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Rusty Metoyer and The Zydeco Krush released their first CD, “Take My Hand,” last year. (Special to the American Press)

Rusty Metoyer and The Zydeco Krush released their first CD, “Take My Hand,” last year. (Special to the American Press)

Rusty Metoyer hopes to be zydeco ambassador

Last Modified: Sunday, February 02, 2014 2:28 PM

Special to the American Press

Rusty Metoyer was a tyke when he started jamming with relatives who played zydeco music.

There’s a picture of him, not even 5 years old, sitting near a group of older Creole men, each with an instrument in his hands. Russell and Portia Metoyer said their child gravitated toward music.

His passion for music was displayed in many ways. For instance, when he wasn’t sitting in with the older guys, Metoyer was beating pots and pans with his hands and spoons.

“Rusty would get in trouble with his teachers in elementary school for moving around in his desk so much like he was dancing or playing the drums. He seemed to be listening to music in his head all the time,” his mother said.

Now, at age 21, Metoyer is gaining recognition for his talents on the accordion and for his song writing, along with cementing his name in the Louisiana roots music scene. Metoyer has taught himself Zydeco music — by watching, listening and practicing — and is anxious to share the music and his Louisiana Creole culture around the world and in his hometown of Lake Charles.

On Saturday, Feb. 1, Metoyer will perform at Luna Live, at 719 Ryan St. The show will start at 10 p.m.; tickets are $5 for those 21 and up and $8 for those under 21.

“Music is just me. It has always been a part of me and my life. The first time I bought a CD as a child it was ‘Space Jam’s’ soundtrack and the Temptations greatest hits,” he said.

Metoyer played for his family and friends, all for the purpose of letting them hear the music they remembered from decades past at house gatherings. As a teenager, he got his first chance to play in front of a large crowd at a church event that led to an even bigger audience at a show in Grand Coteau.

“That was the first time I saw the reaction of the people, with the smiles and dancing. I just fell in love with performing this music then,” he said.

In a short time, Metoyer has performed in venues along the Gulf Coast; in California and France; and on the Eastern Seaboard.

Metoyer and The Zydeco Krush released their first CD, “Take My Hand,” last year. And he performed on the “Creole United” CD with Andre Thierry, Sean Ardoin, Ed Poullard, Jeffery Broussard and Lawrence Ardoin.

“That was fun. I felt honored that they would consider me for it. I look up to all of those musicians and study their music. The purpose of that project was to bring new life to Louisiana Creole music.”

Like all musicians, Metoyer wants fans to notice his sound.

“My music has different influences like Boozoo Chavis, Santana, The Eagles, and Clifton Chenier. All of that is in me,” he said. “I want people to know it’s zydeco they are hearing but by Rusty and his band.”

Metoyer’s fan base includes young and old and all races of people. Mostly, the fans who follow Metoyer are those who love to dance.

The music also provides a vehicle for Metoyer to share the Louisiana Creole culture.

Having one of the state’s oldest names — he is a descendent of the Metoyer family that originated in Natchitoches Parish on Cane River — would seem to put added pressure on him to succeed.

But that isn’t the case. In fact, Metoyer thinks it makes it easier for his introduction into the regional and national music scene.

“I remember taking Louisiana history and seeing my family name and ended up explaining to my classmates some parts of Louisiana history,” he said.

Metoyer’s mother’s last name is Pappion, another old Louisiana family surname.

“I want to work to be an ambassador for our culture and support the efforts of other people doing the same thing,” Metoyer said. “I hope to travel the world playing Louisiana zydeco music and sharing our wonderful story.”

Online: www.YouTube.com/TheZCrush; www.facebook.com/RustyMetoyerZydeco; www.RustyMetoyer.com.

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