The raucous daylong party known as the Roots Roadhouse returns this Sunday, taking over both the Echo and the Echoplex with more than two-dozen acts.
“Ragin’ Cajun” Doug Kershaw, Grammy-nominated bluesman Cedric Burnside, Amigo the Devil, honky-tonk veteran James Intveld, irreverent Aussie-Americana siren Ruby Boots, country-funk up-and-comer Sam Morrow, Orange County belter Alice Wallace, and raw-toned songwriter SieSie Benhoff are among the artists who’ll be celebrating roots music in myriad forms: Americana, bluegrass, blues, Cajun, country, old-time folk, rock ‘n’ roll, soul, and various permutations in between.
Like the Grand Ole Echo, under whose hosting umbrella it’s being presented, the Roadhouse is an all-ages event — key to its appeal — and that extends to the artists too. That creative mix of generations adds texture and variety to the music. Cajun country as presented by Kershaw obviously differs in substance and approach from Intveld’s honky-tonk croons, the blunter shuffles of Dale Watson, the edgy “murderfolk” screeds of Amigo the Devil, Wallace’s dreamier California country visions, Elijah Ocean’s scruffy nostalgia, Brooklynite Zephania OHora’s trad-country plaints, or the lively blues that country veteran Flores turns toward with her fine new album “Simple Case of the Blues.”
Drummer and guitarist Burnside keeps his blues grittier and often just as rocking as his grandfather, Mississippi hill country blues legend R.L. Burnside. His “Benton County Relic,” nominated for a Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy this year, delivers hard, electric jolts of blues history and reality, and Burnside keeps it real onstage too. Between songs he tells stories — some bawdy, some wrenching, all offering sly wisdom. “Life can be so easy/ Life can be so hard,” he moans over piercing slide guitar on “Hard to Stay Cool.” “Make you want to cuss and fuss/ Make you want to tear things all apart.”
Kershaw, who grew up speaking French in 1940s southwestern Louisiana and is probably still best known for his 1961 Top Ten hit (with brother Rusty) “Louisiana Man,” blurred the boundaries between Cajun, country and rock in the 1970s and ’80s, whether fronting his own shows or playing electric fiddle with rock bands like Grand Funk Railroad. On Sunday he’ll be backed by the invaluable Dave & Deke Combo (aka fearsome guitarists Dave Stuckey and Deke Dickerson, barnburning showmen in their own right).
Sunday’s lineup also includes Leroy From the North, Dallas Moore, Desure, Albert & His Dreamboats, Teddy & the Rough Riders, Blue Rose Rounders, Dylan Earl, Victoria Bailey, Gus Clark, High Life Cajun Band, Have More Fun String Band, Wicklow Atwater, Capgun Holdups, Water Tower, “Cocaine & Rhinestones” podcast host Tyler Mahan Coe, and between-sets deejaying by Friends in Low Places. Early bird tickets were sold out at press time, but regular and VIP tickets are still available. n
The Roots Roadhouse returns to the Echo (1822 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park) and the Echoplex (enter through the alley at 1154 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park) 3 p.m.-midnight Sunday, March 31; $33 adv/$35 dos/$48 VIP. Info: (213) 413-8200. thegrandoleecho.com, spacelandpresents.com/events/the-echo