Grammy Award Winner Wayne Toups will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Old Town Theatre.

Grammy Award winner Wayne Toups will return to Old Town Theatre this weekend to share his unique style of music he calls ZyDeCajun: Southern Rock rhythm and blues with a “squeeze box” front band. The power comes from the accordion rather than the guitar. He had toured with the legendary Carole King and his music has been featured on the soundtrack of “Steel Magnolias”.  

“I love to share this wonderful gift God gave me,” said Toups. “My particular genre of music doesn’t get a lot of radio play, so I love to share my Cajun heritage with fresh faces. It’s really the French version of country music. It’s about love, life, and heartbreak.”

Toups is one of the most commercially successful musicians to come out of Acadiana, which is the region of Louisiana called Cajun Country. According to Toups, it’s a way of life that has the best food and music. He describes his band as a brotherhood more than a performance group.  Some of them have performed together for more than three decades.

Toups resides in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and the band members are based in Lafayette. Each one is a stand alone talent with deep roots in Cajun and Zydeco music. Keyboard player Rick Lagneaux has been with Toups for 35 years. Drummer Mike Burch is from Tyler, Texas, and has been with Toups for 30 years. 

Bass player Steve Grisaffe joined the band four years ago. He is well known for performing with Burch in the River Road Band for over a decade. Guitar player Josh Menard just joined the band in June. His late grandfather was Cajun music legend D.L. Menard, who wrote the song “The Back Door”, also known as “La Porte En Arrière”. Casey Toups has managed the band for 10 years.

“She’s the brains, and I’m the muscle,” said Toups. “We’re a Cajun Southern Blues band that will rock your socks off.”

Toups has been playing music professionally for 40 years. He started out playing the accordion at age 13. The first song he learned to play from his late brother Roger was “The Wedding March”. Cajun artists Irie LeJeune and Belton Richard influenced his early musical tastes. He then fell in love with legends like George Jones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Delbert McClinton. 

Toups began recording in 1979 and formed his first group, The Cajun Creole Band in 1983. His affinity for country, blues,  and Southern Rock combined with his Cajun background continued to gain popularity through the ‘80s and ‘90s. He was signed by Mercury Records in 1985. The next year he released his critically acclaimed album “Zydecajun” He names “Blast from the Bayou” as his most important record, released in 1989.

Toups has contributed music to number one hit songs by Alan Jackson, Mark Chesnutt and Clay Walker. He writes original songs with Lagneaux and uses material from Nashville, taking B side music and morphing it into an A side version. His biggest hit song, “Take My Hand” was written by a 12 year old boy from Houma, Louisiana. That boy was Travis Thibodaux, who has been touring with Journey since 2015. 

Toups has received many awards in his career. He was named Accordionist of the Year by the Cajun French Music Association in 1992. He was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2011, he entered both the Gulf Coast Hall of Fame and the Cajun French Music Hall of Fame. His band Courtbouillon with Steve Riley and Wilson Savoy won Best Regional Roots Music Album at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards in 2013.  

To purchase show tickets at Old Town Theatre, visit their events page at https://www.oldtowntheatre-huntsville.org/events.html. To learn more about the artist, visit his website at https://www.waynetoups.com/.

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