Kelley Breiding, left, and Martha Spencer at Savoy Music Center (photo: Jo Vidrine [Freelance Cajun])
A landmark on Highway 190 in Eunice, La., Savoy Music Center, which is owned and operated by the legendary Cajun musician and accordion maker Marc Savoy, has staged Saturday morning acoustic Cajun music jam sessions for so long that no one remembers when they began.
But Monday night the store launched a concert series at what has been since 1966, “the Home of the Acadian [brand] Accordion.”
“It was packed!” says Ann Savoy, Marc’s wife and herself a renowned Cajun musician—not to mention author, historian, and mother of esteemed Cajun musicians and artists Joel, Wilson, Sarah and Gabrielle Savoy.
“We served coffee and cokes, and it was bring-your-own wine,” says Savoy. “We filled the place up good for a week night with maybe 75 people, and didn’t charge anything—there weren’t enough seats. But we asked for a $10 donation and everyone chipped in.”
The concert showcased Kelley Breiding and Martha Spencer, two young but established North Carolina old-time acoustic artists.
“They’re musical virtuosos on banjo, fiddle, guitar and harmony singing on traditional songs with a few originals thrown in,” says Savoy. “They’re on tour and played in Austin and were on their way back--and asked Joel if he could set up a house concert. He said, ‘Sure. We can do it at my dad’s store!’”
Savoy notes that many people come through Eunice to record at Joel’s Valcour Records [label] studio, “and besides, there’s all this amazing talent down here—so why not use the store and give the locals and [nearby] Lafayette people something to do? We’ve got a group of good friends in Lafayette, and all kinds of people from all over come here to visit. But there’s not a whole lot to do for young people here in Eunice.”
So Savoy Music Center now looks to stage concerts once a month.
“Joel’s in charge,” says Savoy. “He’s asked [Grammy-winning Tejano band] Los Texmaniacs and they said they would play.”
Meanwhile, the Saturday morning jams are now being streamed on Savoy Music Center’s Facebook page.
“We just started doing it last Saturday,” says Savoy. “The camera wasn’t in the right place because we didn’t have a long enough extension chord!”
But she promises that will be rectified come this Saturday, so “you can be there, and not be there!”
Ann and Marc Savoy at Savoy Music Center (photo: Jo Vidrine [Freelance Cajun])