A Brief History…
Jamey Bearb is normally known as a fiddle player and vocalist, in the 4Horses, he is featured on Accordion and vocals. Accordion is actually the first instrument he learned from his dad Ricky Bearb. The talent of playing musical instruments has been passed down from many generations in his family. Jamey’s dad Ricky played Accordion, his grandfather Ernest played fiddle, and great grandfather Pierre played Accordion as well. On accordion Jamey has recorded as a special guest on recordings for Rufus Thibodeaux, Tony Thibodeaux, Vin Bruce, and Camey Doucet. But this time Jamey gets to play the songs that Cajun music fans have requested him to record again and again. And also the huge honor of not only recording a new song written by the legendary Belton Richard but also to compose the music. Jamey would like to dedicate this album in memory of Randy Falcon, and Yvonne Bart.
Kevin Dugas is the son of Nolan and Geraldine Dugas and has been exposed to Cajun Music his entire life. At an early age, he began playing drums with several Cajun bands until he joined the legendary Belton Richard and the Musical Aces. He later joined Walter Mouton and the Scott Playboys and then on to join Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys for 30+ years and was blessed to receive four grammy nomination. He founded the super group High Performance which has been together for 14 years. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the band 4Horses was formed, opening up a new chapter in his life and in turn, Kevin resigned from the Mamou Playboys. He now works at PeeWee’s Paint and Body Shop during the week and on weekends he performs with the 4Horses, High Performance and any other bands that need his dancehall inspired playing on drums.
Richard “T-Coe” Comeaux has been playing since the age of 13, inspired by his Dad Camille Louis Comeaux Jr. who played and recorded with Adam Hebert in the 60’s. T-Coe started playing traditional Cajun Music first with bands like Jambalaya, Wayne Toups, Nolan Dugas & others. Cajun Music is his first Love. At 18, he got his first Pedal Steel. One of his main influences, Milton Guilbeau got him started in the right direction, and was an amazing teacher! With years of practice and playing gigs, he plays by ear and expresses his soul in each note. The highlight of his career was in the 90’s when he recorded in Nashville with the band River Road. Now, he is returning to his ”Cajun Music” roots with the best Musicians and human beings on the planet!!
Brazos Huval is a 43-year-old musician, musical instructor, and native and resident of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. He grew up in a large musical family, and as a result, he began playing music himself at the age of 13. He started off learning to play the saxophone and over the years, he has learned many other instruments, some of which include the bass, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and piano. Playing music has presented him many opportunities over the years. He toured the world for 18 years and was even nominated for 3 Grammy awards. However, his proudest accomplishment is the success of his music school and students. He enjoys nothing more than preserving his Cajun heritage through teaching its music to the younger generation. Since 2008, he’s taught over 1,000 students from across Louisiana, and his music school was nominated twice and awarded “Times of Acadiana’s Best Music School.”
Offbeat.com, May 2023
4Horses – LIVE AT LA POUSSIERE PART ONE
4Horses was spawned from Cajun supergroup High Performance when steel guitarist Richard Comeaux had difficulty booking a gig and his usual suspects were unavailable. So, Comeaux and his High Performance bandmates Jamie Bearb and Kevin Dugas, plus a substitute bassist, played the one-off gig as a quartet. Bearb, normally a fiddler, resurrected his first instrument, the accordion, and the experience, says Comeaux, was “magical.” The group opted to continue with High Performance bassist Brazos Huval. During the pandemic, 4Horses became tighter, thanks to regular gigs at Comeaux’s garage attended by friends and neighbors who were spread out across the long driveway.
Just as High Performance’s first two albums were live recordings captured at Breaux Bridge dancehall La Poussiere, 4Horses did the same with its debut. Engineer Scott Ardoin draped the stage with microphones, the band promoted heavily, and from the sound of it, it was a full house. A flock of zealous female fans screams whenever 4Horses kicks off a tune or shifts into an energy-thrusting key modulation. The back story is that although these screams are quite prominent, Ardoin eliminated a considerable amount of crowd noise that was sometimes deafening.
4Horses’ sans-fiddle format opens the door for Comeaux to showcase his extraordinary steel skills. He drones the bass notes, keeps the rhythm jukin’ on the lively ones, and plays riveting, expressive solos on the waltzes and even chimes. On the throttling instrumental “Acadian Two Step,” Comeaux plays increasingly growling slides that keep pace with Bearb’s bustin’ accordion pumping. Though 4Horses gives Comeaux plenty of opportunity to shine, on “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie,” he has the whole pool to himself for a jaw-dropping clinic. His technique is so incredible one has to wonder how all these sounds can emanate from a single instrument. Comeaux differs from other Cajun steelers in that he doesn’t play the more limited open-G tuning but E9, where he has access to every note.
The only song overlapping with High Performance’s recorded output is the rousing “That’s What Makes the Cajuns Dance.” For Bearb, it has deep familial roots. His father, Ricky, co-wrote it with bassist Matt Comeaux and cut it as Ricky Bearb and the Cajun Ramblers Five in 1978. Here, Bearb 2.0 reprises it on the same accordion his father used and plays in his style—different than Steve Riley’s version—with High Performance.
Also similar to High Performance is 4Horses’ reverence for the iconic Belton Richard. Many of these tracks can be attributed to him, either originals or covers culled from his vast repertoire, including “My Last Love,” which makes its recorded debut here. He had written the lyrics on paper but hadn’t finished the melody, so Richard’s widow Brenella asked Bearb if he could complete it. If Bearb had declined, it would have been left undone, as she never intended to offer it to anyone else. Bearb crafted a stirring melody to match the tune’s tenderness, and 4Horses cut it at Travis Matte’s studio for the only studio track of the otherwise live album, with Bearb alternating between accordion and fiddle. This alone is worth the price of admission, but it’s a bargain at any price.
by Dan Willging
Paste Magazine, April 2023
4Horses – LIVE AT LA POUSSIERE PART ONE
New Orleans R&B is not the only indigenous local music that puts the “Heritage” into the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Cajun music from southwest Louisiana’s Acadiana region has proven equally valuable. Built around the accordion, fiddle and washboard, this tradition began with French immigrants who put a Franco-Celtic spin on every music they encountered, whether blues, rock ‘n’ roll or country. A good example of country-leaning Cajun music is the new album Live at La Poussiere by the 4Horses Cajun Dancehall Band.
This quartet features accordionist/lead singer Jamey Bearb and three veterans of Steve Riley’s bands—drummer Kevin Dugas and bassist Brazos Huval from the Mamou Playboys and steel guitarist Richard Comeaux from Lil’ Band o’ Gold. Recorded live at the ancient Breaux Bridge dancehall, named La Poussiere after the dust the waltzers stir up, the recording features both songs by such Cajun legends as Belton Richard and Lawrence Walker and by such country-music figures as George Jones and Lefty Frizzell.
The two sources complement each other surprisingly well, for the Louisiana syncopation gives a new perkiness to the country standards, which in turn lend an emotional urgency to the swamp-pop rhythms. Bearb’s baritone is big and persuasive, whether singing in French or English, and his accordion pulses with the pedal steel to keep the dance floor filled all night. And that’s the primary objective of nearly every working band in Louisiana.
by Geoffrey Himes