Just as the post-holiday blues and the prospect of four or five more months of bleak mid-winter raise their ugly maw, a welcome ray of peppery Cajun sunshine arrives in the guise of Beausoleil, with the dawn of the new year marking 35 years as the best Cajun band on land, sea, or bayou. There's been some tinkering with the band's name over the years. It's now officially "BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet," the "s" having ballooned into a capital after an epidemic of people erroneously calling the band Beaujolais, apparently after consuming too many bottles of it. (FYI: The band was named after Acadian resistance leader Joseph Broussard, whose nickname was Beausoleil.) The "avec MD" was tacked on despite its essential redundancy, since sans Michael Doucet the band wouldn't exist, regardless of many valuable contributions from his bandmates, particularly his guitarist bro David. Anyway, Beausoleil (it's tough to break old habits) arrive in the land of the wind-chill factor on the heels of yet another Grammy nomination, this time for last spring's Alligator Purse (Yep Roc), one of their most eclectic albums. Going way back to his days with Coteau, Doucet's always been interested in progressively stretching Cajun music, even at the same time pursuing traditional orthodoxy. So AP covers icons Dennis McGee and Amédéé Ardoin, but also ventures into Creole jazz and swamp pop, wanders to the Caribbean, covers J.J. Cale and Julie Miller, and even does a French version of Bob Dylan's version of Muddy Waters's "Rollin' and Tumblin'." Maybe that flying capital S stands for Superman, or, better yet, Supergroup.
Sat., Jan. 2, 7 p.m., 2010