Shreveport’s Music Heritage is Everywhere
Over the holiday weekend, I decided to take a little road trip to check out the highways and byways of the general area. I drove through a lot of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. And, if there's one thing I noticed more than anything, its that Shreveport' music and its legacy is EVERYWHERE!
As I was driving, one of the first songs I heard on the radio was a recently modernized version of Kenny Wayne Shepherd's "Blue on Black". This version of the song was being performed by an odd pairing of artists including metal band Five Finger Death Punch, Queen Guitarist Brian May, Kenny Wayne and several other artists. After listening to the up dated version, the DJ informed me that the track was the number 1 rock song in the country. Kenny Wayne is topping the charts in 2019...pretty crazy to think about.
Then, after getting into Memphis, I decided to go grab me Elvis' favorite snack of a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. After sitting down at the bar, I noticed a giant picture of James Burton and Elvis on the cafe's wall. Then I noticed the Juke Box was playing Jerry Lee Lewis' take on "To Make Love Sweeter for You", which was written (and probably produced) by Shreveport's own Jerry Kennedy. And, if I recall properly, that song was released on Smash Records, which was started by another Shreveport guy Shelby Singleton.
Then, after eating, I decided to hit the Blues Hall of Fame on Main Street. And literally the first thing you see upon entering the Hall is a display featuring Lead Belly's bow tie and guitar picks. First thing! Then, as you make your way through the exhibits, you see several mentions of Stan Lewis, KWKH and other Shreveport people, places and things. Its quite amazing, really.
And this wasn't an occurrence just in Memphis. One record store I stopped at in Mississippi had a display just dedicated to James Burton. Another record store I stopped at in Tennessee was playing the Eddie Giles "Losin Boy" album (sadly it was the owners personal copy and he wasn't willing to sell).
It seemed like Shreveport's musical history followed me down every highway and into every bar. I wasn't looking for it, but it was literally every where I looked. Part of me felt proud that Shreveport is such a large part of the music landscape in America. Part of me was sad that we don't do a better job promoting and celebrating it locally.