While jazz, Cajun, blues and zydeco spring from the southern portion of the state, the heart of the north beats to country music. Louisiana has contributed a great deal to nearly every style of country music, including old-time, bluegrass, honky-tonk, rockabilly and the Nashville sound. Many country pioneers and stars have called the state home.
The Music: Country
Country is the music of the small towns and countryside of the American South, developed from the songs, ballads and dance tunes of the region's Anglo-Celtic settlers. The music is played primarily on the fiddle, guitar and other string instruments. In Louisiana, it has influenced and been influenced by Cajun and the blues.
The People: Country
Radio station KWKH in Shreveport is central to the story of country music in Louisiana. Owned and run by radio pioneer W. K. Henderson, the station helped promote acts such as singer and later two-term governor of Louisiana Jimmie Davis (“Nobody's Darlin' But Mine” and "You Are My Sunshine"). After World War II, KWKH began broadcasting Louisiana Hayride, a weekly program that became known as "The Cradle of the Stars" for its role in launching the careers of artists such as Kitty Wells, Hank Williams, Slim Whitman, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, as well as Webb Pierce of West Monroe and Faron Young of Shreveport.
Also from Louisiana came early rock pioneer and country star Jerry Lee Lewis, who grew up performing with his cousins Jimmy Swaggart and Mickey Gilley. Other noted Louisiana performers include the Cox Family, Joe Stampley and Buzz Busby. And since country music's national resurgence in the 1980s, several more stars have risen here including Kix Brooks (of Brooks and Dunn), Tim McGraw and Trace Adkins.
The Experience: Country Music
Today, Louisiana's country music scene continues to flourish with young performers drawing inspiration from the state's varied musical soundtrack. Catch it live at clubs throughout the state and at festivals like the annual Bayou Country Superfest in Baton Rouge.