I Have Left a Sweetheart North of Whiskey Bay. True Love Waits Down Louisiana Way…
The sounds and stylings of Louisiana music have had an impact and influence, not just on our native genres, but also on others near to and far from our beloved Bayou State. The recorded early history of blues, for example, reached out to the world through the music of native son Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter. New Orleans gave us legends like Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino, and Elvis broke into history via Shreveport’s Louisiana Hayride. Then there’s Mickey Gilley, Harry Connick, Jr., Dr. John…even Hank Williams, Jr. started his life on Louisiana soil, so even styles of music that aren’t Cajun, Zydeco, Dixieland or what have you, have been ever changed by the artistic contributions of those hailing from this very unique place we call home.
An example that amuses me is the Alabama hit “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (Ya Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band).” The line to immediately follow the title in the chorus “That lead guitar is hot but not for a Louisiana man, is a neat little nod to our side of the Sabine that recognizes the cultural and musical crossover of Cajun and country music, probably no better embodied by our very own Jo-El Sonnier who brought his very Cajun sound to the top of the country charts.
Other well-known songs that send a thumbs-up our way would include Mel McDaniel’s “Louisiana Saturday Night,” The Oak Ridge Boys “Leavin’ Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” (as seen and heard on The Dukes of Hazard, actually) and The Band’s “Up On Cripple Creek” which even throws some love to the good ol’ Lake City, specifically. It is all a testament to the fact that our way of life has inspired artists to create and tell their audience tales from good ol’ Louisiana
You’re Just Like Rain to a Love in Bloom so, Shine on Me Ol’ Cajun Moon…
I guess my point here is that the art you create doesn’t have to be of “the sound of the place,” as it were in this case, to be important and influential and to possibly reinforce the impact that we as Louisianans have on music and art as a whole. Various projects have had me thinking about such things a lot these days. It’s not a matter of seeking validation for what we bring to the table artistically and culturally, but rather, trying to better understand what we do that makes us so special.
By better knowing what those elements are, we are able to not only reinforce their importance but also hopefully, get others excited to perpetuate their influence in the years to come.
And what can we do about it? Well, at least embrace it, if you can. Try to support it and support those who have that drive to create and who all, each in their own way, share and exemplify who and what we as Louisianans are through their various mediums and media. Hell, be a part of it. Even if you are not the creative type, your time, your dollar and your support can go a long way to ensuring that these creative endeavors continue to happen and inspire others who may find themselves with the desire to do the same, regardless of how they choose to do it.
Please remember that we do have something special here that you will not find anywhere else. We are Louisiana. We are South Louisiana. We are Acadiana. We are Calcasieu. We are Lake Charles. Let’s be proud of that and continue to give ourselves and our children and our children’s children every single reason in the world to be just that.
Something Is Happening Here…
It’s true! Something IS happening here and I’m very excited to be sharing the next couple of implicitly Lake Chuck events coming up in the next couple of weeks STARTING WITH…
April 16: The Original Downtown Lake Charles Crawfish Festival – Lake Charles Civic Center
Well, you’re kinda hard pressed to find anything much more “SWLA” than good old fashioned crawfish and the O.D.L.C.C.F. is bringing over 10,000 pounds of it to the table! This annual affair will also feature live music, the Mitchell Brothers Carnival, Queen’s pageant and parade and a weekend of spicy fun! For more information, please visit www.downtowncrawfest.com or call (337) 310-0083. If you are a self-respecting Southwest Louisianan (and well, not allergic or anything) GO EAT SOME CRAWFISH, SHA!
April 21: Roots Revival: A Celebration of SWLA Music History – Central School for the Arts and Humanities.
I couldn’t quite imagine another event that captures what I said above than this one right here. This project, many months in development, is bringing the Lake City’s musical history’s past and present to the stage with a very special evening in Central School’s Benjamin W. Mount Theater. It will be welcoming the likes of GRAMMY winner and Cajun music legend Jo-El Sonnier, Boozoo Chavis family legacy band “The Dog Hill Stompers,” Buz Clark of “The Bad Roads,” Alyssa Laughlin, Leigh Howard-Robinson (star of Itinerant Theater’s Nellie and Young Band Nation’s performance of Dolly Parton’s “Puppy Love” that was recorded right here in the good ol’ Chuck. This show will also feature local favorite “sinners,” who will be the house band for the evening and who have been instrumental to making this event happen. For information on this very special show, please visit www.artscouncilswla.com or call (337) 439-2728.
Also as part of this event, Itinerant Theater is presenting An Evening of Nellie Lutcher at The Foundation House on April 23, 29 and 30 at 7 p.m. and on April 24 at 2 p.m. This is a very special affair that I hope with all of my heart you guys support. I genuinely hope to see all of you there. I urge you, GO SEE THIS SHOW!
They Used to Walk On The Banks of The Mighty Mississippi…
And so it goes for yet another fortnight here in yon Chuck. Keep being cool cats and kittens and I hope I run into you out at all the wonderful things this groovy little burg has to offer us. As always… I’ll see you at the show!