Louisiana music

One of Lafayette’s rising stars, blues rocker Lane Mack, released his self-titled debut earlier this month, and it hit No. 2 on the iTunes blues charts.

After his son was born, Mack says he wanted to record a collection of his own songs rooted in the blues and Cajun music he was raised on.


At his talk at TEDxLSU last Saturday, John Gray — a musician and educator — talked about “music as a connector”.

When you hear a few bars of the "Star Spangled Banner", that might make you feel patriotic. And, “When the Saints Go Marching in”, might stir up some football fandom.

If culture were a gumbo, he said, music is the roux — the special ingredient that binds us together and makes us who we are.

And he’s calling on his city, Baton Rouge, to consciously sustain its own culture.

At his talk at TEDxLSU last Saturday, John Gray — a musician and educator — talked about “music as a connector”.

When you hear a few bars of the Star Spangled Banner, that might make you feel patriotic. And, “When the Saints Go Marching in”, might stir up some football fandom.

If culture were a gumbo, he said, music is the roux — the special ingredient that binds us together and makes us who we are.

And he’s calling on his city, Baton Rouge, to consciously sustain its own culture.
 


Deacon John does it all. The veteran New Orleans bandleader plays weddings, birthdays, proms, debutante parties. He holds his own at Jazz Fest and at carnival balls. He'll play 1950s R&B, rock, jazz, gospel, soul and disco — whatever the people want to hear. But when it's up to him, he chooses the blues.

The story of Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter reads like a parody of the brutal bluesman biography: Kill a man, go to prison — twice — then appeal for a pardon in a song. According to the legend, Lead Belly's undeniable talent convinced Texas Governor Pat Neff to let him go.

The romantic notion of a musician holing up in a studio, alone between soundproof walls with her genius and the muses, doesn't hold water in Louisiana. The lion's share of post-contact American musical history has been borne along the curves of the Mississippi River, and no place incubates a tune quite like the cradle of the Crescent City. There's no turning off the faucet of sound in Louisiana; no shutting the windows against the breezes of history or creativity. It's molecular, ancestral, unavoidable.

Eighty Years Of Master Educator Ellis Marsalis

Dec 10, 2014

If anyone has earned the nickname Pops, it's Ellis Marsalis.

As jazz's best-known father figure, the senior Marsalis has four noted musical offspring: Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. But if you consider all the musicians he's taught or mentored, his clan is even more extensive, diverse and influential.

I talked to six musicians who gave us the long view of the Marsalis family tree, and how they were schooled by its patriarch.

Chart-Topping 'Chapel Of Love' Turns 50

Jun 5, 2014

The breakup songs that offer instant gratification, to songwriter and listener alike, are often the ones that either strike while the anger is hot or skip right to the part where a busted old love is replaced by a new one. Those are the fast-paced action scenes of romantic dissolution. Who would want to dwell on the quietly agonizing, drawn-out times between; the times when a person can feel like a broken record of heartache?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Memphis singer songwriter Amy LaVere specializes in lyrics that are more barbed than her sweet soprano prepares you for. Our music critic, Robert Christgau, thinks she's never gotten that balance quite as right as she has on her new album, "Runaway's Diary."

Ann Marie Awad

Meet The Neighbors introduces you to some of the remarkable people who live and work in the Baton Rouge area. Do you know someone we should meet? E-mail us at news@wrkf.org and keep up with Meet The Neighbors, follow us on Tumblr.

In a cozy little duplex in Beauregard Town, Tess Brunet runs a neighborhood record store. 

The Houma native opened the store with her partner Patrick -- he’s from Maine. And he’s the one who came up with the name, Lagniappe Records.

“He was so enamored by South Louisiana and New Orleans and he’s discovering all these things about this region and you know Lagniappe is you know it’s normal to me I know what that is, people anywhere else besides here they see that word and they’re like ‘how do you say that?" she jokes. "He fell in love with this area.”

After touring the country as a musician, Brunet landed in New Orleans, but she kept being drawn back to Baton Rouge.  

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