The name Joel Sonnier is a familiar one if you're a fan of Louisiana music. After decades in the business, Sonnier is still busy recording songs. He calls it "Americajun," a blending of American country and Cajun music. Sonnier says one of his first influences was hearing a country music singer perform at a local nightspot.
"The first country entertainer that I ever was introduced to do on stage was the great George Jones,' said Sonnier. "I heard a lot of artists on the radio, watched them on TV. But to watch a performer dead-on was wow!"
Born in Rayne in 1946, Sonnier has recorded 32 albums with 5 of them nominated for a Grammy. He spent his early years listening to others around him.
"I just was soaking it up and listening more in the country side. I got to listening to the great Ray Price, Buck Owens and Glen Campbell. I still fused them with my accordion."
Sonnier slowly started gaining recognition in the music industry.
"I finally got brought in by RCA records with a song called 'Tear Stained Letter' and we did 'Come on Joe.' We went on tour working with Alabama and Charlie Daniels."
In the last few years, Jo-el Sonnier has performed in England and in Caribbean Cruises. He's currently in the studio recording two more albums.