After spending his childhood in the tough tenement housing projects of Port Arthur, Texas, C.J. joined his Father’s band on his 21st birthday. His first gig was playing for the opening of the now world-renown Antone’s, Home of the Blues Nightclub in Austin, Texas.
On the road his father showed him how to front a world class touring band, teaching C.J., a multi-instrumentalist, how to run the family business and how to develop his lifelong passion for music into a career. When Clifton died in 1987 his son, C.J., adopted the Red Hot Louisiana Band and recorded his debut album for the great American independent label Arhoolie Records.
Chenier (along with Ringo Starr) was hand-picked by Paul Simon for his 1990 Rhythm of the Saints album which was nominated for Album of the Year and Producer of the Year. He was then invited to go with Simon for his sell out "Born at the Right Time Tour”.
C.J., who started his career with his father, Clifton Chenier, has also played with John Mayall, The Gin Blossoms, Ray Parker, Jr., Joe Sample, Jimmie Vaughan, Sonny Landreth and Buckwheat Zydeco. He has appeared on The Jon Stewart Show and been featured on CNN. He has performed at numerous music festivals around the world and is a consistent crowd pleaser for The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Attending a C.J. Chenier show is a transformative experience. You may come in tired and beat up just from living in this world – but you will leave renewed and happy. And that is the promise C.J. makes, "You can’t come to my show and stay unhappy. You’re going to break a smile before too long. This is happy music.”