Dopsie's double album drops at festival
Written by DAVID DUPONT Festival Program Editor   
Tuesday, 06 September 2011 11:09
Dwayne “Dopsie” Rubin. (Photo: JD Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The morning after last year’s Black Swamp Arts Festival, the buzz was about Dwayne Dopsie.
The scion of a New Orleans zydeco family, Dwayne “Dopsie” Rubin and his band the Zydeco Hellraisers had played two shows — one on the Main Stage and another on the Family Stage, and they burned through both shows.
“Their performance at last year’s Black Swap Arts Festival was just stellar,” Kelly Wicks, the festival performance committee chair, said.
So much so that he decided to bring them back to Grounds for Thought for a free show and recording session.
“To make a live recording work, you really have to have a band that has tremendous performance experience.”
And the Zydeco Hellraisers fit the bill.
The show turned out to be a raucous, high-energy affair with Rubin strutting through the crowd while the band pounded out rocking zydeco beats.
And the two-LP set that resulted captured the tenor of the performance.
“This is definitely one of the best sounding live albums I’ve done,” Rubin said. He particularly was pleased the way the recording, done by Alex Hann, captures “the energy and enthusiasm” of the show while still doing justice to the sonic qualities of the music.
Dwayne “Dopsie” Rubin and his Zydeco Hellraisers return to the festival for an album release party at 6:20 p.m. Saturday. Then he’ll return to the Family Stage to close out the festival there with a Sunday set at 3:50 p.m.
The limited edition two-LP set sells for $20, and includes a CD of the music as well as the two vinyl platters. Only 500 albums are being produced with Rubin getting some to sell at live shows.
It’s the second record made at Grounds. Last year the Gary, Ind., blues band The Kinsey Report made a record that was released at the 2010 Black Swamp Arts Festival.
Rubin is excited to return to town. “Any chance I can get to go back to Bowling Green is a pleasure,” he said. When he first came for the festival last year he didn’t know what to expect, and he was pleased with the welcome he got.
“I remember it was really family oriented. It was nice to see people of all ages just coming out and having fun.”
His visit in spring to cut the record only reenforced that feeling.
“Bowling Green is one of the hidden treasures in America,” he said. Residents’ easy-going attitude and appreciation for the arts is “spectacular,” he said. “I’m pleased to share our music with them.”
Rubin describes his music as a dose of the “real authentic zydeco music.”
He noted last year that the difference between a “decent” band” and “an awesome band” is “you can feel every drop of sweat in every note.”
It doesn’t matter, he said, if the crowd came specifically to hear zydeco. “I don’t think there’s such a thing as a zydeco crowd,” he said. “Everyone loves it. It’s music that heals the soul.”
The 33-year-old musician is the youngest son of the King of Zydeco Alton “Rockin’ Dopsie” Rubin and brother of David “Rockin’ Dopsie Jr.” Rubin. His musical training began at age 4 when he played washboard.
“I started watching my father and I picked up the accordion when I was 7,” he said. “I didn’t think I could get the hang of it.”
He persisted. At 18, “when my talent caught up with my voice,” someone told him about a competition sponsored by the American Accordionists Association. The competition was open to musicians playing all styles from polka to classical. Rubin ended up winning the title of Hottest Accordionist.
Rubin prides himself as much on his mastery of his instrument as his mastery of zydeco. His virtuosity accounts for his popularity in Europe with its long tradition of accordion playing, he said.
Rubin said: “The people in Finland just love it almost like a baby loves milk. They go crazy for it.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 September 2011 13:36

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