The Music: Country
Country music developed across the South, and Louisiana has produced some of its best-known artists. Songs of love and loss, Southern traditions and the everyday lives of the rural working class come alive in country music songs, and considering that Louisiana’s full of stories, there’s no shortage of songwriting material that comes from here.
The Country Music Icons
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, Lucinda Williams, Trace Adkins and Hunter Hayes.
Hear it Here
Richard Sale Barn — This Abbeville venue, established in 1937, has a long story to tell, and once served as a cattle auction house. Today it’s an outstanding Cajun Country venue that hosts many artists playing “roots music” — country, zydeco, Cajun and all styles in-between.
Rockin Willys — The town of Ponchatoula is Louisiana’s strawberry capital, but that’s not all — it’s also where you’ll find some of the sweet sounds of country music. Rockin Willys boasts an impressive roster of country musicians on its stage, and past performers have included such luminaries as Neil McCoy and Tracy Lawrence.
The Stage at Silver Star — In Bossier City, this indoor/outdoor live music venue frequently hosts performances by touring country acts – especially contemporary country. The Stage at Silver Star is connected to a world-class barbecue joint and also offers a full bar, a VIP viewing suite and more.
Big Country of Bossier City — This dance hall, Big Country of Bossier City, is the place to go for not only live music but for their country line dancing and free country line dance classes offered every Friday night.
Bayou Country Superfest — This is the premier country music event in Louisiana, with a roster of A-list stars that make this one of the most thrilling music fests of its kind, anywhere. The 2018 lineup included headliners George Strait, Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town. Bayou Country Superfest takes place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.