Beginning around age 13, Courtney Granger started singing in bars. Performing in such a mature environment revealed some of life’s more surreptitious moments. But Granger’s voice belied his age. A descendent of The Balfa Brothers, his Cajun heritage and the legacy of the region’s music wove themselves into his singing.
“The vocals come from the heart and come from the soul and come from their toes,” he says, describing the particular style of Cajun singing. “It’s just so powerful and emotional.”
Granger’s new solo album “Beneath Still Waters,” is a tribute to country and folk musicians who shaped him, including George Jones, Waylon Jennings, and Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard. In fact, the duo’s “Don’t Put Her Down You Helped Put Her There” leads off the project, and Gerrard contributed harmonies to complement Granger’s part. The two didn’t record together in the same studio, but he still remembers first hearing what she’d sent him.
“When we got the recording back, me and Dirk Powell, the producer, just sat in the studio and cried,” he says. “And we listened to it probably 20 times, and cried the same way 20 times. It was so powerful what she did.”
Granger went solo for this latest project, but still sings with the Pine Leaf Boys and keeps to the traditions that beat through his blood. Carrying on the mantle of The Balfa Brothers, among other Cajun musicians, might be intimidating to another musician, but Granger takes it all in stride.
“I don’t let my legacy make me nervous, or feel that I have to uphold some sort of standard,” he says. “I just do what comes from my heart, and hope that they’d be proud.”
Favorite place to catch live music? Blue Moon Saloon here in Lafayette always has great music from all over the place. Great atmosphere.
Favorite restaurant? I love sushi, so any place where they have good sushi, I’m in!
Favorite place to explore nature? I love walking through the state parks here in Louisiana. Chicot State Park in Ville Platte has always been my favorite to just walk the trails.