Ann Savoy is a lot of things: a musician, scholar, mother and world traveler. One thing she’s not is boring.
Savoy took the scenic route to South Louisiana from Virginia … by way of Paris. But since the mid-1970s she’s made herself right at home, marrying musician and accordion-maker Marc Savoy.
Nowadays, she’s usually singing and playing a variety of instruments with friends and family. Among these are the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, the Savoy Family Band, the Magnolia Sisters, Ann Savoy and Her Sleepless Knights, and more.
Besides traditional Cajun music, Savoy is also drawn to the songs of Billie Holiday, Blue Lu Barker and Ruth Brown. Such versatility makes Ann Savoy a welcome performer around the world.
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Ann and Linda
Ann Savoy’s Grammy-nominated album Adieu False Heart with Linda Ronstadt is perhaps her most widely-praised musical collaboration. They recorded the album in 2006 at Cypress House studios in Louisiana. It includes compositions by Richard Thompson, Bill Monroe and John Jacob Niles.
Though Ronstadt retired from singing in 2011 she reunited with Savoy on their radio program, Duet. Each show picks a musical theme. Linda and Ann choose the songs and offer their unique take on the art and the artist. You can hear the first episode below.
Ronstadt is also the subject of the 2019 documentary, Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice. Later that year it made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival and the film is now streaming on-line. Here’s a review.
Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People
“Cut the roots and the tree will die,” is the line that opens Ann Savoy’s Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People. Savoy says her book began as a simple songbook but turned into an encyclopedia of Cajun roots music. Cajun Music is filled with picking patterns, chord charts, musical notation, old photographs, and cultural histories … it even includes a directory of accordion repair shops!
What Savoy calls her “obsession” eventually led her to artists who made some of the earliest recordings of Cajun and country Creole music.
(January 26, 1893 – October 23, 1989)
Dennis McGee was born in Bayou Maron, Louisiana. Ninety years later, Ann Savoy arrived at his home in Eunice for an interview. She says McGee still played the fiddle with “clarity and energy” and was able to remember “hundreds” of songs from his youth. In the 1920s and 30s, McGee and the legendary Amédé Ardoin played throughout South Louisiana and they were among the first artists to record the music of Acadiana.
(November 15, 1905 – January 3, 1988)
Sady Courville of Chataignier, Louisiana was raised on the 19th Century art of “twin fiddling” by his father and uncle. By his 20s he was playing back-up fiddle to many of the great artists of South Louisiana … including both Amédé Ardoin and Dennis McGee. Courville and McGee would continue to collaborate well into the 1980s.