(A)typical Paris Weekend

Who couldn’t use a little more honky-tonk in their lives?

It’s not every weekend in Paris that you discover delicious vegan Chinese food then see hipsters swaying to Hank Williams. Throw in a wedding and a friend visiting from out-of-town and you’ve got yourself a party.

Bringing country music to the Parisian masses

Let me stick with the honky-tonk for a moment, though. You’ll find plenty of jazz in Paris. Rock, chanson, electro, too. But rare is the honky-tonk venue (actually, are there any? please let me know!)

I can’t say I really grew up on country music. But I can tell you that hearing it in Paris gave me a nostalgic pang. It’s a uniquely American sound, somehow even more familiar when you’re far from home.

My new friend Ericka brought a group called The Brocanteers to the Cafe Courant, a buzzing bar on Rue du Faubourg Sainte-Antoine (at Rue de Cotte). A bit surprised to see the house packed for honky-tonk, I quickly entered into the fray.

Ericka writes plenty of her own songs, but did many crowd-pleasing covers, too. (Who doesn’t have a Johnny Cash favorite?) With special guest Sal Bernardi, a frequent guitarist for Ricki Lee Jones, the music had a magic spark. My friend Dani remarked that hearing the slide guitar reminded her of home.

So much is in the lyrics – that aching heart sentiment is probably what stirred my wistful longing. I wondered how much the audience could really appreciate it without understanding the words, but it made me happy to see them getting into the groove.

Comfort for a homesick heart on a rainy Friday night: If the Parisians can get down with honky-tonk, there is definitely plenty of promise left in this town.

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11 Responses to “(A)typical Paris Weekend”


  1. 1 Dani March 22, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Our blogs are crossing paths! :) Love it.

  2. 3 Delana March 22, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Last summer, while a friend from the states was visiting, we happened upon a country music festival in the Luberon. It was mildly bizarre..complete with Harley Davidsons, line dancing, and plenty of American flags.I’m not a huge country music fan, but you’re absolutely right…it’s a true American music form and it caused a wave of nostalgia. So much so that I wrote an article about it for a newspaper back home.I have since learned that there are many of these festivals all over France during the summer months. Brush off your cowboy boots!

    • 4 parisimperfect March 22, 2010 at 10:54 am

      You know how lots of people answer the question with “what kind of music do you like” with “anything but country and rap?” Yeah, well, I would sometimes say that, too. But country music in France somehow seems so awesome now and I’m looking for a pair of cowboy boots, stat. (As for rap, if I can dance to it, I won’t complain anymore, either).

      The music + Harley Davidsons + line dancing + American flags might have been a bit much for me, though who knows. That must have been pretty funny! Thanks for letting me know about this – I’ll be on the lookout. (Plus, nice to dream of summer) :)

  3. 5 pariskarin March 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Sounds really cool, Sion! You had a busy weekend. I liked the photos at Dani’s blog. It’s funny what can trigger those “nostalgia pains” eh? (I love that term for it, BTW. Sounds kind of like “neuralgia”, too, lol.)

    I’m off to check out your TIP.

    Be well.
    Karin
    (an alien parisienne)

  4. 7 Adam March 23, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Karel Beer and his Beer Necessities set up organise a lot of concerts in Paris, and he is definitely partial to a bit of American country music. See what he’s got lined up here, or better still, make requests for things you’d like to see: http://www.anythingmatters.com/

    Personally I can’t stand the genre I’m afraid!

    • 8 parisimperfect March 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm

      Hey Adam,

      Great! Thanks for the link!

      Call it the homesick syndrome. I never considered myself partial to country music, either, but somehow hearing it in Paris far from home made my day.

  5. 9 Adam March 23, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    The Fargo record label in Paris also deal a lot in Americana, and they now have a shop in Paris too. I guess that would be a good place to go to find out about country rock concerts and venues in Paris.

    http://www.fargorecords.com/home.php

    http://www.fargostore.com/mod/index.php


  1. 1 Un Tel Travail « paris (im)perfect Trackback on February 9, 2011 at 1:41 am

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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