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R. C. Carrier

R. C. Carrier near his home in Crockett, CA.

R. C. Carrier near his home in Crockett, CA. Photo by John Noltner.

R. C. Carrier comes from one of Louisiana’s most renowned musical families. He grew up around Lake Charles, Louisiana, where his parents cut sugar cane, pulled peanuts, and plowed with a mule. They raised other crops, too, along with hogs and geese. Like many in his community, Carrier worked in the fields as a young man. “We didn’t get a lot of schooling,” he says, “because we had to work to survive.” Back then, he adds, “if we saw a black Creole guy that had a car, we thought he was rich.”

Drawn to the frottoir, a metal rubboard worn like a vest, Carrier played with such greats as accordionist Clifton Chenier. Now 62 and living in Crockett, California, he continues to play the frottoir and has performed with Motordude Zydeco and Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic. In this clip, he talks about his early fascination with the instrument—and the thrill of holding a certain famous accordion.