Step Rideau and the Zydeco Outlaws
Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws offer traditional sounds from the bandleader’s native Louisiana fused with the urban vibe of contemporary Houston. Their music fuses influences ranging from old Creole folk songs to classic rhythm & blues to rap and beyond, making them one of the top zydeco bands of the Gulf Coast region where the genre originated.
Stephen Joseph Rideau was born in 1966 in the little St. Landry Parish town of LeBeau, Louisiana. Surrounded by black Creole culture and zydeco music from his infancy, it wasn’t until relocating to Houston in the mid-1980s that he began to play the accordion and eventually formed his own band. Today Step Rideau is widely acknowledged—on both sides of the Sabine River—as one of the living masters of the instrument. He’s also established himself, over the past decade and the course of multiple recordings and festival appearances nationwide, as one of the most prolific and passionate zydeco recording artists, songwriters, and live performers in the region.
Part of Rideau’s appeal is that he brings a true singer’s sensibility to zydeco—not just shouting out the lyrics but soulfully engaging with them to articulate the song, both in English and in Creole French. In that respect, he’s served well by his band of Outlaws, who provide not only fine instrumental accompaniment but also unusually rich and melodious backing vocal harmonies, especially in the case of long-time drummer Jean-Paul Jolivette.
Collectively these players make music that respects the art of the human voice in song as much as it respects the driving rhythms, funky beats, and accordion riffs that make zydeco perhaps the ultimate dance soundtrack for the upper Gulf Coast.