One of the hottest topics in Americana these days is the sizzling Cajun roots-music scene three hours east in Lafayette. As good as young bands like the Red Stick Ramblers, the Lost Bayou Ramblers and the Pineleaf Boys are, they owe a huge debt to BeauSoleil linchpin Michael Doucet. Doucet's outfit has been keeping the Cajun tradition alive for over 30 years now, and BeauSoleil has become to Cajun music what the Chieftains are to Irish traditional tunes — the gold standard by which everything else is measured. On its new album Alligator Purse, the band Cajunizes everything from the deep blues of "Rollin' and Tumblin'" to twangy Natalie Merchant-assisted country chestnut "Little Darlin'." BeauSoleil's secret has always been an emphasis on Doucet's fiddle as lead instrument, as opposed to the accordion in most Cajun bands; Doucet, who reportedly passed on a football scholarship to LSU to pursue the instrument, is always in the spotlight. His tone can make the hair stand up on Mr. Stradivarius's neck, and his band can kick ass like a drunken Cajun with a size-18 boot. It's been years since BeauSoleil came anywhere near Houston, so this is a real booking coup for Dosey Doe, the Woodlands venue that has rapidly gained cachet in the area Americana live-music market since opening in 2007.

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William Michael Smith