Lake Charles native Leroy Thomas has driven the "zydeco corridor" so much that he can probably tell you which I-10 rest-stop Subway serves the tastiest $5 foot-longs. And between you and me and the mailbox, the next time you're planning a trip to the Coushatta casino in Kinder, he'd be the guy to ask which slots are the loosest. The calendar on Thomas's Web site is a wonder to behold, zipping between Houston's Shakespeare Pub and Mr. Gino's, Lafayette-area clubs with names like One-Eyed Jacks and the Last Chance Saloon, and even further afield like a recent trip to the American Folk Festival in Bangor, Maine. (We had no idea there was a Zydeco & Cajun Fest in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but he's played it.) Thomas has been a zydeco lifer ever since he apprenticed in the band led by his father, Leo "The Bull" Thomas, the only zydeco drummer to lead his own group. Thomas the younger and his star-spangled accordion stepped out front in 1998 to form the Zydeco Roadrunners, and he has been almost as busy in the studio as on the road, releasing eight albums through 2009's Jewel of the Bayou. The Roadrunners' high-energy traditional zydeco sounds like a fine way to usher in Discovery Green's fall Capitol One free concert series.
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