Bios of Ann Savoy and Her Sleepless Knights
Ann Savoy is a musician, an author, a record producer, and a photographer. Her most recent project is a CD of Hot Club de France-pop standards CD with her band Ann Savoy and Her Sleepless Knights. Last summer she made a twice Grammy nominated duet CD with legendary pop idol Linda Ronstadt, “Adieu False Heart “ on the Vanguard label. She worked with T Bone Burnett as associate music producer for the Sony film “All The King’s Men”. As a musician she appears with her son Joel in the film Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood and performs three of the twelve cuts on the accompanying soundtrack on Sony Music, has played guitar, fiddle, and accordion and traveled throughout the world with the Savoy Doucet Cajun Band, The Magnolia Sisters. and the Savoy Family Band. She has recorded on the Arhoolie, Rounder, and Vanguard labels. With her husband, Marc Savoy, she was the subject of Les Blank’s film, Marc and Ann. She also works as an record producer for Vanguard Records, for whom she produced the Grammy nominated tribute to Cajun music, Evangeline Made, featuring, among others, pop and folk idols Linda Ronstadt, John Fogerty, Richard and Linda Thompson, Nick Lowe, and Rodney Crowell performing traditional Cajun tunes and her second tribute Creole Bred, featuring, among others, Cyndi Lauper, David Hidalgo, Tom Tom Club, and Taj Mahal. As a writer, she is the author of the Botkin award winning book, Cajun Music, A Reflection of a People, a book which chronicles the history of Cajun and Zydeco music through interviews, biographies, historic and current photographs, and song transcriptions. She wrote the chapter on Cajun and Zydeco in the recently released book, American Roots Music, Rolling Stone Press, as well as authoring numerous articles on Cajun music and historic CD booklets.
Tom Mitchell is a hard driving swing/jazz guitar player and singer. His "true to style" interpretations of this music make him a much sought after performer and teacher.
In 1993, Tom toured with the legendary recording artist Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks across the United States and around the world. Tom plays guitar on "Beatin' The Heat," the acclaimed CD release by Dan Hicks on Surfdog Records. The record features guest appearances from Bette Midler, Ricki Lee Jones, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and Brian Setzer. Time magazine named it one of the "10 CD's of the Year" and Rolling Stone gave it 3 1/2 stars. Tom can also be heard on "Alive and Lickin," Dan's live record made at the Ironhorse in North Hampton, MA in 2001.
Around the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Tom performs on acoustic and electric guitar with various combos like, The Blue Rhythm Boys (his acoustic group with Jim Stephanson and Ralph Gordon inspired by the hot guitar jazz and blues of the 20's and 30's), Brooks Tegler's Hot Jazz, and with Lindy Hop Heaven, favorites of the East coast dance circuit. He also can be seen with Double Scotch, his hard swinging quintet with Kevin Wimmer, playing everything from Nat Cole to Django Reinhardt. He plays guitar and sings old style jazz and southern vintage blues with Ann Savoy and Her Sleepless Knights.
His three releases from Big L Records "Double Scotch", a spirited collaboration with jazz violinist Kevin Wimmer, "Monday Morning Blues" (The Blue Rhythm Boys) and "The Blue Rhythm Boys Live" have met with acclaim from both the public and the press.
As a teacher and performer Tom has worked at many music and dance workshops and camps such as Ashokan Fiddle and Dance, Pugeot Sound Guitar Workshop, The Swannanoa Gathering, The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and The Augusta Heritage Workshops.
Tom's love of swing guitar shines brightly through his playing and his extensive knowledge and appreciation of jazz history and tradition teamed with a whimsical improvisational style makes him a joy and a pleasure to play with and to listen to.
Kevin Wimmer-Kevin Wimmer has been involved in an intense love/hate relationship with his E-string since the age of three, the same year he passed the five-feet-tall mark. His Manhattan childhood, though lacking in grits'n'gravy, was filled with music: both of his parents are professional classical musicians. Always a rebel, Kevin discovered bluegrass and old-time music, and later, Cajun music, gypsy jazz, and pretty much every other kind of music that stands on the "fiddle" side of the "fiddle versus violin" argument.
Kevin has had the opportunity to study and play with a remarkable lineup of fiddle legends, including Tommy Jarrell, Dennis McGee, Svend Asmussen, Carlton Frank, Canray Fontenot, Wade Fruge, Claude "Fiddler" Williams, Johnny Gimble, Byron Berline, Calvin and Bebe Carriere, and, of course, his long-time mentor, Dewey Balfa.
For several years after college, Kevin inexplicably lived in the California Bay Area, but he did play with several seminal bands out there, including the Good Ol' Persons (with Kathy Kallick), the California Cajun Orchestra (with Danny Poullard and Eric & Suzy Thompson) and Lost Weekend (with Don Burnham and Paul Anastasio). However, it wasn't long before he came to his senses and moved to the yuppie-free state of Louisiana to help found the world-renowned Cajun band Balfa Toujours.
Lately, Kevin keeps busy playing with a number of bands: Ann Savoy and Her Sleepless Knights, the aforementioned Balfa Toujours, Cajun gypsy swing combo the Red Stick Ramblers, all-star band Racines, and occasionally the Ray Abshire Band. He's also been known to record with top-tier folks like Linda Ronstadt, and he's even branched into Hollywood, appearing in an episode of the fantastically obscene HBO drama Deadwood.
In his spare time, Kevin enjoys playing his fiddle, talking about his fiddle, listening to fiddle music, looking for old clips of fiddle players on YouTube, reaching things for his remarkably short girlfriend, and Scrabble.
Joel Savoy, son of Cajun musicians Marc and Ann Savoy, has been raised among all of the greats in Cajun music. As a baby Joel sat in Dewey Balfa’s lap as he played the fiddle, he played with the legendary fiddlers Dennis McGee and Wade Fruge. Frequent visitors to his home were all of the finest musicians of most folk cultures. He began playing cajun fiddle, guitar, and bass at the age of twelve, and has since performed around the world with The Savoy Doucet Cajun Band, The Red Stick Ramblers, The Savoy Family Band, and Ann Savoy and Her Sleepless Knights at events such as festivals, presidential inaugurations, music camps, concerts, etc. He is on over thirteen albums with numerous bands and has produced and engineered others from his home studio in Eunice in which he hand built most of the electronic equipment.. He also plays mandolin, lap steel, banjo,and drums.
He is also an accomplished Cajun fiddle teacher, and has taught at some of the top music camps in the world for five years. He teaches guitar and fiddle from home on a regular basis.
He has been hired as a musician on-screen in two major motion pictures (The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood- Warner Bros., and All The Kings Men- Sony Pictures), and he is on the soundtrack of The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood, performing with Ann Savoy, T Bone Burnett and Allison Kraus.
His hobbies include languages (he learning Italian and Spanish), hiking, rock climbing, antiquing, tennis, cooking, and fishing.
Wilson Savoy, the youngest son of Marc Savoy and Ann Savoy, has made music since before he could walk. As though learning by osmosis in the womb, Wilson could whistle and hum complicated Cajun melodies note for note before he could even speak. He began playing boogie-woogie and blues piano, inspired by Louisiana-native, Jerry Lee Lewis, at the age of ten, and took up the accordion after graduating from high school. His major influences are his father Marc Savoy, Amede Ardoin, and Iry Lejeune. He appears as a musician in the Sony picture, “All The King’s Men”. He is currently very involved in film making and produces music videos and short biography documentary work in Lafayette with his small company, Almena Pictures. His most recent success is his rocking young Cajun band, the Pine Leaf Boys, who recently signed with Arhoolie Records.
Chas Justus-A Memphis, TN, native with a voracious appetite for music, Chas’ versitility can be attributed to his varied musical influences, which include the likes of the Allman Brothers, BB King, and T-Bone Walker. Chas picked up the guitar in high school and soon after moved to Baton Rouge, LA, where he was introduced to the stylings of the great gypsy jazz guitarists and fiery bluegrass flat-picking that, combined with his blues roots, make his style so unique. Chas and his 1938 Roy Smeck Recording King electric arch-top guitar call Breaux Bridge home.At present he travels the land over with the Red Stick Ramblers and also plays with Ann Savoy and her Sleepless Knights.
Eric Frey- A native of Birmingham, AL, Eric's musical tastes fit his current main band, the Red Stick Ramblers',sound perfectly. Eric was raised among bluegrass and the like while attending festivals with his parents as a child. Eric's cajun gypsy swing dreams came true after sharing the bill with the Ramblers at the Acoustic Café in Hayden, AL in 2003.
He is an eagle scout, and aspires one day to be a fluent and diverse jazz musician, though for now, his top priority being the best Rambler he can be. Eric currently resides in Breaux Bridge, LA. He also plays bass with Ann Savoy and her Sleepless Knights.
Glenn Fields-A veteran of the Baton Rouge music scene, Glenn's reputation as a solid, versatile drummer has earned him work with many successful groups, including Racines, The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, and the Bluerunners. Glenn is known as a perfectionist, a necessary quality for all drummers, and counts Ray Charles' country records as one of the main influences on his own style. At present he travels with the great young Cajun gypsy swing band The Red Stick Ramblers and Ann Savoy and her Sleepless Knights.