Marty Christian
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Marty Christian

Lafayette, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1931 | SELF

Lafayette, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1931
Solo Blues Acoustic




"Christian achieves an artistic milestone"

"Marty Christian originally intended this as a solo project since his songs really didn’t fit his band Rue Boogaloo’s funky-bluesy grooves.
At least that’s what he thought until monster bassist Lee Allen Zeno (Buckwheat Zydeco) and jazz drummer Frank Kincel heard ’em. They wanted in and essentially shaped Christian’s solo affair with a Boogaloo foundation on most tracks.

Christian achieves an artistic milestone with a handful of songs that were written from a third-person perspective.

It’s something he has rarely done but through various encounters, the experiences of others were transformed sonically, such as the offshore worker yearning for reconciliation (“Louisiana, Hold My Baby”) and the ex-con trying to live clean (“Payment Down”).

On “Her Promised Land,” a young mother attempts to battle her way through insurmountable obstacles. The title song sports two versions, an electric and a heartfelt acoustic version.

Despite Christian’s folkie sensibility, he also defies strict categorization. His vocals occasionally border on soul-ish and he dives into blues, swamp pop and infectious, Zeno-powered funk at the drop of a hat.

Additionally, he’s an impressive finger picker—witness the ripping jazz-tinged romp “Too Much.” Christian may not be easy to pigeonhole but he’s nobody’s remora either." - Offbeat Magazine, Feb 2015 Review by: Dan Willging - Offbeat

"There seems to be hope in these blues songs"

"Honestly, when a white guy from Ohio puts out an album with a name like What I Came Here to Do, it carries a very large possibility of being a cheesy affair and sold in the “Louisiana Good Time Music” bin at whatever French Quarter tourist shop has a place for it right alongside rubber alligators and gumbo paddles. It’s almost certain that the “what” the musician came to do is something like have a good time, party all night or some other stereotype equally steeped in white guy blues. Honestly, Marty Christian should have picked another name for this record because that’s not what, apparently, he came to do.

Christian’s been in Louisiana 11 years, seemingly soaking up touches of the sounds and correctly redirecting them into his own — not throwing a rubboard or accordion in and calling it swamp blues. Instead, he just shows a few shades of what he borrowed from these genres. “Last Train,” for example, is such a close cousin to a Leadbelly track that it’s worth googling to make sure. “Too Much” reflects his Louisiana tenure, adding a jazzy blues touch.

Unlike the records in those tourist traps, this is all original material, not standards that have been covered (poorly) for the upteempth time. And backed by Lee Zeno (Buckwheat’s bassist) and Frank Kincel (Bluerunners and Specklers drummer), it’s a tight record with Delta blues minimalism yet smooth. Unlike the hard time blues men of old, Christian’s gentle and hopeful voice isn’t coming out of a throat full of gravel.

Though there are a lot of “my baby” songs here, Christian goes introspectively deep in penning them, avoiding the low hanging fruit of easy cheese blues.

Contrary to the genre, there seems to be hope in these blues songs. The title track — after it lists four verses of mistakes he made — ends with the assertion, “I just came here to leave with you.” “Louisiana, Hold my Baby” tells of heading offshore and fighting on the way out the door. Yet, by the end, it sounds like he might get the girl back.

Going his own route, Christian’s songwriting skills keep him out of the clearance bin. He’s not trying to reinvent or fuse the blues by any means, which is just fine." - Nick Pittman, the Ind, Lafayette, LA, Feb 2015 - The IND

"If James Taylor had the Blues..."

James Taylor sometimes deceives himself into thinking he’s got the blues. If Sweet Baby James actually had them—or, more accurately, understood them—he’d probably sound a lot like guitarist Marty Christian, whose debut Bluesicana can’t help but come off genial and uplifting, even in the midst of heartbreak and/or seduction. The 10 originals here (accompanied only by Joseph Edwards’ rubboard) comprise the most jovial blues album to come out of the Sportsmen’s Paradise in many a year. Example? The song “My Mistakes” is all about how Marty can get past them.

Christian can pick, native of Austin and resident of Lafayette that he is. (That “C” in the album title speaks volumes about his regionality). Check out the way the groove choogles from Memphis to the Delta and back on “Willow Tree Blues,” or the smooth jazz caress of “Lonely Man.” And even if his vocals are rich with the Hootiesque nuances that suggest there’s a little suburbia standing between him and the land. They’re still dead-on, sailing expertly through the Cajun nuances of the swamp pop gem “Walk Around With Me” and conjuring up just the right mix of John Mayer silk and vintage Ron Records belt on the closing lament “Pictures On Her Dresser.” He doesn’t sound that torn up. but there’s no law that says the blues, even acoustic and vaguely authentic, have to be steeped in misery or desperation. Sometimes it’s enough to understand the language.

- Robert Fontenot, Offbeat, New Orleans, Louisiana, Jan 2007 - Offbeat Magazine

"When it comes to making music, blues guitarist and singer Marty Christian likes to let it flow"

When it comes to making music, blues guitarist and singer Marty Christian likes to let it flow. There's no playlist, no schedule. Just pick up the instruments and follow the inspiration. "The whole idea for me, when I pick up the guitar, is that I have no preconceived idea of the song," said Christian. "I feel that is a really big element of a lot of blues-based musicians.

"Once you have that language of the blues down, you don't want to go in there and memorize the speech. You want to chit chat, scream, cry, jump around with the music. Who knows what songs are going to come out?"

The free-flowing blues shines through on the self-titled, debut CD of Rue Boogaloo. The disc contains 10 original songs, all written by Christian, along with music from some of Lafayette's most experienced and well-traveled musicians.

Drummer Frank Kincel, who has performed and recorded with The Bluerunners, has deep jazz roots. Besides playing with Fats Domino, Snooks Eaglin and other greats, Lee Allen Zeno is a longtime bassist with the Grammy- and Grammy-winning band, Buckwheat Zydeco...

Herman Fuselier, The Daily Advertiser, Lafayette, LA, March 2nd, 2012 - Daily Advertiser

"a compelling original repertoire"

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Marty Christian first made himself known in the early 90s as a Blues radio DJ in that town. Then from one side of Austin, Texas to the other side of Eastern France, he honed his skills as a performer. Returning to the scene in Lafayette, Louisiana in 2003, he made his first solo album, "Bluesicana" in 2006. Marty Christian is sometimes heard at the side of pianist Henry Gray, but it is only with the sole support of Andy Cornett on harmonica on two songs (Piney wood Sentimental boogie and blues) that he chooses to speak here. In this "Underground Blues" produced by Evan Jones, there are no mysteries to decipher in the words, unattainable notes to dissect. Just the pleasure of listening to an interpreter in a compelling original repertoire...
- Dominique Lagarde, Soul Bag, FRANCE, March 2009 - Soul Bag

"Marty Christian is into the Basics"

Marty Christian is into the basics, and it’s reflected in the blues and soul music he plays, as well as his original music.
“Where it comes from is like the guitar of the blues guys is really my focus on the guitar work. And then the singing is a soul sound. Even though I may be doing a blues song, I may sing it like a soul singer,” he said. “Or I might do a soul number and throw some blues guitar in there.” And then there’s Christian’s original stuff. “I guess it combines a lot of my favorite music from Louisiana and even Texas,” he said, adding “and Chicago blues and Memphis soul as well. It’s not to say I’m a master of any of that stuff. I’m just influenced by it all.”

You can hear it for yourself Saturday evening at the Blue Moon Saloon when Christian performs at his CD release party for “Bluesicana.” Christian said playing his acoustic guitar helps him “get there,” but, when he plugs it in, “I can even get to a different place that’s real close to electric blues,” he said. “With the washboard and the electric acoustic kind of turned up it’s very cool. You can get very powerful with it, but you can also turn the volume down for the acoustic soulful ballads.
“I didn’t think about all that stuff; it just started happening,” Christian said. “I’m a real, well, I don’t want to use the word ‘purist,’ but I’m a real, real big fan of the electric blues of the ’50s and ’60s and the soul music.”

As a blues disc jockey in Cleveland, Christian got immersed in the music of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, “to the lesser known cats like Johnny Littlejohn, Magic Sam …,” he said. There was also the soul music of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and William Bell.

“They had so much going on that they never even really got very popular,” Christian said. “The music that became popular was more Motown and real over-the-top stuff like James Brown and Aretha Franklin — who I love to death — but even in their beginning days it was a much simpler style that they were doing that really, really motivated me.”

It’s here you’ll find the essence of Christian’s music. Call it rootsy or earthy; a back-to-basics style that may well have brought him to Lafayette as a resident last year after commuting from Austin for three years, almost all of it playing guitar in Thomas “Big Hat” Fields’ zydeco band. “Playing old-school zydeco with ‘Big Hat’ was great because it wasn’t watered down at all,” Christian said. “Everybody (in the band) was so attentive to what everybody was doing. I didn’t see it like, ‘Oh, it’s a very simple form. You do one or two chords and you know the music.’ I saw it as every single song needs to have as much power as possible, and that’s the way they saw it, and we just jelled right off the bat. In those 2 and a half years, every single song was important. It was amazing.

“And that’s the way I see blues and soul music,” he said. “I’d never seen that before.”

Then something from within, a muse perhaps, kept tugging at Christian’s guitar strings, and it wasn’t zydeco music, either. It slowly started about five years ago, then about three years ago he wrote a couple of songs and put them out on CD with some covers.

“The weird thing that started happening was that I started writing my own music,” he said. “And people really remarked on the original stuff, and I thought that was pretty wild. I was really excited about the covers I’d done — they’re not really covers, they’re interpretations — because they’ve really been changed up.”

Inspired and enthused, if not perplexed, Christian left Big Hat’s band to pursue a solo career.
“I ended up writing so much music that it kind of became more of my focus to do what I was writing. I had to figure it out. I had to figure out what was going on,” Christian said. “I tried to do both, but eventually we started booking our same gigs the same nights.”

Christian stayed with the band until Fields found another guitar, then he jumped into his own music with both feet and a guitar.

“I always wanted to do this kind of ‘pure’ music, I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” he said. “Originally, I wanted to do it in a band. Then I wanted to do it with somebody else’s band, but my singing became real important to me,” he said. And when you’re not fronting your own band, well, singing your own songs for three hours a night could be considered somewhat presumptuous, if not outright tacky.

“That was really a different thing. My guitar was so important to me most of my life (since age 12; Christian is 36), but the past 10 years, singing has become just as, if not more, important to me as a musical instrument,” Christian said. “And then the writing became a way for me to sing even more. I guess the stuff I write has more of my soul, as opposed to me trying to understand Otis Redding, or B.B. King, or Muddy Waters.”
Dominick Cross, Baton Rouge Advocate - May, 2006 - Baton Rouge Advocate

"a delicious stew of blues, funk, and zydeco: Rue Boogaloo CD review"

Rue Boogaloo Rue Boogaloo is a new project that combines a quartet of seasoned south Louisiana musicians: guitarist and vocalist Marty Christian, currently a member of legendary pianist Henry Gray's band; veteran bassist Lee Allen Zeno (profiled in LB #215); drummer Frank Kincel, co-producer with Zeno of their debut; and late bassist and harpist Andy Cornett, who also served as Henry Gray's manager. Together they serve up a delicious stew of blues, funk, and zydeco that, at album's end, leaves this listener hungry for more.

Christian's sweet, country-tinged voice glides over the easy shuffle of Know What to Do About You, while Cornett's harmonica style brings to mind Jimmy Reed's. The funky jams Everything's Picking Up and They Tell Me swing with a Meters-style appeal; Talk About It and the instrumental Rue Run are fun dancehall romps. Creeper, My Baby's Sweet Like That, and In the Course of a Night are also, each in their own way, made for dancing - of the slow kind; the latter track features Christian singing in both English and Cajun French. The lovely, gently rolling Special Friend brings the party to an all-too-soon close. Rue Boogaloo is not currently scheduled to tour this year. "We got something so good, Lord, that it hurts this much to lose," Christian pleads in the wistful Had a Good Run. Here's hoping Rue Boogaloo's run is far from over.

- Melanie Young, Living Blues , August, 2012 - Living Blues

"Even Whiteboys got to Shout"

"It's kind of like I had all the keys but I didn't have the doors yet. I know I had them damn keys for a long time, maybe my whole life," Marty Christian speaks metaphorically, his voice full of too much soul for a long-haired, sandal-wearing white boy from Cleveland. Despite his physical appearance, his Mid-Western upbringing and a name like Marty Christian, the guitarist and singer is well-versed in the blues, evident in the acoustic sets he performs in his new Lafayette stomping grounds.
Specifically, the doors he finally lined up his keys with are Thomas "Big Hat" Fields & His Foot Stomping Zydeco Band. Spurred by his love of blues and a knack for the French language, Christian -- a Texan at the time -- decided to check out zydeco music and happened to read about Café Des Amis breakfast sets on a Web site.
"See, I already speak French, I love blues -- zydeco is a natural thing for me," says Christian, also known as Whiteboy. When he came to the Zydeco Breakfast gig, he met Fields' wife Geneva, who informed him they were looking for a new guitarist. After the show, he spoke French with the band for three hours to prove himself.
Though he laughs about the trial, it's apparent he is not joking. It took 15 calls before Fields began to take him seriously and invited him to play a Labor Day gig. For a year he played with the band -- never missing a gig or practice -- although he lived in Austin, Texas.
However, the Lafayette life and music scene are doors he's been wandering toward since he was a teenager. In August 2004, he introduced his solo acoustic rhythm & blues performances to Blue Moon happy hours. To play here, he would crash on someone's floor or couch for a few days out of the week before commuting back to Austin. As he began to do the trip once a week, gas prices rose making it a costly venture. Two months ago he pulled up stakes, leaving behind the live music capital of the world to became a Lafayette resident.
His sets cross the charts of old blues and R&B. He does write original material, but he stresses the interpreter aspect of the blues, using his voice and tone to re-invent classics by Ottis Redding, Sam Cook, Albert Collins and the like. He sees it as writing music on stage as it comes to him through his record vault of a mind.
If you would have asked Christian about his new home a few years ago, he wouldn't have had the foggiest idea where Lafayette was or what life down here was all about. Lafayette is the latest stopping point for world traveler Christian. After growing up in Cleveland, a prime place for the blues he says because of its mid point between Chicago and New York, he got into radio. At 20, he left Cleveland for the first time, traveling to France for college, but admits "I didn't' do too much studying, but I did a whole lot of music."
Quickly, Christian learned French and says he blended into the lifestyle so seamlessly, people wanted to fight him, thinking he was a Frenchman pretending to be an American just to pick up chicks. From there, he touched down at various spots across the United States, even venturing up to Alaska. His most recent relocation, Austin, lasted about six years. He went through several bands before he built his own guitar and went solo -- because he says its hard for him to find someone with his range.
"I just wanted to learn the music. I just wanted to be somewhere where I could get in with good guys and that's it," he explains. "(I) never wanted any more than that until I felt like I feel now, like I understand what I am delivering, what's coming to me."
While it's not the France he felt so comfortable in, the Acadiana life and the diversity of American music make his new home a favorite.
"For me it's a perfect blend of the French life and the American music life," Christian says. " I don't know if that would fit everybody in Austin, and I don't know if it's going to be a good career move.
"If I got to work at a car place five days a week and I can only play music on the weekend, so be it, as long as I get to sing my music for people who give a shit, for real, that's what I want."

Times of Acadiana, Lafayette, LA - May 2005 - Times of Acadiana

"Underground Blues is everything that the blues should be"

Underground Blues CD Gritty, down and dirty and definitely hurting, Underground Blues is everything that the blues should be. A largely stripped down recording of Marty Christian on guitar and vocal, he is joined by Andy Cornett and his harmonica on “Piney Wood Boogie.” Together they certainly punch above their weight. “Last Bus to Memphis” leaves you down and out; standing on the dusty road in the rising steam of summer heat. There are some real nice little guitar accents in this song that really set the mood. Steeped in traditional sound... - Nancy Vivolo, Victory Review, April, 2009 - Victory Review

"Acoustic-flecked balladry..."

Taking his inspiration from the legendary forefathers of blues and soul, Marty Christian rises up from the soulful sludge of Muddy Waters to meet the acoustic slow burn of Jimmy Reed's Southern shuffle. His newest album, Bluesicana, is a roots-inspired romp through acoustic-flecked balladry marked by sure-handed guitar filigree.

Independent Weekly - Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, November, 2006 - Independent Weekly - Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina

"Review for Rue Boogaloo"

"Smack dab in the middle of where Jimmy Reed, R.L. Burnside and the Meters would all crash and smash."
- Dan Wilging Feb, 2013 - Offbeat Magazine


What I came Here to Do (2014)

  1. What I Came Here To Do
  2. Her Promised Land
  3. Louisiana, Hold My Baby
  4. Last Train (Solo)
  5. Too Much
  6. It Doesn’t Matter Now
  7. I Got Mine
  8. Just For Today We’ll Stay
  9. Walk Around With Me
  10. Payment Down
  11. What I Came Here To Do (Solo)


  • Marty Christian – Guitar and Vocals
  • Frank Kincel – Drums
  • Lee Zeno – Bass

Rue Boogaloo (2012)

"Smack dab in the middle of where Jimmy Reed, R.L. Burnside and the Meters would all crash and smash." - Dan Wilging, Offbeat Magazine Feb 2013

Underground Blues (2009)

  1. Piney Wood Boogie
  2. Last Bus To Memphis
  3. Never Find A True Love Again
  4. Brought Everything I COuld
  5. What Kind Of Fool Am I
  6. Sentimental Blues
  7. Too Much
  8. Underground Blues (Inst.)
  9. Deep Blue Sea
  10. Down South
  11. Bluebird


  • Marty Christian – Guitar and Vocals
  • Andy Cornett – Haramonica

Bluesicana (2006)

  1. They Tell Me
  2. Old Times Sake
  3. Willow Tree Girl
  4. My Mistakes
  5. Lonely Man
  6. Somehow
  7. Sally Mae Blues
  8. I Lost My Love
  9. Walk Around Me
  10. Pictures On Her Dresser


  • Marty Christian – Guitar and Vocals
  • Joseph Edward – Rub Board
  • Don Carpenter – Accordion



“Marty Christian recalls the first sides of an acoustic Snooks Eaglin and at times, Van Morrison..." - Soul Bag, FRANCE

Marty Christian's original music draws on influences that range from Americana, Soul, Country, Folk and Blues and touches on the New Orleans R&B, Memphis Soul singers, Chicago Blues and doses of Swamp Pop from the city he has adopted as his new home since 2003: Lafayette, Louisiana. Marty performs solo or with his band.

Marty's guitar playing has earned him spots in the bands of Henry Gray (piano player for Chess records and Howlin' Wolf) and Thomas " Big Hat" Fieds (Maison de Blues artist) and Carol Fran (legendary Soul Singer on Excello and BlackTop) as well as stage time with such luminaries as David "Honeyboy" Edwards, John Cephas, Toni Price and John Mooney.

Currently, Marty's focus has been on his own songwriting.  His latest CD (his 4th) once again features all original music with the masterful accompaniment of the musicians from Rue Boogaloo (Frank Kincel, Lee Allen Zeno) as well as three soulful solo acoustic tracks.  Dan Wilging from Offbeat has called this cd "an artistic milestone" for Christian.  He currently performs around Lafayette with his trio and tours as a solo artist on the acoustic guitar.

Marty's song "Louisiana, Hold My Baby" was nominated for best R&B song in the John Lennon songwriting 2014 II contest. Here's some info about the song and Marty's influences as a songwriter:

1.  How was the song recorded?  What equipment did you use?  Who is singing? - The song was recorded in Lafayette, LA at Evangeline Studios.  We started with the vocal and the acoustic guitar with the Drums and Bass live in the other room.  Later I went back and redid the vocals, acoustic guitar and added electric guitars. I wanted to have as much live as possible but not lose any quality in the vocals.  The backing musicians are Frank Kincel on drums and Lee Allen Zeno on Bass.

2.   What inspired the creation of your song?  Many of the people in the Acadiana area around Lafayette either work offshore or have family members that do.  After the Deep Water Horizon explosion it really shook me how much was lost in an instant in the lives of the 11 men that died.  I know that after the explosion, the national focus was on the environmental damage which is incalculably disastrous but I could not and can not stop thinking about how that must have felt to be there on their last day and what they may have left behind.  The song came about one day like it was a story of someone I knew but I didn't know who it was.  The lyrics and refrain all came together in the one sitting.  There was actually a lot more to their story but basically the couple in the song are in the middle of a fight.  The man works on an oil rig and often uses his two weeks offshore to basically run from the pressures of their marriage.  In the song he is about to come home and he's made up his mind to make things work and stop running away.

5. Is there anything else we should know or that you can tell us about yourself that makes your “story” unique? Much of my interest started in Cleveland where I grew up through the many great Blues radio shows there but was inspired to perform and write during my stay in France where I started my several bands in 1990 and 1994. Later, I moved to Austin, TX in 1992 and again in 1997 where I put together several bands and started writing my own songs while working for Collings Guitars.  It was inevitable that  I would be drawn to the French Acadiana area and Lafayette, Louisiana though and in 2003 I joined up with a wonderful Zydeco band and never left. Since moving to Lafayette, I have written material for and released four original CD's. I've also recorded with Henry Gray and the Cats, Carol Fran and Thomas Fields.

Band Members