded pistols, dusty bibles and departed souls—is quite the tearjerkin’ tearjerker.
When you listen to this one, remember to keep the Kleenex close by and the box of razors out of sight.
For her latest album Yvette Landry has distilled her music down to the purest elements of traditional country; voice, guitar and pedal steel. Added to that is the fact that the acclaimed songwriter has chosen to mostly cover some of her favourite songs. It is a testament to her seeking for truth of the music that she manages to make these often iconic songs feel very much her own. You can’t dismiss the version that have already become ingrained in your memory banks, rather the simplicity of the setting give them a new perspective.
Landry’s unique voice is full of passion, pain and perception. It soars above the simplicity of the arrangements. Kudos too to Richard Comeaux’s steel playing which is a major part of the musical impact, along with Landry’s voice. Comeaux has been a part of Landry’s musical band for some time and clearly understand her vision. The duo setting allows him full reign to display his many skills over the entire album rather than coming to the fore with a brief solo or atmospheric playing that a full band setting often dictates.
The songs include Tennessee Waltz, I Fall to Pieces, Together Again and Misery Loves Company. The latter a dissertation of the memory of love lost that comes from the pen of Jerry Reed and clocks in at over six minuets. Voice and steel guitar jointly explore the anguish in way that underlines the real nature of raw regret. There are three songs associated with Hank Williams Senior (Cold, Cold Heart, Hey Good Looking andBucket’s Got A Hole in It), another artist who understood how to turn human nature into a heart-wrenching vocal. There are songs from Foghorn Stringband’s Caleb Klauder (Can I Go Home with you?) as well as two from Landry (Together, Forever and Memories Of Clelia) along with the classic covers. These both sound and feel at home with the other songs.
The way they perform the songs soon makes you forget that there are only two players featured on the album. On the bonus closing track (I’m leaving it Up to You) Landry is joined by a full band on a more bluesy take and the male vocal is front and centre providing alternate verses with Landry. The nature of the album gets inside these songs and deconstructs them back to the foundations of the emotions that the songs were built upon. No mean feat when you’re up against the originals recording – and countless other versions in some cases. There have been quite a number of albums in recent times where singers have gone back to the songs that first drew them to real country music. The success of these has been varied, but this album deserves to be heard. It is not a stopgap, but rather an affirmation of why this person is as good as she is. And she is.
“Cajun singer Yvette Landry carries a torch HARD for true honky-tonk. Her new album, Me & T-Coe’s Country, is all pedal steel, loping guitar lines, and slightly smokey, sweetly beautiful and seriously twangy vocal lines. Cajuns have long held a great love of honky-tonk, and in some ways a lot of Cajun songs, once you translate them to English, sound just like a teary country song. So there’s a natural connection here that Landry doesn’t have to dig deep to find. What’s interesting, is that this album is really a slow-burner. Most of the songs are taken from various old-school country sources (Hank Williams, Jerry Reed, Buck Owens, Pee-Wee King, Hank Cochran), but they’re slowed down to a nice, relaxed pace. It’s quite lovely, and quite difficult to pull off, actually. But Landry’s got the kind of presence that draws you in. This is a collection of classic honky-tonk that plays more like a steamy Southern novel than a packed dancehall. Special kudos to Landry for picking up our buddy Caleb Klauder’s excellent “Can I Go Home With You” and for writing some classics herself here. Lovely album!”
Check out the full magazine on line at https://kithfolk.creatavist.com
Although she’s from Cajun country and often performs with Bonsoir Catin, The Lafayette Rhythm Devils, and Balfa Toujours, on this outing Yvette Landry is more Kitty Wells than Christine Balfa. With the exception of the funky Zydceo offering “Yeah, You Right!,” a wild fling with Geno Delafose on accordion and drums, Lil’ Buck Senegal on guitar and Eric Adcock on Hammond C-3, almost everything else on No Man’s Land is ’50s-style country. But as presented by Landry, there’s nothing wrong with that.
“Dog House Blues” is an interesting conglomeration of western swing fiddle from ’12’s Louisiana State Fiddle Champ Beau Thomas ‘ and ’50s country era pedal steel courtesy of Richard Comeaux (Lil’ Band O’ Gold, River Road,) overlaid by Landry’s twang, sounding more Texas than Louisiana.
Landry’s half spoken word “Butterfly Kisses” sounds like Kitty Wells backed by Comeaux’s weepy pedal steel and Thomas’ low country fiddle.
“I walked into a barroom just to ease the pain,” Landry croons on her original “Three Chords and A Bottle,” that sounds like a vintage honky-tonk drinking song. “You can always count on Patsy/ to help you see the light,” she moans. “3 chords and a bottle is all I need tonight.”
Steel guitarist/dobroist extraordinaire Cindy Cashdollar steps up on “What I’m Thinking” to punctuate Landry’s lament that her soon to be ex beloved is leavin’ but when she catches up to him that sumbitch gonna wish he wuz dead.
Landry dishes out more death wishes along with a Cajun fiddle infusion from Betse Ellis on “I’d Love To Lay You Down.” This ain’t no love song, but a fervent prayer that she can lay down her sleeping around spouse who’s been a-layin’ all the women in town. “About 6 feet under the ground sounds good to me,” she says of her desire to place him in a house with no windows, a marble roof and an inscription out front for all the world to see that his cheatin’ days are done.
Despite all the cheatin’ and drinkin’ and threats of mayhem, No Man’s Land sounds like it was as much fun to make as it is to listen to. You can party with it, drown your sorrows to it, and get up and dance if you can still stand up after all the boozin’ and foolin’ around. Its well worth the trip if you can just survive the journey.
Yvette Landry is the most charismatic performer I’ve seen not named Willie Nelson.
Obie Obermark, Dallas Tx
3rd Coast Music (#171)
More Louisiana mischief as singer-guitarist Yvette Landry takes a couple handfuls of country staples, adds two originals and creates a surprising jaw-dropper with only the accompaniment of pedal steel player Richard Comeaux. It’s the utter sparseness of the sound that supplies the magic, along with songs like “Tennessee Waltz,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Hey Good Looking” and “Buckets Got a Hole in It.” Landry’s voice is allowed to take flight with nothing to tie it down to Earth, and she is sharp enough to take advantage of that freedom.
Comeaux is the perfect partner, never going over the top with pedal envy, but rather listening to what the singer needs. Yvette Landry is a revelation here, someone who can call for two hankies and then right away shout out for a shiny dance floor. A bonus lagniappe track of Don and Dewey’s “I’m Leaving It Up to You” featuring Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars feels like a heaven-sent belt-polisher, straight outta Beaux Bridge. Time to fry the fish and boil the crabs.
Bill Bentley’s Bandstand – The Morton Report
Expectations can lead to disappointments, but they can also lead to great joys if you are willing to let go of preconceived notions and examine what’s at hand with an open mind. Yvette Landry’s first two discs, at first listen, brought your attention to a sultry voice, a fresh presentation of songs, and writing that had us thinking she was a modern day Patsy Cline. Yvette’s newest project brings fourteen songs to the table, twelve of which are standards, (i.e. “Together Again”). At first listen, your attention is drawn to the fact that many of the songs are covers. But as the songs progress, the idea of “they’re just covers,” gets tossed away. You realize that the voice is still present and the performances disassemble the songs in a way that makes them sound completely new again. Remarkably, this is done with just two people – Yvette (voice and acoustic guitar), and pedal steel guitarist Richard Comeaux (the “T-Coe” in the title).
This record was recorded with no overdubs and for all intents and purposes, all one-take efforts. Yvette’s voice is right up front; hers is a voice that could rival any other. Richard’s pedal steel is dead-on, keeping with an era gone by, yet breathing life into these songs making them new and powerful. The two produced the album, which was engineered, mixed, and mastered by the incomparable Tony Daigle, who seems to be right in sync with their vision.
The two original tunes, both of which were written by Yvette, fit perfectly with these classics. The beauty of it all is that the songs are not just recycled, but are given new life by the raucous emotion that is put into them. If this disc gets the press it deserves, it will set a new standard for these old songs. Anyone who attempts to record them will have a lot to live up to.
– Bob Gottlieb
LE CRI DU COYOTE (France)
Le précédent album d’Yvette Landry avait bénéficié d’un Cri du Cœur, aussi notre rédacteur en chef n’a pas hésité à me confier la nouvelle œuvre de cette chanteuse et musicienne louisianaise, au grand dam sans doute de notre ami Bernard ! Le menu 2013 offert par la “Catin” préférée de notre revue est-il aussi copieux et diversifié que l’était Should Have Known avec ses honky tonks, valses et même rock & roll ? Réponse oui, quasiment. Avec treize titres au lieu de seize mais on y retrouve toujours un peu de R’n’R (Dog House blues), de la valse (Butterfly Kisses), des slows et parfois même avec de l’harmonica (Little Gold Band), des honky tonks (Three Chords And A Bottle, What Did In The Hell They Did Back Then), de la country dans le style de Loretta Lynn (Forever Cowboy) et une berceuse acoustique qui m’a fait me souvenir de Rattlesnake Annie (When I Die). Pour faire plaisir à Bernard il y a même un swamp blues (ou pop) avec orgue et accordéon (Yeah, You Right). La pedal steel guitare est très présente. On a aussi du dobro, du fiddle, du banjo et une bonne guitare (présence de Bill Kirchen). Alors Yvette mérite-t-elle un nouveau Cri du Cœur ? Eh bien oui car je n’ai pas encore trouvé, dans notre série de rentrée, un album qui lui disputerait la distinction.
Yvette Landry steps into the spotlight
Published Sep 30, 2013 at 6:00 am (Updated Sep 23, 2013) By Roger Hahn
Yvette Landry was driving home one day from her job teaching at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette when her cell phone rang. “Hello?” asked the deep, male voice on the other end of the line. “Is this Yvette Landry? This is Hank Williams Jr. calling.” Landry shot back, as quick as if she’d suddenly hit the brakes, “C’mon. Who is this really?” It turned out to be the real Hank Williams Jr., calling about Landry’s first CD, Should Have Known—impressed and intrigued by the work of a local artist on a first-time CD handed to him by a Louisiana buddy.
That call likely won’t be the last time singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Landry gets a ring from Nashville. Already impressive the first time out, her songwriting, vocal and production skills have taken a giant leap forward on her recent CD, No Man’s Land, with its impeccable, hand-crafted honky-tonk music. She’s also just published a children’s book, The Ghost Tree, and is collaborating on a new album from Bonsoir Catin, the Cajun female all-star quartet in which Landry plays bass and sings.
“If you would have told me 10 years ago my life was going to be like this,” the Breaux Bridge native says, “I would have looked at you like you were crazy.” And in Landry’s case, the astonishment is completely genuine. Ten years ago, Landry was a full-time teacher, mother and wife who competed in semi-pro volleyball just to help keep herself fully occupied. But when her father was diagnosed with brain cancer in his late 50s, Landry gave up volleyball to help nurse him. Around that time, she bought an electric bass for both distraction and consolation.
Before Landry knew it, she was going to local jams and got an offer to play bass with The Lafayette Rhythm Devils for their Wednesday performances at Randol’s Restaurant and Dance Hall, a gig she still holds down. Not long after, Landry went through a divorce—and the songs just started pouring out. “The channel was open,” she says. Singing lessons followed, and her father’s death at 67 motivated her to collect and record all the songs she’d written since the onset of his illness. Those songs became Should Have Known—crackerjack country music displaying a mature and accomplished range of talent.
But the most surprising part of Landry’s story might lie in her storytelling skills. In her songs, the upbeat, unceasingly cheerful former Crawfish Queen (seriously) inhabits the persona of a slightly defeated and jaded independent cowgirl sitting on a barstool, watching the human comedy unfold as she drinks in her fair share of hard whiskey and the classic country music of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. Combine that with spontaneous candor from a female perspective, and you get lyrics like, “Don’t trust that man until he’s dead and gone,” or, “Well, you’ve got pretty blue eyes, and you’ll do, I guess / I’m always lookin’ for my next Mr. Ex.”
Every tune in Landry’s catalog is pure old-time honky-tonk with a female twist, each one more insightful, touching and clever than the next. She also has a natural instinct to work with the best of Cajun music’s young virtuosos and a growing confidence that’s near awe-inspiring.
I saw her on a side stage last year at Jazz Fest, supporting her first album, and she was entirely credible; booked this year on the Fais Do Do stage with a new CD to promote, she came this close, in just one year, to turning her first big-stage set into a genuine star turn. So check her out, and if you experience just a bit of astonishment yourself, welcome to a rising star’s rapidly growing fan base.