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Despite strong start, Ledet gives career a ‘reboot’

Corey Ledet

Credit: Corey Ledet | photo by David Simpson | www.cajunzydecophotos.com

Corey Ledet has every reason to be proud of his music career. Twelve years ago, Ledet left his native Houston for south Louisiana, with an accordion and no idea of what would happen next.

After landing gigs in Maui, Russia and Caribbean cruise ships in the years that followed, Ledet has no complaints.

“To say that I literally started with absolutely nothing, I think I did pretty good by myself – no managers, no record companies, no booking agents, just me,” said Ledet, who turns 34 in August. “I moved down here with just my accordion and an ’88 Chevy Celebrity.

“Now, I have more accordions, a trailer full of equipment, two vehicles, six acres of land, a Grammy nomination. I think I did pretty good to say I did it myself.”

Ledet is now giving his career what he calls “a reboot.” The talented accordionist will remain a member of the jam band Soul Creole.

But Ledet’s last gig with his own zydeco band will be Oct. 31 at Feed & Seed in downtown Lafayette. After that, he’ll take time off to work on his health and music.

A diabetic with severe allergies, Ledet is scheduled to have surgery in April to remove nasal polyps. After that, he’ll start an intense allergy treatment regimen.

Diet and exercise will become top priorities as Ledet looks to reverse his diabetes. Several years ago, Ledet landed in the emergency room after his blood sugar level shot up to 500 and completely blurred his vision.

While he builds his health, Ledet plans to grow his musical muscle too.

“I’m trying to get my health back in order and stop stressing and being frustrated,” said Ledet. “That irritates my body and makes me stress eat. That’s not good.

“I’ve always wanted to play different styles of music, but I never was able to do it. I never had the complete, proper band to do so, to become a variety band and zydeco. Taking this break will give me a chance to search around, meet some new musicians and try to get with them, get tight and build a chemistry.

“So when I go out there, I can go from ‘Tous Les Temps en Temps’ to ‘Uptown Funk, or from ‘Uptown Funk’ to ‘Neon Moon.’ I need a full, complete band to do that.”

Ledet adds there’s a strong chance that he’ll return to UL Lafayette this fall as an instructor in the Traditional Music Program. Classes are twice a week, which will not add to his stress level.

In fact, Ledet said the classroom and career reboot will be relief from a local music scene that he describes as “cut throat.”

“Louisiana seems like a bucket of crabs. When one crab is trying to get up and get out, four of them are trying to bring that one down. They’ll do whatever they have to do to hurt you, to bring you down, as long as they get what they need and what they want, they don’t care.

“They’ll steal your musicians. They’ll tell people not to hire you or that they’re not going to play if I come. That cuts me out of a lot of

“Therefore, I don’t have work and my guys aren’t playing, so they have to go play with other people to make money. I’m messed up on both ends. It’s very stressful.”

Ledet’s word reminds me of the title of Terrance Simien’s 1993 CD, “There’s Room For Us All.” Many musicians could reboot and take those words to heart.

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