Being referred to as the Jimi Hendrix of anything is pretty lofty praise, no matter one’s particular talent.Though it’s doubtful a landscaper has been called “The Jimi Hendrix of hedge trimming,” it’s certainly likely that if a musician garners such praise, it’s well-earned. Such is the case with Dwayne Dopsie, the Zydeco world’s searing accordion talent and master showman. He’s truly phenomenal and Dopsie and his band, The Zydeco Hellraisers, will set fire to the Sheridan Opera House stage Saturday night.
It was Rolling Stone magazine that bestowed the master accordianist the ultimate in comparisons, saying, “He has no competition in his genre, he's the Jimi Hendrix of the accordion.” The eighth and youngest child of Zydeco legend, Rockin’ Dopsie, Dwayne first took to the washboard, (or froittoir) a metal percussion instrument worn on the chest like a medieval breastplate and played by rhythmically scraping the ridges with most anything — a drumstick or fingers encased in thimbles. But when he picked up the accordion, it was immediately evident what instrument he was meant to play. By the age of 7, Dwayne was on his way to accordion mastery.
“This is my calling,” Dopsie said. “Zydeco music is in my blood and it is my heart and soul.”
Dopsie — pronounced doopsee — infuses his deep, Zydeco roots with his own, high-octane energy, giving the genre a fresh take and a supercharged update on traditions.
The folks at the Sheridan Opera House are ready to have Dopsie and his band bring heat to the grand old lady of a historic venue.
“We've had a few weeks off from music after some of the festivals renting the Opera House, so we are excited to get back to a night of dancing and amazing live music with Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers,” said opera house PR and Marketing Director, Maggie Stevens.
Zydeco grew from the musical traditions of Louisiana’s French Creole speakers and is infused with Carribean musical traditions as well as blues and rhythm and blues. Though the genre’s ground zero is the swamps of Louisiana, there are satellite hotbeds of the musical form in places like Texas, Oregon and Europe.
Grammy-nominated Dopsie and The Zydeco Hellraisers (for Best Regional Roots Music Album, “Top of the Mountain,” in 2018) ply the globe with this distinctive and irresistable dance music, performing more than 250 shows a year. Since debuting his band at age 19, Dopsie has performed in 40 countries and hundreds of cities across the United States, Europe, Brazil, Panama and Canada. He and the band have released 10 albums, two of them live recordings, with the latest being this year’s “Bon Ton.”
“Dwayne has been playing the accordion since he was seven and has followed in his father's footsteps,” Stevens said. “He knows the Zydeco genre and culture inside and out.”
The Toledo City Paper had this to say about Dopsie.
“Dwayne takes the instruments and traditions of zydeco to new levels infusing blues, soul and funk with a driving rub-board rhythm. The Zydeco Hellraisers’ sound is relentless, pulsating and funky, easily appealing to fans of all genres.”
The Saturday night show will be an appropriate tune-up for next weekend’s Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, which has hosted Dopsie and other Zydeco acts through the years. And, falling as it does after Saturday’s KOTO Fall Street Dance, the revelry can continue into the night.
Tickets are $20 general admission on the floor and $30 reserved seats in the balcony. A $5 ticketing fee is charged at all ticket outlets. The show starts at 9 p.m. Doors and the SHOW Bar will be open at 8 p.m. For more information call 970-728-6363, ext. 3.