The BluesBox Bayou Band
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The BluesBox Bayou Band

Sonora, California, United States | INDIE

Sonora, California, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter

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Blues Box Bayou Band
Rock a Bayou

The Blues Box Bayou Band has been around now for several years, operating out of Sonora, CA. They have developed a faithful following in many communities in the Sacramento valley and the festival circuit. For my sake this band goes into the �zydeco� category, but the band goes well beyond that. They do a mix of Cajun, zydeco, blues and American roots in mostly a light-hearted happy style. Leader Pete Grimaldi (accordion and lead vocals) writes most of the band�s material.
This is fun music. The opener, �Down The Zydeco Road� kicks things off with a mild zydeco groove. On �Stay a Little Longer,� (after Boozoo Chavis� �Dance All Night) the tempo revs up somewhat. �Crawfish� starts out with �cricket sounds� and Grimaldi on harmonica and then explores Louisiana food culture. The title cut is a high energy instrumental with a good groove and nice sound. They even join the trend of including a little swamp pop with Sam Cooke�s �Another Saturday Night.�
- Dale Johnson, KVMR-FM


California’s “Mother-Lode” area, near Sonora, is the home base of the popular Blues Box Bayou Band. Their music is not hard core zydeco -- but it is zydeco never the less -- of a much more light-hearted variety. Pete Grimaldi established the band about five years ago as a three-piece “roadhouse” band playing a blues/Tex-Mex/zydeco mix. This was the first band in the area to use an accordion. The zydeco material became very popular, so Grimaldi decided to make it a complete zydeco band. As fate would have it, the Gold Country Cajun Band disbanded about a year ago, and two of its members joined the Blues Box -- Scott Baker on vocals and guitar and Julie Johnson on bass. The band was rounded out by scrub board player Lil’ Jimmy H (former Sonora mayor, Jim Hildreth) who has a strong link with Louisiana, having a second home in Opelousas.
First of all, this music is “good listening” as well as good for dancing. Included are several popular standards like -- “Madeline” “My Toot Toot,” “Mardi Gras in New Orleans,” and “Jambalaya.” I especially like the four original songs. Scott’s “Angeline” has a nice melody and an easy groove, and it’s done in French. Pete’s “Belle de Lafayette” and “Vive Louisianne” take you right into Acadiana. Sadly, there are no waltzes, but variety is added with a couple non-Louisiana tunes -- “Tequila Gold” and “Ballad of Sally Anne.”
Dale Johnson, KVMR-FM, Host of “Bayou Country”, Nevada City - Sacramento
- Gary Haymen ZydE-Zine Internet Magazine


Let me say one thing, and that is, roots music is alive and well in this country we call America. In a world where commercial music success is a dream for many, people still dedicate their lives to the making GOOD music and they do it for one simply reason; LOVE.

The BlueBox Bayou Band is no garden variety band. Hailing from Sonora California, they are Pete Grimaldi (Accordion, Vocals) Julie Johnson (Bass) Frank Grimaldi (Guitar), Jimi Hildreth (Rub Board) and Mike Farris (Drums). These band mates have a passion for music and it shows. The Grimaldi brothers (Pete and Frank) cut their teeth over the years in local clubs, including the venerable Eagles Hall in Modesto California. Jimi Hildreth actual owns a hotel in Louisiana, loves Cajun culture and housed Katrina victims after the hurricane. Julie Johnson is a classically trained musician, music teacher and master of the bass, acoustic guitar and banjo.

With a very loyal fan base, The BluesBox Bayou Band is led by the talented Pete Grimaldi and they have released several respectable albums over the years. Like most hard working local bands, they play numerous small clubs in Northern California and additionally do the festival circuit including; The Isleton Crawdad Festival, The Gilroy Garlic Festival and The American Music Brookings, Oregon Festival. Did I mention they make annual pilgrimage to Louisiana every year?

Their music is mix of Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and American Roots. Grimaldi writes many of the bands songs and the group has shown tremendous growth over the years. They have also managed to weather some personnel changes, most notably the loss of Rudy Knight on drums, but drummer Mike Farris has stepped up to the plate to deliver a crisp and proficient backbeat for the band to jam to. (FYI. Rudy Knight does make a guest appearance on the new album, but do to health problems is not a fulltime band member)

The new album “Rock a Bayou” is the real deal folks. It hooked me from the first track “Down The Zydeco Road” and has since to let go. I always feel the test of a good album is how many times you listen to it without tiring of it. Well my friends, this recording has not disappointed me. I admit I’ve played it at least 50 times (I received an advance studio copy) and it’s still one of my tops picks in my CD collection. It’s simply fun to listen to and I discover something new every time I listen to it. With a rich mix of instruments in their arsenal, The BluesBox Bayou Band weaves a highly textured musical fabric for listeners to enjoy.

The new album includes a mix of covers and original songs. The opening track “Down The Zydeco Road” is an upbeat celebration of Louisiana culture with an infectious rhythm, solid guitar riffs and harmonious back up vocals. As a matter of fact, one thing I enjoy about this album is that Grimaldi has played up the use of his band mates in the back up vocal tracks which adds another dimension to his songs and begs to have the audience join in chorus.

Cover songs include: “Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You”, “Stay a Little Longer”, “I’m Coming Home”, “Crawfish”, “Another Saturday Night”, “Blue Bayou” and a live version of “Allons Dancer Le Mardi Gras” recorded last year at Eagles Hall in Modesto California.

BluesBox originals include “Down the Zydeco Road”, “Acadian Sky”, “Everyday Feels Like Sunday”, “Rock a ‘Bayou” and “This Dog is Cryin’”.

The haunting “Acadian Sky” is a masterwork. It reminds me of an Irish folk song and Grimaldi's voice reincarnates the gritty vocal stylings of Joe Strummer. Grimaldi laments in his lyrics “Separation is hard when your young and in love, harsh circumstances will change. But when you’re torn from your home and told never to return you’ll always want what you never can have.” This song paints a picture of a melancholy-romanticized south in the listeners mind. You can actually smell the Acacia trees and feel the pain of tortured souls as you sway to-and-fro with your drinking buddies. “Everyday Feels Like Sunday” is a certified hit, probably the most commercially viable song on the album in my opinion. Julie Johnson is spot on with a heavy bass track, Frank Grimaldi shows off his rockabilly guitar riffs honed over years of practice and Jimi Hildrith hits the rub board like a possessed demon after too much coffee. “Rock a ‘Bayou” is a fast-paced instrumental piece with Grimaldi adding his signature Cajun “shout-outs” and stands out as a really a fun song that I’m sure it will be a hit with fans at their live concerts. “This Dawg is Cryin” was inspired by Hurricane Katrina and pays homage to struggles of the people of the Gulf Coast. This bluesy song also makes good use of Frank Grimaldi’s guitar talents.

This is a band that should be on your radar and definitely seen in concert. They have proved to be consistent, persistent and inspired. I look forward to many years of being entertained by them and remain grateful that they, and others, are kee - By: Jaime Tafoya


Blues Box Bayou Band: P.D. Grimaldi takes this band down a Traditional and Zydeco road that just sets folks on fire. This band hails from the central valley of California and has been treating folks to great music for a number of years. Pete has seeded the band with two new folks Julie on Bass and Scott on Guitar and this five piece show band is a delight. This band was chosen to open the festival and perform the fais do do on Friday night (1 of 3 gigs total). I missed them while I was at Balfa Camp this past April , as they were in Lafayette making music and having a grand time in the mother land of Cajun/Creole & Zydeco. Pete has written some material that sends me ... although I am not excitable about new material , the sounds of Blues Box and the lyrics are super audio delights that defines memories. Among the finest drummers in the business Rudy Knight is forever captivating us with his ear to ear smile and vibrant in the pocket tempo... I gauge this band to be among California’s great contributions to the genre. 5 yrs. at Isleton and returning for 2004.
- David Mason, Music Director Isleton Crawdad Festival


On "Rock a'Bayou", The Bluesbox Bayou Band keeps your feet tapping and satisfies your appetite for great bayou music. This awesome zydeco album makes you want to eat crawfish, drink beer, and have a great bayou time. The production, songwriting, and musicianship are all excellent on this CD. Most notable are the excellent vocals, with effective harmonies, the overall fun groove, and the impressive accordion work. On the track "Don't Let the Green Grass Fool You", the accordion drives the song, and is accompanied by excellent love story lyrics. If you like good time zydeco music like Buckwheat Zydeco then you will love The Bluesbox Bayou Band. Get your copy today! - author: Josh B. and RadioIndy


Let me say one thing, and that is, roots music is alive and well in this country we call America. In a world where commercial music success is a dream for many, people still dedicate their lives to the making GOOD music and they do it for one simply reason; LOVE.

The BlueBox Bayou Band is no garden variety band. Hailing from Sonora California, they are Pete Grimaldi (Accordion, Vocals) Julie Johnson (Bass) Frank Grimaldi (Guitar), Jimi Hildreth (Rub Board) and Mike Farris (Drums). These band mates have a passion for music and it shows. The Grimaldi brothers (Pete and Frank) cut their teeth over the years in local clubs, including the venerable Eagles Hall in Modesto California. Jimi Hildreth actual owns a hotel in Louisiana, loves Cajun culture and housed Katrina victims after the hurricane. Julie Johnson is a classically trained musician, music teacher and master of the bass, acoustic guitar and banjo.

With a very loyal fan base, The BluesBox Bayou Band is led by the talented Pete Grimaldi and they have released several respectable albums over the years. Like most hard working local bands, they play numerous small clubs in Northern California and additionally do the festival circuit including; The Isleton Crawdad Festival, The Gilroy Garlic Festival and The American Music Brookings, Oregon Festival. Did I mention they make annual pilgrimage to Louisiana every year?

Their music is mix of Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and American Roots. Grimaldi writes many of the bands songs and the group has shown tremendous growth over the years. They have also managed to weather some personnel changes, most notably the loss of Rudy Knight on drums, but drummer Mike Farris has stepped up to the plate to deliver a crisp and proficient backbeat for the band to jam to. (FYI. Rudy Knight does make a guest appearance on the new album, but do to health problems is not a fulltime band member)

The new album “Rock a Bayou” is the real deal folks. It hooked me from the first track “Down The Zydeco Road” and has since to let go. I always feel the test of a good album is how many times you listen to it without tiring of it. Well my friends, this recording has not disappointed me. I admit I’ve played it at least 50 times (I received an advance studio copy) and it’s still one of my tops picks in my CD collection. It’s simply fun to listen to and I discover something new every time I listen to it. With a rich mix of instruments in their arsenal, The BluesBox Bayou Band weaves a highly textured musical fabric for listeners to enjoy.

The new album includes a mix of covers and original songs. The opening track “Down The Zydeco Road” is an upbeat celebration of Louisiana culture with an infectious rhythm, solid guitar riffs and harmonious back up vocals. As a matter of fact, one thing I enjoy about this album is that Grimaldi has played up the use of his band mates in the back up vocal tracks which adds another dimension to his songs and begs to have the audience join in chorus.

Cover songs include: “Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You”, “Stay a Little Longer”, “I’m Coming Home”, “Crawfish”, “Another Saturday Night”, “Blue Bayou” and a live version of “Allons Dancer Le Mardi Gras” recorded last year at Eagles Hall in Modesto California.

BluesBox originals include “Down the Zydeco Road”, “Acadian Sky”, “Everyday Feels Like Sunday”, “Rock a ‘Bayou” and “This Dog is Cryin’”.

The haunting “Acadian Sky” is a masterwork. It reminds me of an Irish folk song and Grimaldi's voice reincarnates the gritty vocal stylings of Joe Strummer. Grimaldi laments in his lyrics “Separation is hard when your young and in love, harsh circumstances will change. But when you’re torn from your home and told never to return you’ll always want what you never can have.” This song paints a picture of a melancholy-romanticized south in the listeners mind. You can actually smell the Acacia trees and feel the pain of tortured souls as you sway to-and-fro with your drinking buddies. “Everyday Feels Like Sunday” is a certified hit, probably the most commercially viable song on the album in my opinion. Julie Johnson is spot on with a heavy bass track, Frank Grimaldi shows off his rockabilly guitar riffs honed over years of practice and Jimi Hildrith hits the rub board like a possessed demon after too much coffee. “Rock a ‘Bayou” is a fast-paced instrumental piece with Grimaldi adding his signature Cajun “shout-outs” and stands out as a really a fun song that I’m sure it will be a hit with fans at their live concerts. “This Dawg is Cryin” was inspired by Hurricane Katrina and pays homage to struggles of the people of the Gulf Coast. This bluesy song also makes good use of Frank Grimaldi’s guitar talents.

This is a band that should be on your radar and definitely seen in concert. They have proved to be consistent, persistent and inspired. I look forward to many years of being entertained by them and remain grateful that they, and others, are kee - By: Jaime Tafoya


Discography

To date the Blues Box Bayou Band have released four CD recordings, “Rockin’ Bayou Band”, “Big Fun”, Roadside Attraction, and their new release “Rock a’Bayou”. Available on line at CD Baby, Digstation, Itunes and other outlets. Check out our upcoming 2010 schedule at http://thebluesbox.net/ and pick up your very own signed copy at one of these events throughout the summer season!

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Bio

This is NOT your mama’s accordion band!... The excellent “New Orleans style” reputation of The BluesBox Bayou Band has gotten around... starting out performing at high school spaghetti feeds in 1996, they began working the Mother Lode hotel / bar circuit to become one of the most popular dance / festival bands in the region. With several personal changes over the years the gumbos really cookin’ when Pete Grimaldi, accordionist, vocals and songwriter team up with multi-talented bass player, Julie Johnson and former "Mayor" and Louisiana resident, Jimi Hildreth on the rub board. Adding guitar veteran Frank Grimaldi and drummer Mike Farris, The BBBB produces a tight and powerful Cajun / zydeco swamp beat style no one can sit still to. Upcoming 2010 appearance at the Long Beach Crawfish Festival, they have expanded their fan base throughout California at dance halls like the Ashkenaz in Berkeley, Little Switzerland, Sonoma and venues such as Ironstone Amphitheater, American Music Fest Brookings OR and the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee.