Class Acts

Locals with stories worth telling – as told by ULL journalism students
alison moon photograph
Ed. Note: These essays are provided with the cooperation of Robert Buckman|!!| Ph.D|!!| Associate Professor|!!| ULL Communications Department.

“I knew I had to have something to do with feel-good music. The whole soul music just makes me feel good. It’s what I want to write; it’s what I want to do.”

Lance Boston, Musician
By Wynce Nolley

    Lance Boston’s outlook is pretty simple: He wants to play music, and he will do anything to put what is in his soul into people’s hearts. His concern isn’t about fame, money or even recognition – it’s about him expressing his art whenever and however he wants.

     “I don’t think of my music as any better or any worse than anybody else’s,” Boston, 23, says. “I just think it’s really all the same. I’m not really, like, a money-hungry person to get my stuff and only my stuff out there. I’m willing to help and collaborate with other artists. So I think that that allows me to just take time, and plus, I realize – I didn’t realize this before because I’m still young in it – but it helps the music to just grow instead of just putting out things really, really fast.”

    Recently he accompanied Grammy-nominated Cedric Watson et Bijou Créole (see profile, p. 44) on a tour in California. He attributes this unique experience to the decision he made to push back the release of his self-titled album from last summer to this fall.

     “You hear it in the music,” he says with a note of nostalgia in his voice. “Time just really does something to the music. Your soul grows, and then the music grows with it. I realized when I got back to the studio and was working on some of my own stuff, some different stuff, it came off as more folk. It was very, very folk and traditional but still with the soul influences.”

    Boston, a native of Pineville, says his affinity for and appreciation of music began when he was a child and would dance to James Brown, the Temptations, Sammy Davis Jr. and other soul music.

     “Something about the horns would just get me,” he recalls. “I knew I had to have something to do with feel-good music. The whole soul music just makes me feel good. It’s what I want to write; it’s what I want to do.”

    The catalyst for his jump from just listening to music to actually playing it was his Uncle Alvin, who taught him how to play blues chords on a red Fender Stratocaster guitar. Boston also extemporizes the bass guitar, clarinet, violin and piano.

    Boston’s uncle, who at age 15 left his hometown of Colfax to join James Brown’s road crew, became an even greater influence on the budding musician when Boston inherited an autographed photo of James Brown with the inscription, “To Alvin, it was fun playing with you,” after his uncle’s passing last year.

    “He was definitely the first one to fuel the fire as far as me playing, as far as me getting somewhere and wanting to play, wanting a red Stratocaster,” Boston says with a soulfully smooth voice as vintage as one of his prized Marvin Gaye records.

    In addition to his “sophisticated soul” style of music, Boston is also doing all of the mixing, advertising, writing and designing for the album himself, which is why he has to be circumspect in its creation and execution.

    “As an artist, I really want to find some shelf life,” Boston says. “In my view, it’s not about the whole culture or the whole scene or whatever the case may be. I’m just doing it to hopefully help people in some way. It’s weird, but I like to call myself, like, a prophet or a teacher or a psychologist.”

    Boston has performed at the Heartland Cafe and the Windy City Café in Chicago; the House of Java in Alexandria; and The Brass Room, Artmosphere, Caffé Cottage, Bisbano’s and Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette.

    Once his self-titled album is released, Boston said he plans on visiting Philadelphia, Chicago and New York and is hoping to line up shows in Los Angeles and Las Vegas after he is finished forming his band.

    Boston’s talents are not limited to just singing and songwriting, however. He has also worked for indie film company Maxim Entertainment, has appeared in the film Macumba and taught music lessons. He is a classically trained dancer and performed a show of dance styles at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

    Boston is currently a senior at ULL majoring in music composition; he plans to graduate in December 2011. Boston graduated in 2006 from Pineville High School, a magnet arts school where he majored in drums; he also played clarinet in his high school’s band and orchestra.

    Boston has also helped jazz pianist Pearson Cross of Lafayette record and mix his demo and says he hopes he can collaborate on material with Cross in the near future.

    “I think he’s a fine example of the dedicated and innovative students that the music composition program is producing,” says Cross, whose “day job” is heading the political science department at ULL. “I had an opportunity to work with Lance on a project, and I was pleased with how it came out and thought he had a great attitude. It’s a tough business, but he seems to be very self-directed and have what it takes to succeed. It was a pleasure to work with him.”

    Boston also has an altruistic side: “When the album comes out, I’m actually looking to donate a lot of money to St. Jude’s Hospital [for Children, in Memphis, Tenn.]  – for every album I sell, $2 would go to St. Jude’s.”

    Boston confides his one fear about the album coming out is the chance that it could fall off the shelf and leave him as just another momentary fad.

    “[Major] labels can put out a crappy song, and they’ll have you with this one-hit wonder, and then you wonder ‘Where did they go?’” Boston muses. “Just imagine if one person does it on his own, without a major label, and one person directs all his own paths. If you direct yourself where you want to be and you are the mastermind behind a hit, then you’ll gain much more respect and you’ll get that shelf life without the crutch of a major label.”
    Boston says the album has taken its own path but has developed a unique theme that he himself didn’t expect. It is taking its own toll on itself, he says.

    “You know you have that thing inside of you that you’re destined to be or accomplish that just drives you more than anything?” he says. “This is what drives me, the feel-good music.” •

 

“People will say when they meet me, ‘Wow, you seem awfully normal to be writing these books!’”

Erica Spindler, Writer
By Nicole Rogers

   Writing a suspense novel often calls for writers to delve into the world of the sick and twisted. This complete immersion allows writers to be entirely lost in a world they have yet to create.

    Suspense writer Erica Spindler tucks herself away at a family lake house in Jackson, Miss., in order to enter her suspense-driven worlds, but she also has another gift she says she believes is the source of her talent.

    “People will say when they meet me, ‘Wow, you seem awfully normal to be writing these books!’” Spindler says. “And I realized at one point it was just this dark gift, that I have a way of looking at the world and listening to a story and spinning it into the worst-case scenario.

    “The first time I realized it, we were renovating our house in New Orleans before we ever had kids, and my husband was up there pounding the board upside down. And I’m watching him, and I just imagined him losing his grip on this big board and it comes crashing down and it hitting him in the head and blood flying and me screaming. It’s like, ‘Why do you think these things?’ I know it’s the dark gift.”

    Spindler is the New York Times best-selling novelist of Breakneck, Copycat, Killer Takes All, See Jane Die, In Silence, Bone Cold and All Fall Down. Breakneck is also an international best-seller.

    Spindler is modest when asked if she ever thought she would become a New York Times best-selling author, replying, “Once I was really in publishing and had published a lot of books, then you start hoping and wishing and praying. It’s something you work for, but gosh, no, not at all.”

    Although Spindler says she did not expect to grace the best-seller list with her presence, her assistant has an idea on how Spindler achieved the goal.

    “The best part of Erica’s work is the characters she creates,” says Evelyn Marshall, Spindler’s assistant for two years. “In a few lines, you feel like you understand them. She pinpoints just the right details to bring them to life.”
    Spindler was not always a writer, though. Before she was “bitten by the writing bug,” she earned her bachelor’s degree in art from Delta State University in Mississippi and her master’s in art from the University of New Orleans.
    Spindler met her husband – whose name she doesn’t disclose – at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill., before heading to Delta State University. Then, a trip to New Orleans got both her husband and her ensnared in a cultural web of fascination, which ultimately led to her family becoming denizens of the New Orleans area.

    “My husband and I traveled to New Orleans to see the King Tut exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art,” Spindler says. “Without advance tickets, we had a choice: spend our day waiting in line or sightseeing. We chose the latter and fell head over heels in love with the city and have been in the area ever since.”

    After attending the University of New Orleans, Spindler was an art professor at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond from 1982 to 1988.

    In June 1982, Spindler came down with a cold. Most colds are insignificant, but this particular sickness led Spindler to the local pharmacy for some medicine. The cashier dropped a romance novel into her bag, and that proved to be the catalyst for her career as a writer. This one novel would press the power button on Spindler’s writing machine.

    Spindler says she does not remember the title of the novel because she did not know then that it would be “informative” for her life.

    Asked why she became a writer other than her fortuitous encounter with a cold, Spindler says her writing was also driven by “a love of reading. I was always a tremendous reader. [I was] one of those kids that was under the covers with the flashlight and I was supposed to be going to sleep on a school night.”

    Spindler began writing category romance novels following her bout of sniffles but was soon hungry for something more in-depth than a love story. Her first breakout suspense novel, Red, made an international leap, which soon led to the words being lifted from the pages and translated into a television series. Red was made into a daytime television show in Japan, as well as into a graphic novel.

    “The publisher started pursuing international venues for publication,” Spindler says, “and someone in Japan saw it, read it and wanted to turn it into this graphic novel. First, it was serialized in a women’s magazine over the course of, like, 35 weeks. Then, it was so popular that they turned it into books. And then they turned it into a daytime drama.”

    Asked if she ever watched the show, Spindler’s mouth moves into a smile that lightly paints soft wrinkles on each side of her eyes.

    “I’ve watched a little of it,” Spindler says. “It was a hoot. It was very, very funny because the book starts out in the Mississippi Gulf and then goes to Southern California. And this started out in rural Japan and then moved on to Tokyo, and it was all in Japanese. It was very different.

    “They sent me there [Japan] for a tour. When the daytime drama came out, they re-released the book, and they sent me over there to tour. It was really great. It was probably the most exciting and interesting thing that happened to me in my career – and the most unexpected. I mean, who expects that?”

    Although Spindler says she is sticking with suspense, she concedes that she added some romance back into in her latest published novel, Blood Vines.

    “I’m kind of doing a little bit of a turnaround, and I did a little bit with Blood Vines,” she says. “The books have gotten much more CSI, and with Blood Vines I purposefully pulled back, and I added a romance again. So it’s a subplot. The main plot is the mystery – the suspense part – but there was the subplot of the romance again.”

    Spindler says her stories, including Blood Vines, were ignited by her own real-life experiences, in this case a trip to wine country.

    “We went out to Napa Valley for the first time,” she says. “It was just gorgeous. We were there in February when the vines are all dormant, and it was like these rolling hills of twisted, bent crosses. It looked like graveyards. It was like a cemetery to me.

    “We were at a winery, and the vintner said, ‘What do you do?’ And I told him. He said, ‘Oh, you know, there’s a lot of ways you can kill a person in the wine-making process.’ So for me that was like – cha-ching!”

    For her research, Spindler visits the places where her books are set. She has spun tales set in her home state of Illinois as well as in the Crescent City.

    “New Orleans is a great place,” she says. “The South is a great place to set a book because there’s so much atmosphere. The culture’s fascinating. New Orleans, particularly, just has so much atmosphere, and it’s such an interesting city, and people like to read about it. It’s unique.”

    Spindler’s next project, Watch Me Die, is set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and has a release date of June 21.

    “The main character is a stained-glass restoration artist who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, including her husband,” Spindler says. “Her entire life is blown to bits. She spent the last six years kind of piecing the windows back together – and her life. Then, at the opening of the story, someone comes into her life that’s going to blow it to bits again.”

    Like most of her story ideas, this one came from personal experience: Spindler came up with it after reading a Sept. 19, 2009, article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

    “It was a little clip about a stained-glass restoration artist and the work she did and what it was like after Katrina when all these windows were blown to bits,” Spindler recalls. “She talked about how being a restoration artist is kind of like being a detective because you have some of the pieces but not all the pieces, and you have to fit them together, and you have to maintain historical integrity of what you’re restoring.”

    Spindler says she actually got in touch with the woman in the article, Cindy Courage of Attenhofer’s Stained Glass Studio in New Orleans, and used her story as part of her research for the novel.

    Although Spindler is a full-time writer, she says she is delving back into her art roots.

    “I’m kind of getting back into it in a hobbyish kind of way,” she says. “It’s fun. I don’t even have enough time to do what I want to do. It would be fun to do a little bit every weekend, but I don’t really have that much time. It’s interesting because they’re really quite awful. They’re just silly little things. I’m not pursuing it academically or professionally.”

    Her right brain apparently augments her overflow of creative juices. Spindler may channel some of that leftover energy to dip her paintbrush now and again, but she says she has found her raison d’être in writing: “I wanted to try my hand at writing one [a novel]. The moment I did, I knew I had found my true calling. Goodbye, paint and brushes; hello, pen and keyboard.” •

 

“I always thought it was smarter to have a day job. Of course, the goal is always to get away from the day job and do this for a living.”

Brandon Hebert, Writer
By Theresa Rose Mayard

    Writing and publishing a first novel is like a trek through a minefield of rejection that takes years of dedication, determination and luck, but one Abbeville resident has leaped over the obstacles and prevailed.

    Brandon Hebert, who spends his days working as an offshore regulatory consultant, published his first novel, My Own Worst Enemy, in December 2009. It was recently named to Kirkus Reviews’ 2010 Best Debut Fiction list.

    “I always thought it was smarter to have a day job,” Hebert says. “Of course, the goal is always to get away from the day job and do this for a living.”

    In My Own Worst Enemy, published by Five Star, burglar Jack Murray is arrested after a home break-in gone awry in Coral Gables, Fla., while his partner, Rudy Naxa, runs free. After spending a year and a day in jail, Murray decides to break free of the criminal life. When a Miami mob boss makes him the owner of a strip club, he meets Miranda Mendoza, an undercover FBI agent posing as a stripper. After a run-in with Naxa, Murray flees his past life. Throughout the novel, Murray and Mendoza move closer together, and although they both know the relationship is doomed, they fall in love.

    Although the novel is about an ex-criminal and an uncover agent, Hebert says its focus is not the crime. “It is about relationships more than anything,” he says. “The crime is just a good backdrop because it allows the drama to come out.”

    Hebert, 37, laughs when asked if his novel was based on his real life. He says although he never had experiences like that, he has taken the personalities of people in his life to form his main characters. Hebert, however, could have written a book about his life, which has been a race that has taken him searching around the world and then brought him back to the starting line.

    Hebert, born and raised in Abbeville, graduated from Teurlings Catholic High School in Lafayette. After graduation, he joined the Navy. At 17, he was working in naval intelligence.

    “In common terms, I was a spy – it wasn’t that exciting; I assure you,” Hebert says, laughing. “There’s a James Bond side to it, but I never saw it.”

    During his four years of service, Hebert lived on the West Coast and lived and traveled in Japan. After his time in the military, he enrolled at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with a concentration in media advertising in 1999.

    With a recommendation from a former professor, Hebert moved to Washington, D.C., and worked as an analyst for a litigation consultant. After 10 years, Hebert returned to Abbeville. He says that although he enjoyed Washington, he felt it necessary to return home.

    “Washington has a lot to offer young folks, but I was getting kind of homesick more than anything,” Hebert recalls. “After traveling all over the country – all over the world – I ended back here. I ended up back where I started.”

    Hebert says he does not read much fiction but instead prefers nonfiction about the Cold War and World War II. When he does read fiction, he enjoys works by Elmore Leonard, James Ellroy and Ernest Hemingway.
    “He is by far and away my greatest influence,” Hebert says of Leonard. “He’s considered one of America’s greatest crime fiction writers.”

    And although he admits that it’s a cliché, he says that Hemingway also has been a major influence: He likes Hemingway’s precise writing style and tries to emulate it in his works.

    “I like brevity,” he says. “I like to leave out portions readers like to skip. Why say something in 800 pages when you can say it in 300 pages?”

    Hebert is hesitant to call publishing a book a dream of his. He draws an analogy between a writer and a singer, saying people must have the right aptitude and love for the work if they want to succeed in either profession.
    “I always thought it was something I could be good at, but it’s not something I banked my entire life on,” he says.

    Hebert says he gave himself a five-year plan when he finally decided to write a novel. He didn’t know how far he would get in five years, but he planned to have something positive and tangible to show for it. During those years, Hebert wrote and published short stories, worked on his novel and eventually found an agent in Connecticut.
    “So, you know, at the end of seven years, I finished my five-year plan,” he quips.

    Hebert’s agent, Jack Ryan, says: “What drew us to Brandon, besides his talent for smart and realistic dialogue delivered by memorable and finely honed characters, was his ability to keep the plot coherent while consistently delivering a constant stream of plot twists and surprises. The other attribute he has is that he uses these talents from beginning to end in both novels.”

    Ryan’s first contact with Hebert was via Internet, as is the case with most of his clients. He says Hebert’s characters were the first thing that impressed him.

    “Since we’re a small literary agency, we’re pretty selective about who we choose to represent,” he says. “Rarely, if ever, do we become impressed with an author who compares his or her writing to that of another published writer – and Brandon never did that. However, a writer for Kirkus Reviews did compare him to Elmore Leonard, which is a compliment that, from my point of view, is well-deserved.

    “Apart from Brandon’s talent as a writer, I think he’s a fine person, and I enjoy working with him. Also, I’ve found him to be exceptionally cooperative and knowledgeable about the publishing process. He’s every agent’s dream client, plus he knows a great deal about how to promote his work, an invaluable asset in book- marketing these days.”

    Hebert’s aunt, Sybil Hebert, says he has had an affinity for writing stories since he was 10 and that she always knew he’d be successful.

    “His short stories [as a child] developed from James Bond movies or wrestling matches or whatever he was interested in at the time,” she recalls. “I always thought that one day he would have a novel with his name on it.”

    Hebert, who is the first published author in his family, says he plans to pen more novels and already has works in progress. Because he has an aptitude for the genre, he says he will probably continue to write thriller and mystery novels but, despite his agent’s recommendations, does not plan to write a series.

    Hebert is currently working on his second manuscript, The Buddy System, which is a thriller set in New Orleans. He hopes for a 2012 release date.

    Hebert feels lucky his publication process took only three years and everything fell into place at the right time. Others out there, he says, might not get the opportunity.

    “Stay dedicated,” advises Hebert, his amber eyes passionately glinting. “Writing the book is the easy part. Perseverance is the most important thing. It’s a lot of sitting around and waiting to see if you get accepted. I could wallpaper the walls of my house with the rejection letters I’ve gotten over the years. It’s discouraging, but you have to persevere.

    “Any of these people are no more talented than you or anyone else that might have a book in them,” Hebert says, motioning to the bookshelves in Barnes & Noble. As he speaks, he punctuates with hand bangs on the table. “The most important thing is discipline. It’s a matter of discipline to sit down and do it!” •

 

“My grandma, she bought me a guitar when I was 16 so that I would start playing to get familiar with music…”

Cedric Watson, Musician
By Hope Rurik

    Cajun and zydeco music are unique genres in the American landscape because of their sound, their history and their continued significance to two groups displaced from their homelands into the bayous of Louisiana: the Cajuns and the Creoles. One man straddles the two genres.

    Texas-born Cedric Watson, now a four-time Grammy nominee, is seemingly an outsider in this landscape, but he is reviving l’ésprit Créole (the Creole spirit).

    In what would prove to be a propitious gig, at last year’s Festival International de Louisiane’s Rhythms and Roots series at Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette, Watson et Bijou Créole appeared along with Morikeba Kouyate of Senegal. The two alternated, imitating and complementing each other’s instruments through a series of traditional West African and zydeco tunes.

    “We’re bringing the roots back into zydeco right here at the Blue Moon!” Watson shouted into the crowd, which only seemed to gain energy as the clock ticked into the morning.

    The crowd found room to dance, partnered, in a venue that went from standing-room-only to good-luck-breathing in the span of only a few songs. Parts of the set were recorded and are featured on Creole Moon: Live from the Blue Moon Saloon, Watson et Bijou Créole’s most recent Grammy-nominated record.

    “Bringing back the roots” was not only Watson’s mantra for that balmy evening but also has been his goal since he began playing zydeco as a teenager in San Felipe, Texas.

    “A lot of people think I mix my music with African music and stuff like that, but it’s not really true,” insists Watson, 26, explaining that he isn’t adding any sound that wasn’t already there. “We were separated from the African part, and it was washed out of us. The only thing we have to tap into that part of our spirits is music.”
    Watson discovered zydeco as a 7-year-old on his family’s Texas trail rides but didn’t find his own love for it until he was 13. He then set his sights on playing the music.

    “My grandma, she bought me a guitar when I was 16 so that I would start playing to get familiar with music,” Watson says. “I really wanted a fiddle, but she couldn’t find one that she could afford. She said I could learn chords, and then we could get me a fiddle if we found one.”

    At 18, once he had mastered a host of rock, blues and zydeco tunes on the guitar, he laid his hands on his first fiddle – a $75 model from Musician’s Friend.

    “I wanted it so bad and loved it so much,” Watson says, “that it came out of me as soon as I got the instrument and was able to scratch out these sounds that I’d heard. It wasn’t even hard.”

    Watson immediately began composing songs the best way he knew how in the style and language in which he had immersed himself.

    “I would buy blank tapes, and when I would come down to Louisiana, I would listen to this station that was coming out of Jennings at the time,” Watson recalls. “On the weekends, the commercials were all in French and the DJs spoke all in French, and I would record all these commercials and the music and take it home and listen to it – even [to] the zydeco stations we had out of Houston only on the weekends. I would record all of them.”

    Watson frequently tuned in to Houston radio station KPFT for J.B. Adams’ zydeco show. Watson eventually spoke to Adams directly and told him he had a zydeco band. Adams then invited Watson to a jam at the Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club in Houston.

    “He said: ‘Man, you play the fiddle. You know, there aren’t too many black Creole fiddlers still playing zydeco and things like that,’” recalls Watson of Adams. “Whenever he explained it is when I really started to see how important it was and that the black Creole style of fiddling was almost dead.”

    In a culture in which musicianship is passed down like family heirlooms, Adams, along with Edward Poullard, helped to grandfather Watson in.

    “I call them my musical parrains [Cajun French for godfathers],” Watson says. “If it wasn’t for those two people, I probably wouldn’t even be playing right now at this level. They encouraged me a lot in the beginning to learn all these old traditional tunes that no one really plays. They always led me in the right direction.”

    Between the two zydeco veterans, Watson met countless other Louisiana artists who would become his peers: “They introduced me to a lot of musicians like Goldman Thibodeaux and Dexter Ardoin, Mitch Reed, Blake Miller, Courtney Granger. We all met when I was still living in Texas and I would come down and jam and things like that.”

    Watson teamed up with his parrains to form the band Les Amis Creoles (The Creole Friends). By 2004, he was playing and traveling with Ardoin. As he began playing more frequently in Louisiana, he decided to move the summer of that year.

    In 2007, Watson was the sole black face in the Pine Leaf Boys, a Cajun band, and received his first Grammy nomination for its album Blues de Musicien.

    Moving to Louisiana allowed Watson to master another element of his music that he gives away in the rolls of his R’s as he rattles off the names of his peers: “It took me awhile to speak French. What really did it was moving here. In Texas, I knew a few people that spoke French. My uncle, he knew some bad words, and his wife could speak Creole. Moving here, I could be surrounded by French and a lot of the young people spoke it. I could socialize with people my age and speak French, and it was like the thing to do, and it was cool.”

    Watson writes his music in Creole French and has done so since he began composing.

    “I’m really proud of Cedric for what he’s doing and just preserving the Creole language, which is one of his main goals,” says Chris Stafford, guitarist for Bijou Créole.

    With the language comes one of the components that makes Watson an exception to today’s standards of zydeco.
    “I’ve heard zydeco described as the accordion played by James Brown while Cajun is accordion played by Hank Williams,” says Herman Fuselier, host of Zydeco Stomp on Lafayette’s National Public Radio affiliate, KRVS. “Zydeco has more of an R&B sound and now has hip-hop influences, also. With the exception of Geno [Delafose] and Cedric, it’s played almost 100 percent in English.”

    In attempting to revive and preserve the traditions of a craft that is held dear by South Louisianians, Watson has come up against his fair share of scrutiny as a Texan.

    “For the most part, everybody loves our music, but you have some people – I call them ‘zyde-Nazis’ – who approach you and think there should be this pure way, but it’s always been an evolving style, and everyone does it the way they do it,” Watson says. “We try to keep with the French language and the Creole in our music, and we mix in a lot of polyrhythms. It might make it sound a little different, but it’s still two-steppable.”

    In contrast to the “zyde-Nazis,” Valcour Records co-founder and producer Joel Savoy of Eunice attributes part of Watson’s impact to his unique vantage point.

    “When someone from the outside comes in who’s tasteful and creative, he can breathe new life into the traditions,” he says. “Cedric’s re-creating zydeco by going back to the beginnings.”

    Although a small number of Acadiana denizens might question the musicianship of the fiddler, accordionist and vocalist, there is no denying his Grammy nominations. After Blues de Musicien, Watson was nominated for his albums Cedric Watson, L’Esprit Créole and Creole Moon.

    He also has traveled from the East Coast to more than 10 other countries, including Canada, France and Spain – all in the course of only six years.

    “I just can’t get this trip to France out of my head,” Watson says. “We left at about 5 or 6 in the morning, got there at 2 in the afternoon and played a gig around 4 or 5 and then caught a flight out at 8 in the morning.”

    His fast-paced life is something he says he never imagined while playing in the San Felipe countryside, and he says he is still adjusting to the business side. 

    “I’m just doing it and letting it go and trying to figure out how to be more independent in the things I do,” he says. “You can’t ever slow a musician down. I was born to be a bird.”
 

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