The Oxford American magazine has released its annual Southern Music Issue, and this year’s edition spotlights the music of Louisiana. The issue is packaged with a 21-song CD containing two songs by Shreveport-Bossier artists Margaret Lewis (Maggie Warwick) and the Reverend Utah Smith. Among the 150 pages of the magazine itself, readers will find references to many other artists with ties to Shreveport-Bossier including Lead Belly, Jimmie Davis, Dale Hawkins, James Burton, Kix Brooks, Joe Osborn, Matthew Davidson and more.
While I’m sure that all Shreveport-Bossier locals (myself included) would love to have seen more than two of our own featured on the CD, the issue is still an incredibly rewarding read. One of the first sentences that I read upon opening the magazine may be the most interesting piece of local music lore that I’ve picked up all year. In his article “Up From Bourbon Street,” Shreveport native Kix Brooks writes “my first paying gig was playing in Johnny Horton‘s carport for his daughter’s birthday party. There were five of us in the band, and we got paid five bucks.” The Oxford American digs deep to uncover this kind of information, and the results speak for themselves. It’s an incredible read, cover-to-cover.
If you love regional music history, you’ll want to bookmark the blog Shreveport Songs, which is maintained by Centenary College of Louisiana staff archivist Chris Brown and Austin Lee. Many of their posts, such as this outstanding post about the Reverend Brady Blade, delve deeper into local roots music than any other source of information that I’ve come across.
If you enjoy Louisiana music, mark your calendars for the Louisiana Soundtrack Experience, a half-day of panel discussions, live performances and more, scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 19 at Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. The event is being produced by the Louisiana Office of Tourism in partnership with The Oxford American, and will be free to attend and open to the public. Watch this blog for event details as they become available.