Cajun and Country Pioneer Jo-El Sonnier’s Last Act: A Texas Show’s Tragic Aftermath

Jo-El Sonnier, a Cajun and country musician who won Grammy Awards, went away at the age of 77. The announcement was made after he had a significant heart attack during a performance in Llano, Texas.

Sonnier, well-known in the country and Cajun music communities, had just finished a performance at the Llano Country Opry.

Sonnier’s Final Moments Onstage with “Jambalaya”

Cajun and Country Pioneer Jo-El Sonnier's Last Act: A Texas Show's Tragic Aftermath

Sonnier received a standing ovation after his performance, according to Texas Country Music promoter Tracy Pitcox, after performing “Tear Stained Letter.”

As an encore, he consented to play “Jambalaya.” He gave an enthusiastic performance and then said he needed to take a nap before signing autographs. Pitcox revealed, “He tragically went into cardiac arrest and was flown to Austin, where he was declared deceased.

Sonnier, a French-speaking sharecropper born in Rayne, Louisiana, showed musical ability at a young age. He recorded his first songs at eleven, was on the radio at six, and began playing his brother’s accordion at three. As a teenager, he started his career with independent singles and albums and it lasted for several decades. In the 1970s, he later signed with Mercury Nashville Records, but it was with RCA Records that he achieved more success, with hits like “No More One More Time” and “Tear Stained Letter.”

Sonnier continued to create music and briefly dabbled in acting after relocating to Capitol Records in the 1990s. With Rounder Records in the late 1990s, he made a comeback to Cajun music, working with musicians such as BeauSoleil’s Michael Doucet. Both “Cajun Blood” and his album “Cajun Pride” were nominated for Grammys.

In 2009, Sonnier was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in recognition of his musical talents. In 2015, he was awarded a Grammy for his album “The Legacy,” and he also starred in the HBO series True Detective.

Music Industry and Fans Pay Homage to Sonnier

Friend and fan tributes have been flooding in. While some friends expressed surprise, others emphasized Sonnier’s enduring contributions to Cajun and country music. Sonnier and his wife Bobbye Weaver Sonnier were described as amazing people. Jo-El Sonnier was a great whose influence would last for centuries, and both the music industry and fans are in mourning over his passing.

Following the release of this devastating information, our sympathies are with Jo-El Sonnier’s family and loved ones.

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