D.L. MenardView in iTunes
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Affectionately known as "the Cajun Hank Williams," D.L. Menard (born Doris Leon Menard) only met Williams one time at the Teche Club in New Iberia in 1951. But in the nearly five decades since, William's melancholy country songs have continued to be his major influence. Best known for his hit "La Porte Dans Arriere (The Back Door)," which sold more than 500,000 copies in 1962, Menard remains one of Cajun music's strongest links to country music. Menard's earliest inspiration was furnished by his father, who played harmonica, and an uncle who played in a Cajun band. Attending a rehearsal by the group, Menard became enchanted by his uncle's guitar playing. Convincing his uncle to teach him a few rudimentary chords, Menard took to the instrument quickly. Six months after buying his first guitar from a Sears and Roebuck catalog, he performed his first gigs. Shortly after joining Elias Badeaux's band, the Louisiana Aces, in 1952, Menard took over the band's leadership. He continued to balance his music career with a variety of jobs. He composed "La Porte Dans Arriere" while working at a gas station. Menard continued to supplement his income as a musician by building rocking chairs in the factory that he owns with his wife, Louella. In 1994, Menard received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. ~ Craig Harris