A Brief Look at Shreveport-Bossier’s Rich Musical History
Louisiana has a rich and deep musical history. From Allen Toussaint to Louis Armstrong to Buddy Guy to Dr John, the number of great artists and performers who are from Louisiana is mind blowing.
Here in Shreveport-Bossier, we all know about the Louisiana Hayride, Elvis, James Burton and Lead Belly. Those guys are on the "marquee" when it comes to Shreveport-Bossier music. Then, below them, a lot of people are aware of Claude King, Faron Young and Johnny Horton who all spent a good bit of time living and performing in the area.
But, there are a TON of other major musical figures and events in Shreveport's musical history. Joe Osborn (from the "Wrecking Crew") is a Shreveport guy and has probably played on more Top 10 singles than any other musician on the planet.
Van Cliburn is a classical piano player that has played for literal kings and queens. He played for Presidents of the United States. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Russian Order of Friendship. And those are just some highlights of this man's amazing work.
Jerry Kennedy is a famous session musician and record producer. Shelby Singleton, another famous record producer and executive. Then there's Kevin Russell of The Gourds, Kix Brooks from Brooks and Dunn, the Brady family, Eddie Giles, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Tillman Franks, Webb Pierce, Dave Alexander...I mean the list is extensive and seemingly endless.
And I just realized that I haven't even mentioned Stan Lewis yet! Lewis owned a local record store and several different record labels. Lewis on those record labels put out and produced music from the likes of John Lee Hooker, Ike & Tina Turner, Lowell Fulson, John Fred and his Playboys, Memphis Slim, Lightnin' Hopkins and tons of others. He was friends with Leonard Chess and had a working relationship with the famed Chess Records. Lewis is featured in dozens of books about rock and roll and the blues because the guy was on the front lines. He was an icon!
Like I said, this is just a brief overview. This is just touching on SOME names you should know without listing their accomplishments. This is not even close to extensive or in depth. If you really dig in, you can find tons of other musicians worth knowing or stories worth hearing (like how Sam Cooke wrote "A Change is Gonna' Come" after a trip to Shreveport.).
Get out. Explore your city. And learn its rich history. There are a ton of gems out there, you just need to go find them.