Tybee welcomes ‘Zydeco Junkie’ Chubby Carrier and his Bayou Swamp Band

By Kim Wade/Do Savannah

Grammy award-winning zydeco musician Chubby Carrier says people tell him his music makes them happy.

“A lot of people say to me, ‘Why we need to go to a psychiatrist when we got Chubby Carrier?’”

If you’ve missed the Louisiana-based Carrier and his Bayou Swamp Band the handful of times they’ve been to Savannah, you’ll finally get your chance to see what all the fuss is about when they stop at Tybee Post Theater at 8 p.m. Aug. 14. It’s billed as a “Zydeco Summer Party.”

Carrier is known in zydeco circles as an accordion virtuoso, and he says going into the music business was a natural progression that began in childhood. Carrier follows in the footsteps of his father Roy Carrier, his grandfather Warren Carrier and cousins Bebe and Calvin Carrier; all are considered legends in zydeco music. He says he began his music career at 12 playing drums with his father’s band, then started playing the accordion at 15.

When asked if he thought about going a different direction once he was old enough to choose his own path, he quickly says, “No, no, no.”

“I always wanted to be a zydeco artist,” he says. “I’m a third generation … and I was born and raised around it; it’s in my blood.”

He explains that zydeco is a mix of his favorite music genres: blues, ’70s funk, R&B and rock ’n’ roll. He’s also quick to say zydeco is not the same as Cajun music, even though people tend to try to put them in the same category.

“Zydeco is unique in its own way; it’s definitely its own genre,” he says. “Cajun is more like two-step country with lots of waltzes.”

He says he and his band are looking forward to returning to the Savannah area because the audiences here are more casual and laid-back.

“They love music and they always tell us they love that stuff; it’s contagious,” he adds. “We love the fact they invite us to be a part of that.”

Carrier also says his band doesn’t arrive at a venue with a set list.

“I just read the audience once we start playing,” he explains. “I can perform to the crowd and watch what they are doing and go from there.”

And he enjoys the shows just as much as the audience.

“I love to see an audience and give them a little taste of what I grew up on. I absolutely love it … I sit here and think about the days I lived on the road traveling with my music and I’m glad I did it when I was younger,” he laughs. “We don’t have to travel as much anymore, but I did it because I loved it. I wanted to spread the zydeco gospel all over the world.”


What: Zydeco Summer Party with Chubby Carrier

When: 8-10 p.m. Aug. 14

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $25 or $22.50 for members

Info: www.tybeeposttheater.org