Wayne Toups has always played a sort of gumbo music, mixing in blues, zydeco, R&B, rock & roll, and even Western swing to a base of traditional Cajun waltzes and two-steps, all done with the kind of electrifying dynamics that make him a natural live performer, and his shows brim with rock stagecraft, earning him the title of "the Bruce Springsteen ...Read MoreWayne Toups has always played a sort of gumbo music, mixing in blues, zydeco, R&B, rock & roll, and even Western swing to a base of traditional Cajun waltzes and two-steps, all done with the kind of electrifying dynamics that make him a natural live performer, and his shows brim with rock stagecraft, earning him the title of "the Bruce Springsteen of Cajun." On Whoever Said It Was Easy, his second album for Shanachie Records, it is obvious that Toups has every intention of adding new country to his list of gumbo ingredients, and songs like "Man in the Mirror" and "Hole in My Heart" wouldn't sound a bit out of place on contemporary country radio sandwiched between the hat acts. The thing to remember about Toups is that he isn't, and has never been, a traditionalist, and his mission is a populist one, so dropping heavy country elements into the stew makes perfect sense if what you're after is a broad demographic and a road show that is the greatest Cajun dancehall on wheels. Not that the Cajun strain doesn't peak through on this record ("The Ring That Shines" is a beautiful and wonderful Cajun waltz), but it seems a shame to keep Toups in the Cajun/zydeco niche when he assimilates so much more into his sound. "Leap of Faith" is a case in point. Featuring Stanley "Buckwheat Zydeco" Dural, the song is full-tilt gospel revival music, and while the accordion pins it in Louisiana, the fervor is pure Alabama Baptist. This album probably isn't the one that will break Toups to the masses, however, although it's a step closer to what passes for the center these days, and he is a natural to cross over to the country market eventually. If the programmers at country radio are smart (which has never been definitively proven), then a couple of these tunes would be added to the play list immediately because this musician's time is coming. Nobody said it would be easy. ~ Steve Leggett, RoviRead Less
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