The Story 

The daughter of Zydeco legend Terrance Simien, swamp soul songstress and accordion ace Marcella Rene Simien was born into music and emerged as a naturally charismatic performer in the wake of 2014’s EP, The Bronze Age. As L.A. Weekly’s Bentley noted, “Marcella Simien heard it all as a youngster, no doubt, and once she double-downed with the Memphis sound, she found a totally striking new attack on Southern soul.” 

Born into a rich Creole cultural tradition in Lafayette, Louisiana, Simien forged her own pathway in the music business, attending the Memphis College of Art before breaking out with her unique band that blended Memphis soul, New Orleans funk and Creole accordion. As Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, the son of Memphis legend Willie Mitchell, put it, “Marcella is one of the most soulful artists I've heard since the glory days of Memphis soul music. Her sound and stage presence are constant reminders that soul music is still alive and well.” 

In 2016, Marcella & Her Lovers were featured on the nationally syndicated radio program “Beale Street Caravan,” and Simien was highlighted by the Memphis Flyer in their “20 Under 30” cover issue. She has been a featured performer on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise alongside greats such as Marcia Ball, Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas. Additionally, she sang lead vocals on a track off her father’s album Dockside Sessions, which earned him a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Regional Roots Album of the Year. Simien’s first full-length album, Got You Found, was released in 2017. Says the Louisiana transplant to the City of Memphis of her latest album, “These 12 all-new songs will take you on a musical journey where swamp soul and kinky blues meet psychedelic rock and funked-out meltdowns. Imagine one big sonic hug from Memphis on a warm Saturday night, with our new sensuous tunes spilling from the speakers into the streets of the neighborhood, where people from all walks of life overflow with love.” 

The Sound 

New Orleans funk meets Cajun country (“Comment Il Se Sent”) with a touch of Memphis soul (“Got You Found”) on this stirring musical gumbo. Marcella sings with earthy delight and plays accordion like a natural. She may even play a little bit of rubboard in her Exit Zero Jazz Festival debut. 

Where & When: Elaine’s of Cape May, Friday Only

Michael Kline