To Do: Marcella and Her Lovers
by Aaron Sarlo • February 23, 2017
“What does a smile sound like?” asks the bio section of Marcella René Simien’s website. I had an answer: zydeco. Turns out I was right! Well, partially right. Marcella Simien, and her band, Her Lovers, perform a fascinating, spirit-filled fusion of Creole roots music and Memphis soul. Songs tempered in zydeco accordion and Creole French buoy Simien’s fierce singing voice like trade winds carrying a fine blend of aromas from uncharted regions of the imagination. Hers is not the work of a shoe-gazing novice, supplanting prefab guitar effects in place of songcraft. Marcella Simien hails from music royalty, namely her father, Terrance Simien, who dutifully featured Marcella on his most recent album, “Dockside Sessions,” winning the pair the Grammy Award in 2014 for Best Regional Roots Album of the Year. To recount the highlights of Marcella and Her Lovers’ career is to weave a tapestry of successes that wind through Sub Pop Records, The Oblivians, The Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Boo Mitchell and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. But, simply reading about a band without taking its music into your soul for judgment is like reading a menu to learn about the genius of a great chef. So, while a smile might sound like Cajun-spiced pidgin belted drunkenly over the wheeze and whinny of a Grammy-worthy band, Marcella and Her Lovers sound like something slightly different. And it’s much better than just a smile.