Winter Park / Live Music: Celebrate Fat Tuesday the Cajun way |

Winter Park / Live Music: Celebrate Fat Tuesday the Cajun way

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

The Grand County Blues Society is pleased to announce its biggest party of the year with the return of award-winning guitarist and singer Tab Benoit for a Fat Tuesday concert at Smokin’ Moe’s in Winter Park.

While in town, the Louisiana wetlands activist is also scheduled to be a guest speaker for the Winter Park/Fraser Valley Rotary on behalf of the Voice of the Wetlands, which he helped found prior to Hurricane Katrina to promote the preservation of the wetlands.

During the Rotary get-together, the public is invited to enjoy a feature film presentation of “Hurricane on the Bayou” in which Benoit plays a prominent musical role. The film was the first IMAX film production for the Audubon Nature Institute and informs people about the quick-eroding wetlands. The Rotary program starts at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, and takes place at Beaver Village Lodge.

For his Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras Day performance, Benoit will showcase his signature brand of Cajun rock ‘n’ blues, which he said is a combination of all the music he grew up with on the bayou. With a casual approach and signature unrehearsed shows, he has been said to be “one of the premiere roots stylists of the century.” He is also the recipient of two music awards in 2007 – for Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year.

Benoit and Louisiana’s Leroux (David Peters on drums and Leon Medica on bass) just released album “Power of the Pontchartrain” (in June), which reflects their love for their homeland and Lake Pontchartrain whose fresh waters were put in jeopardy after Hurricane Katrina. The Louisiana-based group, which joins him for Tuesday evening’s performance, also helped Benoit with a live record, “Night Train to Nashville.” The album is set for simultaneous release with a DVD project in April and also features musicians Jimmy Hall, Kim Wilson and Jim Lauderdale.

For centuries Fat Tuesday has been a holiday when Christians allowed themselves to eat liberally in preparation for a fasting period.

For Grand County blues fans, it’s a great excuse to get together and have a good time.

“We have had a show on Fat Tuesday since our first year,” said John Catt, founding board member of the Grand County Blues Society. “It’s been the biggest party of the year every year and that’s probably due to the fact that Tab is a Cajun and Colorado’s favorite Louisiana artist. All the other clubs in Colorado that booked him for this tour would have killed for Fat Tuesday. But he is loyal to the Grand County Blues Society and he knows we will have the best party.

“Tab always creates excitement throughout Smokin’ Moe’s. The dance floor is always full and usually the dancing overflows into the aisles,” Catt said. “If you have never seen Tab live, this is as good a chance as you can get.”

When asked why the popular musician still plays in small towns, Benoit said, not only is it because he’s from a small town, but small towns have supported him from the beginning and he likes to return the favor.

“Every gig is a good gig,” Benoit said. “The people make the place what it is, and the people in Grand County have always been great for music and the arts. They are all-around good people.”

Tickets are available at Radio Shack, Smokin’ Moe’s, at the door and at

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