All in the Family

Perhaps more than any other genre of American music, zydeco brings to mind some distinctly down-home associations; the Cajun blend of country, Creole and blues is steeped in family traditions. And when it comes to family traditions, those ties don’t run much deeper than they do in Leroy Thomas.

Son of Leo Thomas, one of the bona fide kings of zydeco, young Leroy was raised playing that distinctly Bayou-style honky-tonk in his dad’s band, eventually picking up the accordion after trading a cassette player for one. Turns out the instrument was in his blood: “When I got home, there was a John Delafose song playing on the radio,” he recalls, “and I picked [the accordion] up and pretty much played it all the way through. It wasn’t perfect or anything, but I pretty much knew what to do with it.”

After playing in his dad’s band for fifteen years, the younger Thomas “bought me a mike stand and a microphone and never looked back,” forming Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners and becoming one of the most formidable zydeco players out there – and probably one of the few people in the world who can play an American flag-emblazoned squeezebox and make it look badass.

Thomas brings his act to the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, this afternoon at 1:30 p.m., and he’ll be playing tracks from his latest, the country-tinged Jewel of the Bayou, which he calls his “best record by far.” Tickets are $15; for more information, call 303-745-9577 or visit
Sun., Nov. 28, 1:30 p.m., 2010