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Terrance Simien

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Biography

One of zydeco's most soulful vocalists and fieriest accordionists, Terrance Simien was also among the music's most pop-oriented artists, infusing his sound with elements of R&B, funk, gospel, and reggae. Born September 3, 1965, in Eunice, LA, he first heard zydeco at local dances as a boy, but did not show any real interest in the music until it began growing in popularity during the early '80s. After learning the accordion and writing a handful of songs in collaboration with his brother Greg, Simien formed his first band; in the years to follow, he honed his chops in area zydeco clubs each weekend, working as a bricklayer during the day. His big break arrived in 1984, when an appearance at the New Orleans World's Fair launched him to the attention of Paul Simon, with whom Simien recorded a cover of Clifton Chenier's "You Used to Call Me." He also was tapped to appear in the feature film The Big Easy, writing and performing a song with star Dennis Quaid. With his band the Mallet Playboys, Simien made his full-length debut in 1990 with Zydeco on the Bayou; There's Room for Us All followed in 1993, and after a six-year recording hiatus he returned with Positively Beadhead. In 2001 Simien released the interesting Tribute Sessions, which was split between narrative by Simien and actual music tracks paying tribute to some of his influences. Across the Parish Line appeared in 2006 from Aim Records, followed a year later in 2007 by Live World Wide, also released by Aim. ~ Jason Ankeny

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