Grammy-nominated Cajun group performs today in Yellow Springs



Plenty of musicians start bands as preteens and then move on to other projects. However, Chris Stafford of Feufollet, performing at The Foundry Theater at Antioch College in Yellow Springs on Wednesday, Feb. 21, is the rare 36-year-old musician still leading the band he formed when he was 11.

“Feufollet has been a band in some way, shape or form since 1999,” Stafford said. “I was 12 when I made our first album. Being a professional musician is the only job I’ve ever had in my life. It’s all I’ve ever really known. I’ve been doing this since I was a little kid and I’ve been playing in this band the whole time. I’m the only remaining original member from the first iteration when we were young. People have been in and out of lineup through the years.

“This musical culture here in Lafayette, La. is very collaborative and inclusive so most of us play in at least two bands,” he continued. “A lot of us in the band are in three or more bands. We are very busy gigging musicians. We gig a whole lot locally with other bands, but Feufollet has gotten to a point where it’s more of a touring act. We do sometimes play locally for festivals and things like that but we’re not really hitting the club gigs every weekend.”

Bilingual band

The Grammy-nominated group, pronounced Fo-fo-lay, mixes Cajun music with honky-tonk country and modern Americana. The lyrics are presented in either English or Louisiana Cajun French. The band’s discography includes “La Bande Feufollet” (1999), “Belle Louisiane” (2001), “Tout Un Beau Soir” (2004), “Cow Island Hop” (2008) and “En Couleurs” (2010). The latest studio album, “Two Universes,” was released in 2015. “Prends Courage,” a career-spanning retrospective of previously unreleased Feufollet recordings, was released in 2019.

“We theoretically have plans to go do some recording in Nashville at some point, maybe later this year,” Stafford said. “We don’t have anything fully firmed up yet but it’s definitely something we want to do in the future. We love making records and we think it’s absolutely a worthwhile thing but we’re all going in a million directions musically with so many projects. We’re so busy and kind of all over the place. We get everybody all together whenever we can but to actually do a whole full-length record is going to take some planning.”



No laughing matter

One of the group’s best-known songs, a cover of Brian Eno’s “Baby’s on Fire,” started as a joke. It became a live favorite and was released as a single in 2017.

“We worked up a version of the song and played it live for years,” Stafford said. “People would request it, so we put out the single. It might be the most popular thing we’ve ever done. People ask for it all the time. They play it locally here on the radio.

“I remember going to a station that plays more traditional Cajun music, zydeco and country to do an interview,” he continued. “A lot of our records are not very straight up Cajun music and they’re like, ‘I don’t know, we’re probably not going to play most of this.’ But that cover of a Brian Eno song is their favorite, however that happened. They play it all the time on that station. It has some appeal I guess.”

In session

When he’s not performing, Stafford spends much of his time at Staffland Studio, the recording facility he owns and operates in Lafeyette. He has recorded acts like Cedric Watson, Steve Riley, Blake Miller and the Revelers.

“I’m working in the recording studio right now,” Stafford said. “Sometimes you have a dry spell in the studio, but for whatever reason I’ve been busy lately. I’m working on a collaboration with a guy here in town that I produce a lot of stuff with named Chas Justus. He plays guitar in a Cajun zydeco band from Lafayette called the Revelers. We received some funding to do a various artists EP of new original songs in Louisiana French. I get to do a lot of Cajun music in my studio. When I first opened the place, I was doing a lot of the local indie rock bands and stuff.

“I was younger and that’s the kind of people that were calling me and maybe trusted me,” Stafford continued. “As I’ve progressed and gotten older, I’ve done quite a lot of recording with all the Cajun bands around town. It has been very cool because there are people who are contributing new music and new lyrics in our traditional language, which I’m super excited about.”

Back in the van

For now, Stafford is focused on the nine-date stretch of Midwest shows that brings Feufollet to Yellow Springs.

“We haven’t necessarily had as many opportunities to all get together as Feufollet and go on the road that much since COVID,” he said. “We’re slowly getting our way back out on the road and getting into touring again. This is the first tour of this length we’ve done in a very long while. We did the Dayton Cityfolk Festival two or three times but it’s been a while so it will be great to get back to that area.”

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Who: Feufollet

Where: The Foundry Theater at Antioch College, 920 Corry St., Yellow Springs

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21

Cost: $30 general admission, $15 current Antioch College students and children 17 and younger More info:

Artist info:

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