LAFAYETTE, La. (AL) – Roddie Romero is the frontman of the Grammy-nominated Cajun ensemble known as Roddie Romero and the Hub City Allstars. And while many wear the mantle of musician as they would a hat, taking it on and off at their leisure, Romero could no sooner take off his mantle as a musician than he could his own skin. It is a part of his very being. Romero could no sooner take off his mantle as a musician than he could his own skin. It is a part of his very being.
As a born and bred native of Lafayette, Romero is a product of his environment having been steeped in the rich musical heritage of the Cajun and Creole culture from an early age and even having studied under several local legends including Wayne Toups, Zachary Richard, Sonny Landreth and Buckwheat Zydeco.
Romero says some of his earliest memories were of hearing music playing throughout his childhood home by his parents, whether it was from the radio or a record player, and knowing that music was simply something he was destined to make.
“My Dad bought my brother and I an accordion when I was 9 years old,” he recalls. “I pretty much stole it from him and locked myself in my room for the next two years of my life and just played along with records. And that’s how I started.”
According to Romero, there were not many records consumed in his youth that didn’t leave a lasting impression on him, especially those from the King of Zydeco.
“I remember first discovering Clifton Chenier from an 8-track that we had; it was ‘Zydeco Cha Cha,’” he recounts. “I just remember playing that song over and over and over and over again. I really didn’t have to go far to be influenced by amazing things. It’s all here in our backyard.”
Since their debut at Festival International, Roddie Romero and the Hub City Allstars have played across the country and around the world delivering their signature style of music as well as representing the unique culture that created them.
“What we have here is very important to us and we try to represent that as true as possible and that’s what we do and what we love to do,” says Romero. “That’s the beauty about travelling and playing music, especially the music that we play. It’s got a deeper meaning than pop songs that you hear on the radio. It comes from a deeper place.”
Romero admits that he and his band never really enter a performance with a set list, but rather a “big trick bag of songs” that they all collectively know making each performance uniquely different from the last.
“I don’t have the same thoughts that I did yesterday and I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” he says. “As I’m getting older I like to present the truest emotion that we feel. There’s been some amazing shows and there’s probably been more not amazing shows, but that’s life and life hits you in the face sometimes.”
Next on the horizon for Roddie Romero and his Hub City Allstars is their next studio album, which they produced with accomplished producer John Porter; it’s currently being mastered at Dockside Studios in Maurice with an expected release this spring.
[This article was originally published in the December 2016 edition of Acadiana Lifestyle and appeared on AcadianaLifestyle.com.]