Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Cha’s kicks off Bud Light Rocks the Boat series |

Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Cha’s kicks off Bud Light Rocks the Boat series

Nathan Williams & the Zydeco Cha Cha’s will play at Gondola Square on Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — On Saturday, March 2, the 20th annual Bud Light Rocks the Boat free concert series kicks off with Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Cha’s at the Gondola Square stage.

“Come on out and bring your dancing shoes,” frontman accordion player Nathan Williams, Sr. said. “Ain’t nothing but a big party.”

Zydeco is a fast, vibrant, bluesy style of music originating in southern Louisiana. The genre combines elements of Creole, French and Caribbean rhythms and instrumentation.

If you go

What: Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Cha’s at Bud Light Rocks the Boat free concert series
When: 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 2
Where: Gondola Square stage

“Zydeco is something we haven’t had on the spring show series before,” said John Waldman of Great Knight Productions, who works with Steamboat Resort to produce the series.

Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Cha’s are based in southern Louisiana and have been getting audiences up and dancing across the country since 1985. The group has played in a huge array of venues, including New York’s Lincoln Center and Nashville’s The Grand Ole Opry.

Williams was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and has been honored with the Zydeco Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The band has collected a pile of awards, including the country’s top Festival Band and the Big Easy Award for Best Zydeco several times.

“It’s fun, unique, get-you-up-on-your-feet music, right in line with Mardi Gras,” said Steamboat Resort senior communications manager Loryn Kasten.

The free show is part of the resort’s Mardi Gras celebration, which takes place all day Saturday. The event also includes face painting, a costume parade, a carnival-style party with street performers and Louisiana-style food and drink specials available throughout the weekend.

“Here’s my motto,” Williams said. “When we’re playing, if you don’t get up and shake a leg, call the undertaker because you’re dead.”

Dancing may be the best way for concert-goers and members of the band to keep warm during the outdoor show. The band has played plenty of shows in Steamboat before but never outdoors during winter.

“There’s no certain right way to dance to this music,” Williams added. “Just enjoy yourself.”

And that means everyone. Williams notes that during his shows, security guards will boogie, and dogs bark like wild.

The rest of the band lineup includes: Nathan’s brother Dennis Paul Williams on guitar; Nathan’s close friend Junius Antoine on bass; Nathan’s nephew Djuan Francis on rub board and accordion; and Nathan’s brother-in-law Clarence Calais on rub board.

“We’re close to each other — playing with family makes the music better,” Williams said. “If you’re playing with someone that you love, it can’t get better than that.”

Williams and his band are currently working on their latest album, which will join more than a dozen others released by the band.

“Oh man, this album is going to knock your socks off. It’s a little bit of everything; it’s a gumbo,” Williams said.

The Bud Light Rocks the Boat Concert Series continues next Saturday, March 9, featuring Leftover Salmon’s lead singer and mandolin player Drew Emmitt.

“This year’s series is a blend of new acts and fan favorites,” Waldman said. “It’s shows that are high energy and a lot of fun, with some diversity in musical styles and different sounds.”

The series continues on Saturdays during March and April.

To reach Julia Ben-Asher, call 970-871-4229 or email or follow her on Twitter @JuliaBenAsher.

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