- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2016

LOREAUVILLE, La. (AP) - Although he says he is seeking a simple lifestyle, Loreauville resident Trent Oubre’s persona just keeps developing more and more layers.

The graphic artist and painter returned to Iberia Parish in 2010, leaving behind a career working for several media outlets in Louisiana and Texas. Oubre has spent his time cultivating local clients and working on his art from the house he inherited from his grandmother. He also is the artist behind the poster for the recent Dave Robicheaux Hometown Literary Festival.

And now he is using the skills he learned from his father to make some noise on the local music scene. A gathering of friends jamming out some Beau Jocque zydeco tunes has turned into a full-fledged band recording its first record and planning to tour the East Coast - with Oubre on frottoir, or rubboard.

Although his place in Zydeco Radio is the first band experience for the 42-year-old New Iberia native, he has had music in his life since his early childhood. His father, Glenn Oubre, was a swamp pop singer and musical entrepreneur of sorts.

“My dad was sort of the original party DJ,” Oubre said. “He brought his turntable out to parties and started spinning records. He was also a swamp pop musician, with bands like Glenn and the Glades, We the People, and GTO. He also had Two for the Show, a DJ operation where dad played drums behind the records.”

His brother has followed more directly in their father’s footsteps. Troy Oubre performed for years as “DJ T-Roy,” spinning reggae and dub mixes across the Gulf South before turning his talents to the studio.

“He has his own production company now,” Trent Oubre said. “Troy’s all into producing and stuff. He’s creating beats, getting them to producers and friends who are on tour with DJs.”

Needless to say, informal jam sessions were a common occurrence in the Oubre household.

“The music was really just about me communicating with my dad and my brother,” Trent Oubre said. “We jammed around on Saturday and Sundays. I never played specifically with a band. The band was put together with close friends, drinking buddies. Just happened I was hanging out with really good musicians.”

As far as his choice of instrument, he was initially the part-time frottoir player, behind fellow New Iberian Storie Gonsoulin. Gonsoulin’s regular gig with Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners, however, meant he was not as available to rehearse or practice as his bandmates wanted. Oubre stepped up and took the role.

“Percussion was in the family,” Oubre said. “My dad played the drums, I played the drums, my brother played.”

Now he is getting a chance to hone his rhythmic chops. His bandmates - accordionist/singer Billy McDonald, guitarist Bob Brahan, bassist Seth Rung and drummer Charles Brent - keep Oubre on his toes, both mentally and literally.

“The thing I liked about it in the beginning is that the band was so good I could just beat along while they played the music,” he said, laughing. “Now I’m taking on more of a hype man role, dancing and keeping the audience entertained. I have to pay attention to Billy, especially when we do some of that call and response type stuff. That part is more of a challenge than the washboard.”

He’s also branching out, beginning to fill in with harmonies as the need arises.

“My dad’s a real good singer, so I am kind of taking his lead,” Oubre said. ” The best thing about the band is it’s still a group of friends. I think that comes across to the crowd.”

That crowd is growing larger by the week. Zydeco Radio was at the Smoked Meat Festival in Ville Platte Saturday. Aside from the usual weddings and personal gigs, the band is holding down a regular monthly zydeco night slot at The Grouse Room in Lafayette between appearances at other clubs in the area.

The band is also preparing for a northeastern tour, hitting New York, Washington D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia later this summer. The group is also moving beyond its Beau Jocques roots, recording a CD of original material.

“Billy writes a lot of originals,” Oubre said. “We’re recording at Staffland Studios in Lafayette with Sean Bruce producing.”

Even with all of that on his plate, though, Oubre looks for simplicity in his life.

“I’m very grateful for the life I have,” he said. “To live in the country, have a simple life and still be able to get out and be part of the culture is very gratifying. That’s my big word, gratitude.”

___

Information from: The Daily Iberian, http://www.iberianet.com

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