“…Slashing fiddling, bluesy bow drags, and gusty vocals … its high-octane ambience is still one of a spacious, wooden dancehall.”
— Offbeat Magazine
“Jaw-dropping Creole fiddle and accordion.”
— Dan Willging, KGNU Radio
Creole Stomp has captured the ears and the feet of Louisiana music fans across North America. A recognized African Creole and French Creole Fiddle master, bandleader Dennis Stroughmatt has journeyed to three corners of North America in his quest to learn about the music traditions and French culture. Creole Stomp keeps listeners enthralled and dancers in motion with a rollicking mix of contemporary blues, swamp pop, and traditional Cajun and zydeco music. Dennis’s deep knowledge of the music comes from mentors that include Morris Ardoin and Canray Fontenot, Faren Serrette and the late Hadley Castille. Creole Stomp shows have become legendary for the heart and passion conveyed from the stage, music with emotion and energy that literally jumps from the band.
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About Creole Stomp
A Cajun Creole Honkytonk Party!
Creole Stomp has captured the ears and the feet of Louisiana music fans across North America. Led by French-speaking Creole fiddler and accordionist Dennis Stroughmatt, Creole Stomp keeps listeners enthralled and dancers moving on the floor with a rollicking mix of contemporary blues, swamp pop, and traditional Cajun and zydeco dance tunes.
Creole Stomp shows have become legendary for the heart and passion conveyed from the stage—music with emotion and energy that literally jumps from the band. In fact, over the years the band has become informally known as “The Grateful Dead of Creole Music,” for their well-oiled, dancer-driven, crowd-pleasing marathon jams and improvisation. Traditional Louisiana Cajun two-steps, reels, and waltzes sizzle in the stew along with Creole blues and mazurkas.
A favorite on the Cajun-zydeco dance circuit, the band has also become a celebrated fixture at venues around the United States, ranging from park concerts and theaters to folk and blues festivals. No matter the venue, wherever they come from, and wherever they go, Creole Stomp is a band that knows how to throw a Louisiana party!
A Very Short List of Stomp Past Performances…
- Rhythm and Roots Festival, Rhode Island
- Metropolis Performing Art Center, Illinois
- St. Petersburg Crawfish Festival, Florida
- Charleston Heights Art Center, Nevada
- Gumbo Ya Ya Festival, Illinois
- Strawberry Park Festival, Connecticut
- Big Spring Jam, Alabama
- Big Muddy Folk Festival, Missouri
- Lake Superior State University, Michigan
- Fraze Pavilion Swamp Romp, Ohio
- Mardi Gras in May Festival, Illinois
- Yadkin Arts Council, North Carolina
- Milwaukee Bastille Day Festival, Wisconsin
- Philadelphia Folk Festival, Pennsylvania
- Loveland Foote Lagoon Concerts, Colorado
- The Memphis Beale Street Zydeco Festival, Tennessee
- The Bayou’N’Boogie Festival, Rhode Island
- The WC Handy Blues Festival, Kentucky
- The Taste of Louisiana Festival, Iowa
- The Kettering Swamp Romp, Ohio
- The Illinois Arts and Wine Festival, Illinois
- Pheasant Hollow’s Mardi Gras in May Fest, Illinois
- Louisiana Night WCMU Radio, Michigan
Dennis Stroughmatt, born and raised in southeastern Illinois, is an authority on French Creole music, traditions, and culture of “Upper Louisiana,” aka Illinois and Missouri and Louisiana Purchase area, where he first learned Creole French. After earning his undergraduate degree, Dennis moved to the state of Louisiana, where he worked as a curator at the Vermilionville Cajun and Creole Folklife Museum in Lafayette, Louisiana.
It was at Vermilionville that he met and befriended many of his Creole fiddle mentors, including Black Allemand, Canray Fontenot, Faren Serrette, and Morris Ardoin. A recognized African Creole and French Creole fiddle master, Dennis is also a fluent Creole-style accordionist, having studied with Eunice, Louisiana-based musical legend Morris Ardoin (son of the legendary Bois Sec). He would also go on to live, work, and play music in the “Cajun country” of Louisiana and study at University of Quebec, thus completing the circle of French culture in North America. With this unique grasp of the regional diversity in French music and heritage, Dennis enjoys many impromptu opportunities for joining with other musicians on festival stages.
For more on Dennis Stroughmatt’s Creole French music journey, see his bio on our Esprit Creole page.
— vocals, lead guitar
A multi-talented instrumentalist, Robert Russell brings a keen sense of Deep South blues into Creole Stomp’s music. He freely switches from Telecaster to Stratocasters to steel guitar, helping to create the diversity of Creole Stomp’s sound. His slide playing is reminiscent of Louisiana blues and zydeco guitarists. Originally from Asheville, NC, Robert eventually moved to southern Illinois, achieved his PhD in Philosophy at SIU in Carbondale, and went to playing music full-time. He is one of two founding members still playing in Creole Stomp but also enjoys working with his blues band, The Deciders.
— vocals, bass
Greg Bigler grew up in Kankakee, Illinois, and began his musical journey by playing trumpet throughout grade school and high school. He then transitioned to bass guitar and has played in several Illinois bands in varied styles including rock, funk, country, folk, and worship music. Greg graduated from Governors State University with a degree in Environmental Science.
In his spare time, he collects bass guitars and trades stocks and commodities.
— vocals, drums
Born in the Philippines and currently a native of Central Illinois, Jimmy Willis grew up in a family of professional musicians. Getting his first drum set at the age of 5, Jimmy started playing and singing professionally at the age of 13, playing drums and singing in bands from all across
(guest appearances) — scrubboard, vocals
Originally from Thibodaux, Louisiana, CW Riley has been part of the zydeco music world as a premier scrubboard player for nearly 40 years. He has worked with the internationally famous CJ Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Fernest Arceneaux—and now as an occasional guest of Creole Stomp. He moved from Lafayette, LA, to Bettendorf, Iowa, in the late 1990s and has since enjoyed semi-retirement dividing his time as a golf instructor and playing music with Creole Stomp.