Gene Watson Peer’s Quote from Jo-El Sonnier: November 2012

Gene Watson’s Peers within the country music industry believe in the sheer talent of this unassuming man from east Texas, so much so that Gene is regarded by many of them as ‘the singer’s singer’ – and rightly so!

All of Gene Watson’s Peers, who were contacted during 2012, were most gracious with their time and words.

It is here, within this special part of The Gene Watson Fan Site, that you have an opportunity to read a quote from Jo-El Sonnier, which he submitted to this site on Sunday 11 November 2012.

Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to Jo-El Sonnier who made a special contribution to this unique part of this online ‘celebration of a Lone Star Hero’.

Jo-El Sonnier

Jo-El Sonnier
This quote was submitted on Sunday 11 November 2012.

‘Many people call themselves a country music artist but only a few really are.

Gene Watson is truly one of the greatest country singers to ever sing a classic country song.

His voice is instantly recognised and never compromised.

He’s a kind, loving man whose heart is every bit as big as his voice.

He’s one of the best friends a song ever had.

If you were able to look in a dictionary to find the meaning of a great country artist, you’d surely see a photo of Gene Watson’

Thank you, Jo-El Sonnier, for your support of Gene Watson.

About Jo-El Sonnier…

Jo-El Sonnier

Jo-El Sonnier was born in Rayne, Louisiana on Wednesday 2 October 1946, to French-speaking sharecroppers.  When he was three years old, Jo-El Sonnier began to play his brother’s accordion.  By the age of six, Jo-El Sonnier had performed on the radio and, by the age of eleven, he had taken part in his first recording session.

As a teenager, Jo-El Sonnier had also seen the release of several independent singles, along with the release of three independent albums; ‘Hurricane Audry’ (Goldband Records, 1967), ‘The Scene Today In Cajun Music’ (Goldband Records, 1968) and ‘The Cajun Valentino’ (Goldband Records, 1969).

Goldband Records was an American record label, which was based in Lake Charles, Louisiana; the record label was founded in 1945 by Eddie Shuler (Thursday 27 March 1913 – Saturday 23 July 2005) and was best known for its Cajun, Zydeco and Swamp Pop recordings in the 1950s and 1960s.

Goldband Records was also the first label to record Dolly Parton, when she was fourteen years old, with the track ‘Puppy Love’, which was a non-album single in 1959.

A South Louisiana club favorite, Jo-El Sonnier chased his dreams to California.

While in California, Jo-El Sonnier built a reputation as an accomplished session player, but he never connected as a solo artist.  Jo-El Sonnier’s next stop was Nashville, where he signed with Mercury Records, but he returned to Louisiana discouraged and ready to abandon the accordion.  Fate, however, intervened.

Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 - Wednesday 6 April 2016)

Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) hired Jo-El Sonnier as his opening act and Jo-El hit the road with the country music icon, eventually making his way back to Los Angeles.  This time, Jo-El Sonnier formed friendships with Albert Lee, and Garth Hudson of The Band, who assisted him in obtaining solo shows.

In 1974, Jo-El Sonnier signed a recording contract with Mercury Nashville Records, and charted the following minor singles on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1975 and 1976:

‘I’ve Been Around Enough To Know’ (written by Dickey Lee and Bob McDill) (No.78, 1975)

John Schneider: 'Too Good To Stop Now' (MCA Records, 1984)

John Schneider recorded ‘I’ve Been Around Enough To Know’ (written by Dickey Lee and Bob McDill) and included the track on ‘Too Good To Stop Now’ (MCA Records, 1984); John Schneider‘s recording of the track was No.1 on the Billboard country music singles chart for one week in November 1984.

‘Always Late (With Your Kisses)’, which was written by Lefty Frizzell (Saturday 31 March 1928 – Saturday 19 July 1975) and Blackie Crawford (No.99, 1976)

‘He’s Still All Over You’ (No.100, 1976)

Leona Williams

In 1981, Leona Williams recorded ‘Always Late (With Your Kisses)’, which was written by Lefty Frizzell (Saturday 31 March 1928 – Saturday 19 July 1975) and Blackie Crawford; Leona Williams‘ recording of the track was released as a non-album single, which reached No.84 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1981.

Dwight Yoakam: 'Hillbilly Deluxe' (Reprise Records, 1987)

Dwight Yoakam recorded ‘Always Late (With Your Kisses)’, which was written by Lefty Frizzell (Saturday 31 March 1928 – Saturday 19 July 1975) and Blackie Crawford, and included the track on ‘Hillbilly Deluxe’ (Reprise Records, 1987); Dwight Yoakam’s recording of the track reached No.9 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1988.

Merle Haggard: 'Roots, Volume 1' (ANTI-Epitaph Records, 2001)

Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 – Wednesday 6 April 2016) recorded Lefty Frizzell (Saturday 31 March 1928 – Saturday 19 July 1975) and Blackie Crawford’s ‘Always Late (With Your Kisses)’ and included the track on ‘Roots, Volume 1’ (ANTI-Epitaph Records, 2001).

Johnny Cash: 'I Would Like to See You Again' (Columbia Records, 1978)

In April 1978, Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003) saw the release of ‘I Would Like To See You Again’ (Columbia Records, 1978), which included three tracks, which were hit singles on the Billboard country music singles chart:

‘I Would Like To See You Again’, which was written by Larry T. Atwood and Charlie Craig (Friday 30 September 1938 – Friday 1 July 2011) (No.12, 1978)

‘There Ain’t No Good Chain Gang’, which was written by Hal Bynum (Saturday 29 September 1934 – Thursday 2 June 2022) and Dave Kirby¬†(Sunday 10 July 1938 – Saturday 17 April 2004) (No.2, 1978) / this track was a duet with¬†Waylon Jennings (Tuesday 15 June 1937 – Wednesday 13 February 2002)

‘I Wish I Was Crazy Again’ (written by Bob McDill) (No.22, 1978) / this track was a duet with¬†Waylon Jennings (Tuesday 15 June 1937 – Wednesday 13 February 2002)

Johnny Cash’s ‘I Would Like To See You Again’ (Columbia Records, 1978) also included the following tracks:

‘Lately’, which was written by Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003)
‘Who’s Gene Autry?’, which was written by Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003)
‘Hurt So Bad’, which was written by Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003)
‘I Don’t Think I Could Take You Back Again’ (written by Earl Ball Jr. and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Abner Brown’, which was written by Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003)
‘After Taxes’, which was written by Jerome ‘Jerry’ Leiber (Tuesday 25 April 1933 – Monday 22 August 2011) and Billy Edd Wheeler
‘That’s The Way It Is’, which was written by Roger D. Bowling (Sunday 3 December 1944 – Sunday 26 December 1982) and Larry Butler (Thursday 26 March 1942 – Friday 20 January 2012)
‘I’m Alright Now’ (written by Jerry Hensley)

Personnel involved in the recording of Johnny Cash’s ‘I Would Like To See You Again’ (Columbia Records, 1978) included the following:

Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003) (vocals, guitar)
Waylon Jennings (Tuesday 15 June 1937 – Wednesday 13 February 2002)
Robert ‘Bob’ Wootton (Wednesday 4 March 1942 – Sunday 9 April 2017), Jerry Hensley, Jack Routh, Jimmy Capps (Thursday 25 May 1939 – Monday 1 June 2020), Jerry Shook and Pete Wade (guitar)
Marshall Garnett Grant (Saturday 5 May 1928 – Sunday 7 August 2011) and Gordon Payne (bass)
WS ‘Fluke’ Holland (Monday 22 April 1935 – Wednesday 23 September 2020) (drums)
Ralph E. Mooney (Sunday 16 September 1928 – Sunday 20 March 2011) (steel guitar)
Larry McCoy, Cliff Robertson and Earl Poole Ball (piano)
Terry McMillan (Monday 12 October 1953 – Friday 2 February 2007) (harmonica)
Richard Morris (percussion)
The Jordanaires (vocals)
John Carter Cash (question on ‘Who’s Gene Autry?’)

Johnny Cash’s ‘I Would Like To See You Again’ (Columbia Records, 1978) reached No.23 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart in 1978.

Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty: 'Honky Tonk Heroes' (MCA Records, 1978)

Loretta Lynn (Thursday 14 April 1932 – Tuesday 4 October 2022) & Conway Twitty (Friday 1 September 1933 – Saturday 5 June 1993) recorded Jo-El Sonnier’s ‘Country Blues’ (co-written with Marilyn Allyn) and included the track on ‘Honky Tonk Heroes’ (MCA Records, 1978).

Johnny Cash: 'Gone Girl' (Columbia Records, 1978)

In December 1978, Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003) saw the release of ‘Gone Girl’ (Columbia Records, 1978), which included three tracks, which were hit singles on the Billboard country music singles chart:

‘Gone Girl’, which was written by ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement (Sunday 5 April 1931 – Thursday 8 August 2013) (No.44, 1978)

‘I Will Rock & Roll With You’, which was written by Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003) (No.89, 1978)

‘It’ll Be Her’ (written by Billy Ray Reynolds) (No.21, 1978)

Johnny Cash’s ‘Gone Girl’ (Columbia Records, 1978) also included the following tracks:

‘The Diplomat’, which was written by Roger D. Bowling (Sunday 3 December 1944 – Sunday 26 December 1982)
‘No Expectations’ (written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards)
‘It Comes & Goes’, which was written by Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003)
‘The Gambler’ (written by Don Schlitz)
‘Cajun Born’ (written by Kermit Goell and Jo-El Sonnier)

‘You & Me’, which was written by Roger D. Bowling (Sunday 3 December 1944 – Sunday 26 December 1982) and Larry Butler (Thursday 26 March 1942 – Friday 20 January 2012) / this track was a duet with June Carter Cash (Sunday 23 June 1929 – Thursday 15 May 2003)

‘Song For The Life’ (written by Rodney Crowell)

Personnel involved in the recording of Johnny Cash’s ‘Gone Girl’ (Columbia Records, 1978) included the following:

Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003) (vocals, guitar)
Marshall Grant (bass)
WS ‘Fluke’ Holland (Monday 22 April 1935 – Wednesday 23 September 2020) (drums)
Robert ‘Bob’ Wootton (Wednesday 4 March 1942 – Sunday 9 April 2017) (electric guitar)
Jimmy Capps (Thursday 25 May 1939 – Monday 1 June 2020) and Tommy Allsup (Tuesday 24 November 1931 – Wednesday 11 January 2017) (acoustic guitar)
‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement (Sunday 5 April 1931 – Thursday 8 August 2013) (rhythm guitar)
Earl Ball (piano)
Jerry Hensley (electric guitar, acoustic guitar)
Jack Hale and Bob Lewin (trumpet)
Jo-El Sonnier (concertina, harmonica)
Terry Jacks (guitar)
The Carter Family, Jan Howard (Friday 13 March 1929 – Saturday 28 March 2020), The Jordanaires and Rosanne Cash (background vocals)
The Sheldon ‘Shelly’ Kurland (Saturday 9 June 1928 – Wednesday 6 January 2010) Strings (strings)

Jo-El Sonnier: 'Cajun Life' (Rounder Records, 1980)

In 1980, Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of ‘Cajun Life’ (Rounder Records, 1980), for which he received a Grammy Award nomination; the album included the following tracks:

‘Jambalaya (On The Bayou)’, which was written by Hank Williams (Monday 17 September 1923 – Thursday 1 January 1953)
‘Tes Yeux Bleu’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Allons √† Lafayette’ (traditional)
‘Bayou Teche Waltz’ (written by Nathan Abshire)
‘Les Flammes d’Enfer’ (traditional)
‘Jolie Blonde’ (traditional)
‘Lacassine Special’ (written by Iry LeJeune)
‘Chere Alice’ (traditional)
‘Louisiana Blues’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Les Grands Bois’ (traditional)
‘Perrodin Two-Step’ (traditional)
‘Cajun Life’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)

In 1981, Jo-El Sonnier had an acting part in ‘They All Laughed’, which was directed by Peter Bogdanovich (Sunday 30 July 1939 – Thursday 6 January 2022); the movie, which starred Audrey Hepburn (Saturday 4 May 1929 – Wednesday 20 January 1993), Ben Gazzara (Thursday 28 August 1930 – Friday 3 February 2012), John Ritter (Friday 17 September 1948 – Thursday 11 September 2003), Colleen Camp, Patti Hansen and Dorothy Stratten (Sunday 28 February 1960 – Thursday 14 August 1980), was based on a screenplay by Peter Bogdanovich and Blaine Novak.

George Strait: 'Something Special' (MCA Records, 1985)

George Strait recorded Jo-El Sonnier’s ‘Blue Is Not A Word’ (co-written with Judy Ball) and included the track on ‘Something Special’ (MCA Records, 1985).

In 1985, Jo-El Sonnier had an acting part in ‘Mask’, which was directed by Peter Bogdanovich (Sunday 30 July 1939 – Thursday 6 January 2022); the movie starred Cher, Sam Elliott and Eric Stoltz; the director’s cut of the movie was released in 2004.

Patty Loveless: 'Patty Loveless' (MCA Records, 1986)

Patty Loveless recorded Jo-El Sonnier’s ‘Blue Is Not A Word’ (co-written with Judy Ball) and included the track on ‘Patty Loveless’ (MCA Records, 1986).

Jo-El Sonnier: 'Come On Joe' (RCA Records, 1987)

In 1987, Jo-El Sonnier signed to RCA Records and saw the release of ‘Come On Joe’ (RCA Records, 1987), which included four tracks, which were hit singles on the Billboard country music singles chart:

‘Come On Joe’ (No.39, 1987)

‘No More One More Time’, which was written by Dave Kirby (Sunday 10 July 1938 – Saturday 17 April 2004) and Troy Seals (No.7, 1988)

‘Tear Stained Letter’ (written by Richard Thompson) (No.9, 1988)

‘Rainin’ In My Heart’, which was written by Slim Harpo (born James Isaac Moore) (Friday 11 January 1924 – Saturday 31 January 1970) and Joseph Denton ‘Jay’ Miller (Friday 5 May 1922 – Saturday 23 March 1996) (No.35, 1989)

The Billboard country music hit singles, ‘Come On Joe’ (No.39, 1987), ‘No More One More Time’ (No.7, 1988) and ‘Tear Stained Letter’ (No.9, 1988) thrust Jo-El Sonnier into the limelight and allowed him more creativity with his Cajun-based roots.

Jo-El Sonnier’s ‘Come On Joe’ (RCA Records, 1987) reached No.17 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart in 1987.

Jo-El Sonnier also played accordion on albums by a number of acclaimed artists, including Alan Jackson, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003), Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Dylan and George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013).

It was also in 1987 when Jo-El Sonnier was named ‘New Country Artist of The Year’ by Performance Magazine.

Jo-El Sonnier wrote songs for Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003), George Strait, Mel McDaniel (Sunday 6 September 1942 – Thursday 31 March 2011), John Anderson and Jerry Lee Lewis (Sunday 29 September 1935 – Friday 28 October 2022).

Although his chart success waned by the late 1980s, Jo-El Sonnier continued recording music; overall, he recorded more than twenty albums, primarily on independent record labels.

Jo-El Sonnier: 'Have a Little Faith' (RCA Records, 1989)

In December 1989, Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of ‘Have A Little Faith’ (RCA Records, 1989), which included three tracks, which were hit singles on the Billboard country music singles chart:

‘(Blue, Blue, Blue) Blue, Blue’, which was written by Troy Seals and Edward F. Setser (1945 – Monday 27 January 2020) (No.47, 1989)

‘If Your Heart Should Ever Roll This Way Again’ (No.24, 1990)

‘The Scene of The Crime’
(No.65, 1990)

Emmylou Harris: 'Brand New Dance' (Reprise Records, 1990)

On Tuesday 16 October 1990, Emmylou Harris saw the release of ‘Brand New Dance’ (Reprise Records, 1990), which included the following tracks:

‘Wheels of Love’ (written by Marjy Plant)
‘Tougher Than The Rest’ (written by Bruce Springsteen)
‘In His World’ (written by Kostas and Leigh Reynolds)
‘Sweet Dreams of You’ (written by Paul Kennerley and John David)
‘Easy For You To Say’ (written by Jack Wesley Routh and Randy Sharp)
‘Rollin’ & Ramblin’ (The Death of Hank Williams)’ (written by Robin Williams, Linda Williams and Jerome Clark)
‘Better Off Without You’ (written by Marshall Chapman, Dennis Walker and Fontaine Brown)
‘Never Be Anyone Else But You’, which was written by Thomas Baker Knight Jr. (Tuesday 4 July 1933 – Wednesday 12 October 2005)
‘Brand New Dance’ (written by Paul Kennerley)
‘Red Red Rose’ (written by David Mallett)

Personnel involved in the recording of Emmylou Harris’ ‘Brand New Dance’ (Reprise Records, 1990) included the following:

Richard Bennett (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, mandolin, tambourine, 6-string bass)
Mary Black, Marshall Chapman, Kathy Chiavola, Iris DeMent, Kieran Kane, Kostas, Claire Lynch, Melba Montgomery, Jamie O’Hara (Friday 18 August 1950 – Thursday 7 January 2021), Wayland Patton and Barry Tashian (harmony vocals)
Bruce C. Bouton (steel guitar)
Charles Cochran (Saturday 29 February 1936 – Thursday 7 June 2007) (string arrangements)
Stuart Duncan (fiddle, mandolin)
Connie Ellisor, Carl Gorodetzky, Jim Grosjean, Lee Larrison, Ted Madsen, Robert Mason, Dennis Molchan, Laura Molyneaux, Nashville String Machine, Pamela Sixfin, Mark Tanner, Gary VanOsdale and Kristin Wilkinson (strings)
Peter Gorisch (cello)
Emmylou Harris (acoustic guitar, vocals, harmony vocals)
James Hollihan Jr. (slide guitar)
Roy M. ‘Jr.’ Husky (Monday 17 December 1956 – Saturday 6 September 1997), Dave Pomeroy, Garry Tallent, Glenn Worf and Bob Wray (bass)
John Jarvis and Pete Wasner (piano)
Chris Leuzinger (acoustic guitar, electric guitar)
Kenny Malone (Thursday 4 August 1938 – Thursday 26 August 2021) and Milton Sledge (percussion, drums)
Liam O’Flynn and Davy Spillane (whistle (human), Uilleann pipes)
Jo-El Sonnier (triangle, French accordion)
Harry Stinson (drums)
Bobby Wood (organ, piano, keyboards, electric piano)
Cindy Reynolds Wyatt (harp)

Emmylou Harris’ ‘Brand New Dance’ (Reprise Records, 1990) reached No.45 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart in 1990.

In the 1990s, Jo-El Sonnier moved to Capitol Records, but his solo career faltered soon afterwards.

Jo-El Sonnier: 'Tears of Joy' (Liberty Records, 1991)

In 1991, Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of ‘Tears of Joy’ (Liberty Records, 1991), which included the following tracks:

‘All American Saturday Night’ (written by Marvin Morrow and Keith Stegall)
‘Fire On The Line’ (written by Hillary Kanter and Even Stevens)
‘Smile When You Say That’ (written by Jackson Leap)
‘Some Kinda Voodoo’ (written by Lee Roy Parnell and Dave Steen)
‘Tears of Joy’ (written by Chuck Jones, J.D. Martin and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘You May Change Your Mind’ (written by Tom Shapiro, Jo-El Sonnier and Chris Waters)
‘Do Me a Favor, Don’t’ (written by Donny Kees, Earl Bud Lee and Pal Rakes)
‘Let’s Give Love One More Try’, which was written by Larry Gottlieb, Danny ‘Bear’ Mayo (Monday 2 October 1950 – Saturday 2 October 1999) and Jo-El Sonnier
‘Harder Than It Sounds’ (written by J.C. Crowley and Jeff Silbar)
‘Telling You Goodbye’ (written by Johnny Christopher, Bucky Lindsey and Jo-El Sonnier)

Jo-El Sonnier: 'Hello Happiness Again' (Liberty Records, 1992)

On Monday 28 September 1992, Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of ‘Hello Happiness Again’ (Liberty Records, 1992), which included the following tracks:

‘Cafe du Monde’
‘Cry Like A Baby’
‘Someday I Will Lead The Parade’
‘Hello Happiness Again’
‘Field of Love’
’65 Blue’
‘So Lonesome In My Heart’
‘Hole In The Clouds’
‘Is My Love Enough?’
‘French Quarter Moon’

Jo-El Sonnier continued to find success as a session musician, and briefly took up an acting career as well.

In 1993, Jo-El Sonnier had an acting part in ‘The Thing Called Love’, which was directed by Peter Bogdanovich (Sunday 30 July 1939 – Thursday 6 January 2022), and starred River Phoenix (Sunday 23 August 1970 – Sunday 31 October 1993), Samantha Mathis, Dermot Mulroney and Sandra Bullock.

‘The Thing Called Love’ also featured appearances by a number of country music artists, including K.T. (Kay Toinette) Oslin (Friday 15 May 1942 – Monday 21 December 2020), Webb Wilder, Deborah Allen, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Katy Moffatt, Pam Tillis, Kevin Welch and Trisha Yearwood.

Jo-El Sonnier: 'Cajun Roots' (Rounder Records, 1994)

On Saturday 28 May 1994, Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of ‘Cajun Roots’ (Rounder Records, 1994), which included the folllowing tracks:

‘J’Etais Au Bal’ (written by Iry LeJeune)
‘La Valse Du Grande Cheims’ (written by Iry LeJeune)
‘Church Point Breakdown’ (written by Iry LeJeune)
‘La Branche Du M√Ľrier’ (written by Iry LeJeune)
‘Evangeline Special’ (written by Iry LeJeune)
‘Calcasieu Waltz’ (written by Iry LeJeune)
‘Huppes Taiauts 1935’ (traditional)
‘La Chere Toute-Toute’ (traditional)
‘Chere Joues Rose’
‘Am√©d√©e Two Step’ (traditional)
‘Laisse Les Bon Temps Rouler’ (written by Lawrence Walker)
‘La Valse Des Ch√®re B√©b√©’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)

In 1995, Jo-El Sonnier was awarded ‘Male Vocalist of The Year’ by the Cajun French Music Association, and he won ‘Song of The Year’ for his recording of ‘La Valse D Chere Bebe’.

Jo-El Sonnier, with Sidney Brown & Robert Bertrand: 'Cajun Young Blood' (Ace Records, 1996)

On Monday 29 July 1996, Jo-El Sonnier, with Sidney Brown & Robert Bertrand, saw the release of ‘Cajun Young Blood’ (Ace Records, 1996), a collection of twenty-eight tracks, which were recorded at Goldband Studios in Lake Charles, Louisiana in the late 1960s and early 1970s; the tracks included the following:

‘Jump Little Frog’
‘Rolling Pin (Special)’
‘I’m Leaving You’ (written by¬†Jacques Lejeune and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Durald Waltz’ (written by¬†Lurlin Lejeune and Eddie Shuler)
‘The Bean’
‘I’d Like To Forget’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Monkey On My Back’
‘Little Petite’
‘The One I Love’¬†(written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Johnny B. Goode’, which was written by¬†Chuck Berry (Monday 18 October 1926 – Saturday 18 March 2017)

‘Cafe Sho’
‘My Blue Letter’
‘Fee Fee Poncho’ / this track featured¬†Sidney Brown
‘Hurricane Audry’
‘Auntie’s Peanuts (Pestache Ah Tante Nana)’
‘There’s No Goodbyes’
‘Didn’t Come Home’ (written by¬†Robert Bertrand) / this track featured¬†Robert Bertrand
‘Tasso Gumbo’
‘Valse De Rose Marie’

‘(Ship of) Broken Heart’
‘My 50 Cents’¬†/ this track featured Robert Bertrand
‘Legend of Iry Lejeune’
‘Monkey Played Fiddle’
‘We Passed Your Door’ (written by¬†Robert Bertrand)¬†/ this track featured Robert Bertrand
‘I’d Like To Forget’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Aye Yeah’
‘Last Waltz’
‘Big Wheeling Rolling’ (written by¬†J. Wilson) / this track featured¬†Funky Duck

Eddy Raven & Jo-El Sonnier: 'Cookin' Cajun' (K-Tel Records, 1996)

In August 1996, Eddy Raven & Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of ‘Cookin’ Cajun’ (K-Tel Records, 1996), which included the following tracks:

‘Jambalaya (On The Bayou)’, which was written by Hank Williams (Monday 17 September 1923 – Thursday 1 January 1953)
‘Colinda’ (written by Jerry Foster and Eddy Raven)
‘Tear-Stained Letter’ (written by Richard Thompson)
‘Fais Do Do’ (written by Eddy Raven)
‘Zydeco Lady’ (written by Eddy Raven and Troy Seals)
‘No More One More Time’, which was written by Dave Kirby (Sunday 10 July 1938 – Saturday 17 April 2004) and Troy Seals
‘Papa Thibodeaux’ (written by Eddy Raven)
‘Sugar Bee’ (written by Eddie Shuler)
‘Cher Jole Blon’ (written by Eddy Raven and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Good Deal Lucille’, which was written by Joseph Denton ‘Jay’ Miller (Friday 5 May 1922 – Saturday 23 March 1996), Al Terry and Charles Theriot
‘I’m Gonna Get You’, which was written by Dennis Linde (Thursday 18 March 1943 – Friday 22 December 2006)
‘Diggy Diggy Lo’, which was written by Joseph Denton ‘Jay’ Miller (Friday 5 May 1922 – Saturday 23 March 1996)
‘Cher Big Mamou’ (written by Eddy Raven)
‘Louisiana 1927’ (written by Randy Newman)

In the late 1990s, Jo-El Sonnier returned to Rounder Records to record Cajun music once more, occasionally collaborating with Michael Doucet of Beausoleil.

Jo-El Sonnier: 'Cajun Pride' (Rounder Records, 1997)

On Tuesday 8 April 1997, Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of his Grammy Award-nominated ‘Cajun Pride’ (Rounder Records, 1997), which included the following tracks:

‘Lake Arthur Special’ (traditional)
‘Juste Une Affaire’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Pine Grove Blues’ (written by Nathan Abshire)
‘Lawtell Two Step’ (traditional)
‘La Valse De Grand Mamou’ (traditional)
‘French Blues’ (written by Nathan Abshire)
‘Mamou Two-Step’ (written by Lawrence Walker)
‘Midnight Waltz’ (written by Lawrence Walker)
‘Step It Fast’ (written by Aldus Roger)
‘Jolie Fille’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Am√©d√© Ardoin’ (written by Randy Handley and Pete Wasner)
‘Johnnie Fais Bien’, which was written by Chuck Berry (Monday 18 October 1926 – Saturday 18 March 2017)

Ruby Lovett: 'Ruby Lovett' (Curb Records, 1998)

Ruby Lovett recorded Jo-El Sonnier’s ‘In The Arms of Love’ (co-written with Chapin Hartford and Bobbye Sonnier) and included the track on her self-titled debut album, ‘Ruby Lovett’ (Curb Records, 1998).

Jo-El Sonnier: 'Here to Stay' (Intersound Records, 1998)

On Tuesday 24 February 1998, Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of ‘Here To Stay’ (Intersound Records, 1998), which included the following tracks:

‘We’re Here To Stay’, which was written by Don Goodman, A.J. Masters (Wednesday 20 December 1950 – Monday 12 January 2015) and Jo-El Sonnier
‘Broken Hearted Side of New Orleans’ (written by Steve Clark and Bud McGuire)
‘Can’t Give My Heart Away’ (written by Brad Davis)
‘Polk Salad Annie’, which was written by Tony Joe White (Friday 23 July 1943 – Wednesday 24 October 2018)
‘I Can Help’ (written by Billy Swan)
‘Jambalaya (On The Bayou)’, which was written by Hank Williams (Monday 17 September 1923 – Thursday 1 January 1953)
‘Diggy Diggy Lo’, which was written by Joseph Denton ‘Jay’ Miller (Friday 5 May 1922 – Saturday 23 March 1996)
‘The Big Mamou’ (traditional)

‘La Jolie Blonde’ (traditional)
‘Johnny B. Goode’, which was written by Chuck Berry (Monday 18 October 1926 – Saturday 18 March 2017)
‘C’Est La Vie’, which was written by Chuck Berry (Monday 18 October 1926 – Saturday 18 March 2017)
‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ (written by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid)

Medley:
‘No More One More Time’, which was written by Dave Kirby (Sunday 10 July 1938 – Saturday 17 April 2004) and Troy Seals / ‘Raining in My Heart’ (written by James Moore, Eddie Shuler and Jerry West) / ‘Tear Stained Letter’ (written by Richard Thompson)

Jo-El Sonnier: 'Cajun Blood' (Sonnier International Records, 1999)

On Tuesday 16 November 1999, Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of ‘Cajun Blood’ (Sonnier International Records, 1999), which he dedicated to his mother and father, who raised their family near Rayne, Louisiana, deep in Cajun country, and which included the following tracks:

‘Sang Cadien’, which was written by Randy Boudreaux, Jo-El Sonnier and Kim Williams (Saturday 28 June 1947 – Thursday 11 February 2016)
‘I’d Like To Know’
‘The Back Door’, which was written by Doris Leon ‘D.L.’ Menard (Tuesday 14 April 1932 – Thursday 27 July 2017)
‘Eb’ Tit Fille’ (written by Clifton Chenier) (traditional)
‘Lafayette Waltz’ (written by Clifton Chenier) (traditional)
‘Jolie Coeur’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Flammes d’Enfer’ (written by Austin Pitre)
‘Cherokee Waltz’ (written by Shirley Bergeron)
‘Quelle √Čtoile’ (written by Shirley Bergeron)
‘Yo Yeux Noir’ (written by Lawrence Walker)
‘Allons √Ä Lafayette’ (traditional)
‘Bayou Teche’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Cajun Blood’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)

Jo-El Sonnier: 'Cajun Blood' (Sonnier International Records, 1999) Jo-El Sonnier: 'Here to Stay' (Intersound Records, 1998)

Jo-El Sonnier’s ‘Cajun Blood’ (Sonnier International Records, 1999) was Grammy Award-nominated for ‘Best Traditional Folk Album’ in 2001.

It was also in 1999 when Jo-El Sonnier was awarded ‘Male Vocalist of The Year’ and received the ‘Song of The Year’ Award for ‘Here To Stay’.

It was also in 1999 when Jo-El Sonnier performed on the hallowed stage of The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

Chris LeDoux: 'Horsepower' (Capitol Records, 2003)

On Tuesday 22 July 2003, Chris LeDoux (Saturday 2 October 1948 – Wednesday 9 March 2005) saw the release of his final studio album, ‘Horsepower’ (Capitol Records, 2003); Jo-El Sonnier was a guest vocalsit on ‘Pass My Hat’ (written by Doug Kershaw), and played squeezebox on all tracks.

Emmylou Harris: 'Elite Hotel' (Reprise Records, 1975 / 2004)

In 1975, Emmylou Harris recorded Jo-El Sonnier’s ‘Cajun Born’ (co-written with Kermit Goell); the track was included on the 2004 re-issue of ‘Elite Hotel’ (Reprise Records, 1975 / 2004), and was not included on the original release of the album in 1975.

Jo-EL Sonnier: 'Cajun Mardi Gras' (Green Hill Productions, 2005)

In 2006, Jo-EL Sonnier received his fourth Grammy Award nomination for his then newest traditional recording album project, ‘Cajun Mardi Gras’ (Green Hill Productions, 2005).  With four Grammy Award nominations under his belt for his traditional French recordings, Jo-El Sonnier continued to record and perform his traditional music to crowds around the world.

Although Jo-El Sonnier continued to color outside the lines of Nashville‚Äôs version of country music, he continued to record his style of music, for his fans to enjoy, on his own record label, ‘Musique de Jo-El’.  With the help of XM Radio, Jo-El Sonnier‚Äôs music is being discovered by a whole new audience through airplay of his traditional country recordings on Mercury Records from the 1970s.

Jo-El Sonnier: 'The Real Deal' (Musique de Jo-El, 2008)

On Tuesday 26 February 2008, Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of ‘The Real Deal’ (Musique de Jo-El, 2008), which included the following tracks:

‘Louisiana Mudbug’, which was written by Stephen Allen Davis (Tuesday 4 October 1949 – Monday 26 December 2022)
‘Louisiana Means So Much To Me’ (written by Johnny Christopher and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Dead Giveaway’ (written by Michael Smotherman and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘I Need Time’ (written by Dan Penn and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Break-Up’, which was written by Charlie Rich (Wednesday 14 December 1932 – Tuesday 25 July 1995)
‘Matilda’
‘Sweet Operator’ (written by Michael Smotherman)
‘The Real Deal’ (written by Bobbye Sonnier and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Squeeze Box’ (written by Pete Townshend)
‘Delta Blue’, which was written by Steve Cropper and Stephen Allen Davis (Tuesday 4 October 1949 – Monday 26 December 2022)
‘Life’s Last Parade’, which was written by Danny ‘Bear’ Mayo (Monday 2 October 1950 – Saturday 2 October 1999)
‘My Name Is Jo-El’ (written by Bucky Lindsey and Jo-El Sonnier)

In 2009, Jo-El Sonnier was inducted into Louisiana Music Hall of Fame by Mike Shepherd.

Jo-El Sonnier: 'Where’s That Music Comin’ From?' (Music Ache Records, 2011)

In February 2011, Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of ‘Where‚Äôs That Music Comin‚Äô From?’ (Music Ache Records, 2011), which included the following tracks:

‘Acadiana’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘As Far South As You Can Go’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Gumbo Radio’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Bandera’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Twelve Honest Men’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Thunderbird Road’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Confusion Say’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Dylan Song’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Because I Can’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Hadocal Train’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Swamp Porch Pickin’, which was written by Billy Henderson, A.J. Masters (Wednesday 20 December 1950 – Monday 12 January 2015) and Jo-El Sonnier
‘As Long As I’m With You’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Where’s That Music Comin’ From’ (written by Billy Henderson and Bob Morrison)
‘Healin’ Song’, which was written by Billy Henderson, A.J. Masters (Wednesday 20 December 1950 – Monday 12 January 2015) and Jo-El Sonnier
‘The School I Had To Quit’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Good Luck tTo You, My Friend’ (written by Billy Henderson and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘You Never Get Over It’ (written by Billy Henderson, Bobbye Sonnier and Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Twenty-One’ (written by Vera Lynn Bush and Billy Henderson)

In 2012, Jo-El Sonnier was back in the recording studio, putting the finishing touches to a new traditional Cajun album, and also working on an all-new English language recording project.

Jo-El Sonnier: 'The Legacy' (Takau Records, 2013)

On Tuesday 10 December 2013, Jo-El Sonnier saw the release of ‘The Legacy’ (Takau Records, 2013), which included the following tracks:

‘J’suis Apr√©s Me Soutenir’ / ‘I’m Holdin’ On’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Les Blues D’ Ennui’ / ‘Lonesome Blues’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Ya Juste Toi’ / ‘There’s Only You’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Tu Peux Cogner’ / ‘You Can Knock’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Cher’ Tit Coeur’ / ‘Dear Little Heart’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘J’sus Apr√©s M’Ennuyer’ / ‘Lonesome’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Mama’s Two Step’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Si J’ai Pas Toi’ / ‘If There’s No You’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘J’ai Gone Fou’ / ‘I’m Goin’ Crazy’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Dockside Special’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Tit Cheveux Noir’ / ‘Little Black Hair’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘J’sus Apr√©s Te Quitter’ / ‘I’m Leavin’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)
‘Mais Yeaux Bleu’ / ‘My Eyes Blue’ (written by Jo-El Sonnier)

Jo-El Sonnier and Gene Watson enjoy a visit at Marshland Music Festival, Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70602 on Saturday 29 July 2023
Jo-El Sonnier and Gene Watson enjoy a visit at Marshland Music Festival, Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, Louisiana 70602 on Saturday 29 July 2023
Gene Watson and Jo-El Sonnier enjoy a visit at Marshland Music Festival, Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, Louisiana 70602 on Saturday 29 July 2023
Gene Watson and Jo-El Sonnier enjoy a visit at Marshland Music Festival, Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, Louisiana 70602 on Saturday 29 July 2023



Jo-El Sonnier

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