Oxford American’s Annual Southern Music Issue Spotlights Louisiana

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.


  1. Come on, Chris Jay, count: out of the twenty-one artists on this Oxford American CD, there are only three women.

    Three! Three! Three!

    (And of the three women, two are white country singers from Shreveport.)

    Unbeknown to the staff of the New Oxford American, women, including African-American women, contributed–and contribute–profoundly and overwhelmingly to the magic ingredient known as “Louisiana music.”

    Full disclosure: I am very biased. I founded The Oxford American in 1992 (and was its chief editor from then until this past summer when I was fired) and I also founded and led The OA’s annual Southern Music Issue & CD.

    If you want to hear a funkier and saner alternative to The NEW OA’s male-centric CD, I suggest experiencing the Online Louisiana Mix that I put together for Editorsinlove.com.

    Compare the two presentations as intelligently as possible and I predict it will be impossible to deny that this year’s OA CD really stinks it up and that Smirnoff’s alternative passionately respects the depth and variety of your state’s incredible musical heritage.

    Again, I am biased and I know I don’t sound humble here but I am ticked off at the New OA CD and I say let the bands battle it out.

    Thank you for allowing me to chime in.

    Marc Smirnoff, founder, The Oxford American; co-founder, Editorsinlove.com

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