La Belle Blondine
When you studied US history, you probably never learned about the French Creole settlers who founded the Illinois territory 300 years ago along the Mississippi and the Wabash Rivers. With the The Louisiana Purchase the influence of the French was locked away. Missouri Fiddler Dennis Stroughmatt has been on a quest to reestablish an understanding of the folk life of this Midwestern French musical tradition.
His fiddling style is an energetic and driving combination of Celtic, Canadian and Old-Time styles as he strives to be the bridge between contemporary Canadian and Louisiana Cajun styles. The crack band is not the typical accordion-based ensemble but it more resembles a traditional country band with guitar, mandolin and bass and the occasional triangle. I can easily imagine this wonderful music gracing a small bandstand at a barn dance on a summer Saturday night.
What the listener learns from this fine CD is how much this music has been incorporated into modern day fiddle styles. Dennis Stroughmatt is very talented musician who is a great ambassador for Midwestern French Creole music. Listen and learn … but more importantly: enjoy this infectious music!
— Tom Druckenmiller