Jo-EL Sonnier

October 2, 1946 ~ January 13, 2024

Jo-EL Sonnier, 77, passed away on January 13, 2024, in Austin, TX following his last show in Llano, Texas to the crowd-pleasing Standing Ovation and an ENCORE performance.

Jo-EL was born on October 2, 1946, to Lemius and Eunice Sonnier in Rayne, LA. Jo-EL’s passion was for music in life with 33 studio albums, appeared in 6 motion pictures, appeared in 7 television series, performed in all 50 states and 32 countries all during the 65 years in the Country and Cajun music industry. He was a 2015 Grammy Award Winner with 4 Grammy nominations. Jo-EL was also ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Nominee, member of 7 Music Hall of Fames, Studio Musician on over 100 albums including Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond, and Hank Williams Jr. He wrote songs that the following artist recorded: George Strait, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Patty Loveless, and John Anderson.

Those left to cherish his memory are his loving wife, Bobbye Weaver Sonnier; son, Clayton Sonnier and wife Stormi; sister-in-law, Dr. Shirley Strange Allen; brother in laws, Woodie Thornton, Johnnie Steed and wife Nikki, James Barker and wife Leann, Roye Barker and wife Leslie; beloved nieces and nephews; godsons, Tyler and Austin Hare; and goddaughter and grand goddaughters, Madisyn and Kolynns Jinks.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Lemius and Eunice Sonnier; brothers, PJ Sonnier; and one son, Larry Howell.

Funeral services will be at 12:00 PM Saturday, January 20, 2024, at Johnson and Robison Funeral Home. visitation will be from 12:00 PM until 7:00 PM with a 6:00 PM rosary on Friday, January 19, 2024, at Johnson and Robison Funeral Home. Visitation will resume from 10:00 AM until time of services on Saturday at Johnson and Robison Funeral Home. A private burial will be at Mimosa Pines North.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made in the honor of Jo-EL Sonnier to


Visitation: Friday, January 19, 2024
12:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Johnson and Robison Funeral Home Chapel
107 W. Napoleon St.
Sulphur, LA 70663

Rosary: Friday, January 19, 2024
6:00 pm

Johnson and Robison Funeral Home Chapel
107 W. Napoleon St.
Sulphur, LA 70663

Visitation: Saturday, January 20, 2024
10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Johnson and Robison Funeral Home Chapel
107 W. Napoleon St.
Sulphur, LA 70663

Funeral Services: Saturday, January 20, 2024
12:00 pm

Johnson and Robison Funeral Home Chapel
107 W. Napoleon St.
Sulphur, LA 70663

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Memories Timeline


  1. Y dear Friend I’ll never forget you and all the conversations we had
    Thanks for encouraging me on my music endeavors

    Ur friend
    John Leger

  2. Candle 3Jo El was a great musician. I remember the first time I heard Jo El was when Ham Reid won the sheriff’s election and the big party he is when he played. He was good then and he was still good now. RIP Jo El.

  3. Candle 1In memory of a great musician and human being to all those that knew him. You will be missed . You will be welcomed to the band in heaven .

  4. Jo-El was truly a legend – nobody can fill those type of shoes. My sympathies and prayers to his wife, family and close friends.

    • To Jo-EL’s family, my deepest sympathy. His album, The Legacy, is the standard for Louisiana music and culture. His legacy is his many recordings that will be with us forever. Rest in Peace…..You will be remembered as one of the great talents.

  5. So sorry for your loss Bobbye. Deepest Sympathies to the family. Jo-EL you will be missed here in Nova Scotia. Will be playing your CD and remember the times you came to N.S. May you Rest in Peace. Lydie Comeau & Greg Gaudett.

  6. Candle 3Gone way too young and way too soon Jo-el Sonnier. Your music made me feel like dancing. Keep on playing the accordian up in the sky. May you forever rest in peace a sweet multitalented cajun musician.

  7. Candle 3Sincerest condolences to Mrs. Bobby and family on this most difficult loss. May Gods love and comfort surround you in the days ahead.

    • Candle 6You don’t know me but thanks for all the daily song videos back in 2020 during quarantine time your daily music videos got me through that depressing time during that time I would wait all day until you posted it thank for the music rest in peace now

  8. Candle 2We will always remember the beautiful music Jo-el played. What a talented musician. Prayers for all family and friends 🙏

  9. Candle 1Wink Perkins says:

    Jo-el my friend, you will be sincerely missed! To Bobby and family, You are all in my prayers along with many other folks praying for you all! God Bless you all!

    • Candle 7Jo-El loved to make people happy. I loved watching his videos on social media and seeing his shows.
      He was one of my favorites in the 90s and he played a 3 hour show in Houston that had the entire floor on their feet.
      Sincere and deepest sympathies for his wife, family and friends

  10. Joel’ was the kindest, most humble and appreciative person we’ve ever met. A kind gentle man with a Big heart. He Loved his cajun music and his cajun food. Go rest high on that Mountain Jo’el. Kenny & Angela

  11. Candle 2R.I.P. you moved on to heaven we will remember all the greatness you have done and the love you leave for us.We honor you and thank you and until we meet again….Thank You Amen

  12. Knew him as teenagers years ago.
    So proud of his accomplishments
    RIP, Jo-EL, Your work on earth is done🙏📿🌹😘

  13. This is one of the greatest Cajun singers that I never got to meet. I loved his music and long ago his wife made a cd for me because I couldn’t find one to buy. She refused to let me send money to pay her. What a great couple. I’m so sorry for his wonderful wife. RIP sir and thank you for all the great music. Love you both.

  14. Jo El’s record “Tear Stained Letter” is one of my favorites. May he rest eternally in peace. Prayers for his family.

  15. Candle 2Jo-EL
    I was very honored not only to work with you on our Saskatchewan tour in 2008 but to continue staying in touch since then.

    RIP my friend

    Donny Parenteau

  16. Candle 2RIP Jo-el, you sang your way into God’s waiting arms. You are loved, will be missed so very much. Our hearts are broken 💔 😢

  17. After i lost Louisiana boy Jerry Lee Lewis , Jo El Sonnier left the stage like a legend, he teached me how to play the Martin accordion , how to sing Cajun songs , how to be a simple good man , we lost a great Louisiana man , Jo El repose en paix sous le ciel de la Louisiane . Switzerland salute you.
    ( sorry for my English)

  18. Candle 4So sorry for your loss. Loved Joel’s music. Was privileged to have seen his show twice.Prayers for your family.

  19. Candle 3May you rest in peace and you will be miss but not forgotten. All your music will live on.Thank you for all the good music. To the family he was a very good man. Now he will be watching and waiting for you all. RIP Jo-El Sonner from Patricia Shuler Graham and Steven R Graham in Victoria Tx

  20. Joel..RIP! Bobbye I’m so sorry for your loss. Y’all have been thru so much, and he loved you so much. I’m so sad that he and I didn’t get to record together. It’s always something we talked about. He was doing what he loved until the end…that’s wonderful.

  21. Candle 1The music world is missing a very talented musician. And the Cajun culture is without a true legend. My heart goes out to his wife and family along with their friends. May he Rest in Peace.

  22. Candle 4Thank you for the music. I have a lot of wonderful memories listening to your music. Rest in Pray with our Lord and Savior

  23. Candle 7Jo-El was such a great man and top notch with his music. I’m so glad I got to meet him once when he was called up by Steve Riley as a guest at Wayne’s. He will be missed tremendously. God love you and welcome you to Heaven. May your family find comfort in all their priceless memories.

  24. Candle 1Sheila and I lost one of our very best friends in this world. He was a devout Christian and one of the best humans to ever traverse this mortal plane. Also, he possessed a naive, almost childlike, quality that endeared him to everyone. A supremely talented entertainer, he was a Grammy winner who blazed a trail for every Cajun musician that followed and, through his God given talent, made millions of his fans happy. He grew up speaking French and was legendary for his ability to totally butcher the English language. I loved that man like a brother. He leaves behind his soulmate, Bobbye, without whom he was lost. Please, send up a prayer for her. Adieu, my dear friend. You will be deeply missed by all. Amen. T. Graham & Sheila Brown

    • Hi T,
      So sorry for your loss. JoEl saw that I was hurtin’ bad over a situation regarding my son and he took time to talk to me and tremendously lift my spirits. He was certainly a God send to many.
      That interview you did with Joe Stampley was terrific!! I was on his bus with him when some ol boy shot out a rear window of a pickup parked next to the bus here in Bogalusa, La. God Bless ya T

  25. Candle 5RIP 🙏 My brother in Christ. My most humble condolences 🙏 to Mrs. Bobbye and to all the family and friends of my Cajun brother in spirit. Joel’s songs got me through the hard times as well as the good. At this time, my mind recalls one of my favorite songs that JoEl done early on, with the late Mr. Sidney Brown. I don’t recall the title but it was recorded in Cajun French. But I believe that, the last words of the song my love for you will never die. And I feel I can safely say that this is all our feelings for our dear friend. God bless you all, Mrs. Bobbye and the family. And to you my good friend, rest with with God . And keep all the angels in heaven singing while you play for all in heaven. Ronnie Swire from Victoria, Texas.

  26. Candle 1Rest in peace Jo-El. Thank you for the music, the magic and most of all, for your friendship. Bobbye, my heart weeps with yours, he was a wonderful, sweet man.

  27. Candle 1We are deeply saddened on the loss of such a fine musician, Jo- El Sonnier. His music will live on and he will be in our hearts forever. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad and difficult time. 🙏🙏🙏
    Rest in Gods loving arms Jo-El and keep playing your beautiful music in heaven!

    Carol L. LeDoux and Harold Ortego
    Opelousas, LA.

  28. I saw you in Switzerland last september. This sad news has been a tear stained letter. Rest in peace Jo El.
    A fan from Torino, Italy.

  29. Candle 3Honor to have seen you many times.Thank you for your beautiful music and presence in many people lives.You are and always will be a Legend sir💙 RIH

  30. Candle 2It’s so sad to loose Jo El. I loved his music so much. Though a fellow Louisianan, I knew little of the Cajun music and culture until his “Come On, Joe” hit the charts. It continues to be a favorite. Condolences and prayers for his families. Be encouraged. “…we’ll be together again”.
    Dot & Raymond Schexnider,
    Breaux Bridge

  31. Thank you Jo-El for countless hours of enjoyment. Your music filled so many days of my life, bringing back memories of my youth and those Saturday mornings listening to Cajun music on the radio. May God grant comfort and strength to your loved ones.

  32. Candle 1Jo-el was a very special person with a heart of gold and such a kind soul.He never met strangers .He was loved by so many around the world.RIP our friend for you are with our Savour,our Lord, Jesus Christ, where you live and love forever.

  33. Candle 1I’m so very sorry to hear this. Jo-EL was such a nice man when I met him years ago. Condolences to his family and friends. He will be so greatly missed.

  34. Candle 1I have been a fan of Joels since i was a kid .
    I’ve listened to his music all the time and I will treasure his cds

  35. Our Deepest Sympathies To Bobbye and all his Family. His Heritage lives on through his music. So Happy we got to meet Jo-el & Bobbye here in Baie Ste. Marie, Nova Scotia. Heaven gained an Angel, may he rest in Peace. Helene Comeau & Gary Brown.

  36. Ron and I loved Jo-El….such a special loving soul…Ron and I are sure if you had planned the end of your flesh life…the end would have been after performing and singing for people. Prayers of Comfort to Bobbye and family.

  37. Candle 4I’m going to miss Joe el sonnier he was a great Cajun music artist I love going watch him in person and loved his cajun music

  38. Ms. Bobbye & Loved Ones, I send my most Solemn Greetings to all of you. It is without question that every song that Jo-El sang and played was a milestone in the world of Cajun-French music. His style was unique and warm to all. He kept his heritage alive through his music indeed! We are living in a better world because he shared his gift of music with everyone. Jo-El has now gone on to be with the Greatest Love of all, and one day there will be a joyous reunion for all of us to see and hear him play and sing for all of Eternity! May he Rest in Paradise!

  39. Candle 2I remember when my dad played your music for the first time. He knew all the words. You were the first Zydeco artist I loved. Your music inspired an entire culture. Your legacy will continue with your fans. May you and my daddy rest in paradise.

  40. This uniquely-gifted man was always ready to give God the glory. Thank you for taking a few minutes to greet each fan. May God continue to surround your family with the warmth of His presence.

  41. Candle 5R.I.P. Jo EL. My deepest sympathy to Bobbye and the family. Praying God sends down his angels to wrap you all in their arms of comfort and love.

  42. Candle 2Dear Jo-El Thank you for bringing your music and the Cajun Culture into my life. They are beautiful things to have to hold on to. I almost called you two weeks ago but had a fall and neglected to do so. I so wish I would have. I have wonderful memories of songwriting with you in my little office and playing our little weekly show in Nashville with Boomer and being in the movies with you in New York and Hollywood. You have been probably the most natural and intuitive musician and singer I have ever worked with. Thank you so much. I will be praying for your soul-mate Bobbye and the rest of you loved ones during this time of grief . And one other thing–your Mom’s chicken gumbo was truly the best I ever had. Rest in peace my friend.

  43. The world lost a good one. He will be missed. I am a big fan. My condolences to his family. May he fly with the angels. R.I.P Jo-El💔

  44. Candle 7From a third cousin, who never had the opportunity to personally meet Jo-El or family. Jo-el’s exposure of Cajun culture and Cajun music to the world has been good for all Cajuns. His music was enjoyed by many people. We offer condolences to Bobbye. Losing someone so close is so hard. We ask God to give Bobbye the strength to deal with this situation. May your happy memories give you some peace and comfort during this challenging time.

  45. Candle 4I am sad, but I feel blessed to have made some wonderful memories with Jo-El. My heart goes out to Ms Bobbye Weaver Sonnier, and family, May God comfort and bless y’all. I loved him, and I will miss him. Going to miss all the calls and the laughs . You will be playing for Heaven Now , RIP Jo-El

  46. Candle 4Dear Bobbye,

    It’s Joan from Prairie Oyster sending condolences to you. We all love you and Jo-El so very much.
    Jo-El’s beautiful spirit and beautiful music will never be gone from this world or from our hearts.

    Nos chagrins les plus profonds,


  47. Candle 1RIP JO EL,Thanks for always pushing on & staying True to your culture & Bobbye , May God wrap you & your family in comfort in this hard times,Rod & Tanya Miller

  48. Candle 1RIP Jo-El
    Sending our deepest condolences to your family and friends 🙏🏻
    Latisha & Jim Robertson

  49. Bobbye, We were shocked to hear about Jo-EL. As I look at pictures and try to remember how many times I enjoyed watching him perform his magic on stage. The number escapes me but it was a lot over the years. He is in a good place and you can look forward to rejoining him someday. Bobby & Faith (Arkansas)

  50. Candle 1Jo, the fondness memory I have is of you and I during our childhood days. You would ride your bicycle to my house and always bring your guitar. I still have your guitar. We had good times and built fond memories. May God bring you into his heavenly house. RIP my friend.

  51. Candle 1May God Bless you Bobbye and your family at this time of your loss. Death is never easy to go through,but in time God will bring you through. My thoughts and prayers are with you and may your memories help bring you comfort in the days to come. Gods got another great one in heaven!

  52. Candle 7TO BOBBIE, and Family. Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family during this difficult time. He will watch over you always and will forever be in your heart. RIP Joel.

    Gary and Carmen Breaux

  53. Jo-EL was such a sweet, kind and talented man. When Brian played drums for him, I was able to take my Mom to one of his shows. She loved his music. He came sit and visit with her a long time. I will never forget that night or the night he came to my house with his children’s book for Brian’s son Boston. Greg and are so glad and blessed that Brian played with him. We got to know him personally. The music industry lost a legend. He’s gone but will never be forgotten!! May he RIP. Sending prayers and hugs to Bobby and his entire family.

  54. Candle 1I’ve enjoyed your music and books. Thank you for keeping our heritage alive for a new generation. You will be greatly missed God bless and RIP

  55. Candle 1You were such a great musician and Cajun Music will not be the same. Prayers for your family and Rest In Peace!

  56. So Sorry for your loss of your husband may the lord bless yall through this time Rip I really miss his music 🎶

  57. Candle 4Sending our Condolences to the Family..🙏🙏🙏Thank you Jo-EL Sonnier for all the wonderful talent you gave to all of us..Continue to Sing and play in Eternity..
    You will be truly missed..🌹🌹🌹

  58. Bobbye we are so sorry to hear about Jo-El. Besides the music that I was so blessed to be able to make with Jo-El, i equally value and cherish the times we had together as friends. Not too many people could make me laugh like Jo-El could. Sending love and prayers to you.
    Shane and Shiho Theriot

  59. Hi T,
    So sorry for your loss. JoEl saw that I was hurtin’ bad over a situation regarding my son and he took time to talk to me and tremendously lift my spirits. He was certainly a God send to many.
    That interview you did with Joe Stampley was terrific!! I was on his bus with him when some ol boy shot out a rear window of a pickup parked next to the bus here in Bogalusa, La. God Bless ya T

  60. Throughout the years, I’ve had the opportunity to present a lot of music on the radio. However, it was always a pleasure and a privilege to play music of someone who lived right down the road. Brother Sonnier, it was also a joy to come out of network or local news with an up tempo song like “Tear Stained Letter,” to kick off another hour of music.
    To your family, friends and fans,
    I offer my condolences. How awesome it must have been to receive that “Welcome Home to Heaven Hug” from our LORD JESUS!
    See you soon!

  61. I can remember when Jeff first told me y’all were cousins and I was so excited to meet you. When I did you were so nice and funny. How you said come on over eat. All the sweetness pooled over. All these years of music and happiness that you gave to us and many others is just no explanation in the world of how we feel could ever be thankful enough. Many prayers for you and your family. God bless you.

  62. Candle 1Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers go out to you all. May faith and loving memories carry y’all through this very difficult time. Jo-EL, our dear friend, we feel blessed to have known you for so many years. We loved you and we’ll always love your music! You were one of a kind “A Legend” in your own time, to us. We will never forget when you played at the very first Marshland Festival in a pasture in Hackberry. What a Bon Temp Festival you made it, even under the muddy pasture conditions. We will miss you and your home grown, heart felt music!!! Thank You and May you Rest In Peace in God’s Heavenly Home, with the Angels and Saints, all your loved ones and friends, who are awaiting you, now, and where we all shall meet again. We know your last Breath on this Earth was your first Breath in Heaven. Amen 🙏🏼🛐✝️

  63. Candle 7I know you are in heaven playing good old Cajun music for Jesus. Rest in peace my friend. You will be missed so much here on Earth. ♥️🙏

  64. I have loved his music since my teenage years.I would always tell people about his music.I was a huge fan of his.But his music will live on.

  65. Bless him. His music has always made me feel happier, and for that I am so appreciative. My Prayers go out to all of his family and friends. May his soul Rest In Peace Forever.

  66. It is with a sad heart I post to family and friends the loss of Jo el.
    I have his records and have dearly loved his music from the very first time I heard him.
    He always appeared to be such a gentleman in all apperiences.
    He is missed sooo very much but will never be forgotten.
    Clara Cates

  67. Candle 1I’m so sorry I’m just hearing of Jo-el’s passing! Praying the family feels the Love all his fans have for him, for I am one also. I still have my 45rpm record he signed for me many years ago. I “babyed” that record !

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