Named for a Louisiana swamp fish, the Bluerunners are essentially a Cajun rock & roll group; except when they play traditional Cajun music, or the blues, or funk. They seem to defy any attempt to pigeonhole their music. They have been likened to Los Lobos, except the language they sing in is French instead of Spanish.
A look at the French names of the founders of the group gives a clue to their identity: Steven Le Blanc and Mark Meaux. Those surnames are about as Cajun as they come, and their hometown of Lafayette, LA, is the hub of the Cajun country of Southwestern Louisiana. Many of the band's tunes are sung in French. Some are traditional Cajun songs, such as the "Ossun 2 Step." But most material is written by Meaux or Le Blanc. You can hear their heritage in the music, but there is also something new and different at play. It's not so much what they sing about as the way they sing it. The best way to understand their unique and eclectic sound is simply to play it.
Other bandmembers are Will Golden, Adrian Huval, Cal Stevenson, and Chris Courville. Past members included Frank Kincel and Bennie Hasha. The group's eponymous CD came out in 1991. It contains good, danceable music, for in Cajun country, if you can't dance to the music, you might as well drop your record in the murky waters of the closest bayou and hope the alligators eat it.
The rapid musical maturation of the Bluerunners shows on their second release, The Chateau Chuck, recorded in 1996. They rock full force in an interplay of traditional Cajun instruments such as the fiddle and triangle, set off by wailing saxophone and steel guitar. The result is some real fine dance music, such as "Burn Up the Night."
To the Country came out in 1998. The Bluerunners' sound is by now a distinctly recognizable mix of traditional and avant-garde, not just on separate cuts, but even within one piece. The tune "Landslide" shows their frenetic skill at hybridization, with acoustic fiddle trading out with electric steel guitar. At the other end of the spectrum is "Au Bout Du Chemin" and "The Longest Day." Never boring, the music just gets better and better.
The Bluerunners released another CD in 2001, entitled Le Grand Bleu. Steve Le Blanc, who is no longer a regular member of the group, appears on this recording, playing both mandolin and fiddle. He is joined by Cajun soul brother Michael Doucet, and Mark Meaux, to work some real fiddle magic, while Huval supplies eloquent accordion. The slide work of Sonny Landreth and guest druming of Russ Broussard add more special touches. The saxophone and steel guitar of Golden, Stevenson's bass, and the drums of Courville round out the hot dance sound. From "Tout Ca Qui Reste" to "On and On," this is a first-rate effort that shows the Bluerunners at their best, which is very good indeed. ~ Rose of Sharon Witmer