Blues: A music note from Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne
Blues have long been a part of Louisiana’s musical landscape.
For Louisiana’s Bicentennial, I published a list of the 200 most influential Louisianians. One of the musical artists on my list is Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter of Mooringsport. Lead Belly made the list for a couple of reasons—he was an incredible musician, but his life story added to his intrigue. He was born in 1888 and played the 12-string guitar, piano, mandolin, harmonica, violin and accordion. He spent most of his adult life in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola but, upon his release, became a famed Louisiana troubadour. He traveled the world singing his hits including Cotton Fields, The Midnight Special, Goodnight Irene and Rock Island Line.
My hometown, Baton Rouge, is unofficially known as the blues capital of Louisiana. One of the state’s most famous blues musicians is George “Buddy” Guy. From the Baton Rouge area, he created a distinctive blues sound with high energy performances. He opened for the Rolling Stones in the 1970s and has been hailed by Eric Clapton as the “best guitar player alive.” He was ranked 30th by Rolling Stone on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists. Buddy continues to tour nationally and internationally but comes home from time to time to wow his home state crowds.
In Louisiana, our favorite way to honor a tradition is with a festival. There are a few festivals to get your blues fill each year. The Baton Rouge Blues Festival is held each April, this year on April 13, 2013. The free festival has three stages filled with incredible local and visiting talent. In the fall, you can visit the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival in New Orleans. This free festival is scheduled for Oct. 18 – 20, 2013. You can also catch a slew of blues artists in the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival’s Blues Tent. Jazz Fest is held annually during the last weekend of April and first weekend of May.
We hope to see you in Louisiana soon to experience our incredible blues music or one of the other musical genres we call our own. Visit www.LouisianaSoundtrack.com to plan your musical vacation.