Concert goers are in for a frenzy of foot-stomping

By Gus Bode

While audiences may be caught off guard by the French lyrics, its one of the more interesting and unique aspects of Dennis Stroughmatt and Creole Stomp’s music.

The Sunset Concert tonight, which will take place at Turley Park, will feature the band’s Mississippi River Valley French Creole Music. The tunes are catchy, reminiscent of a Louisiana-style story. The fiddling in every song inspires foot tapping that’s hard to stop.

The band is no stranger to playing at outdoor venues with hundreds of previous events under their belt. Lead singer, accordion and fiddle player Dennis Stroughmatt said while he was unsure of the exact number, he is certain the band has played more than 200 outside shows.


According to the band’s website, the most common reaction from audiences is, “who are they, and where do they come from?”

Stroughmatt founded the Illinois-based band in 2002 right here in Carbondale. He has been playing the fiddle for more than 20 years and was taught to play Creole and Cajun style accordion by his inspirations, Dexter and Morris Ardoin. The musical style of the band is a tribute to the old sounds of Cajun and Zydeco with an updated twist.

The Creole Stomp part of the band is made up of Robert Russel, Rob Crumm and Jon Watson. Russel, ‘the blues man,’ is also a Carbondale native and plays lead guitar, slide guitar, lap steel guitar as well as vocals. Crumm, ‘the ace of bass,’ plays bass guitar, guitar, banjo, accordion and mandolin. Watson, ‘the dawg,’ plays drums, mandolin and banjo.

Stroughmatt said some artists who influence him include Creole fiddler Canray Fontenot, Western swing singer/fiddler Wade Ray and Cajun swing fiddler Hadley Castille. The group recently came out with a fourth album, “Things I might have been,” which Stroughmatt said is sort of like a tribute to Ray.

Ray heavily influenced Stroughmatt as his mentor while he was in graduate school at SIUC in the mid 90s. Stroughmatt said his favorite thing about being in a band is  the ability to share their music with fun-loving crowds all around the country.

“We always love to have Carbondale on our touring schedule when time permits,” said Stroughmatt. “We love to play music and entertain. It’s who we are.”

Darce Olund can be reached at [email protected] or 536-3311 ext.268