Shreveport’s History is Our Story To Carry On
People ask me all the time how I got so into Shreveport's musical history. And the answer is simple really: I love music. But even beyond that, I love Shreveport. And if there's one thing Shreveport has by the boat loads, its history. Specifically music history.
The thing that probably inspired me most is meeting James Burton. Because when you first meet him you realize you're meeting rock and roll royalty. He's Elvis' guitar player! But then, after spending a few minutes with him, you realize that he's just an old guy that wants to pass his story along. He knows that eventually, sooner or later, he's going to run out of time and he needs to get his experiences out into the universe. That realization and knowledge of what has happened in this town musically, inspired me to try and document some of Shreveport's rich musical history that's been over looked and forgotten.
A lot of people when it comes to Shreveport's musical history, focus on the Hayride and its stars. And, while that's a fantastic place to start, there's so much more to this area. In the rock universe, Shreveport was instrumental in the formation of one of the greatest rock/metal bands of all time, Pantera. In fact, if it wasn't for a chance meeting in Shreveport, the band as we know it probably would have never existed. And that's just one instance. We could talk James Burton, Stan Lewis, Van Halen and tons of others who acts who have some sort of integral connection to area and changed the rock and roll landscape.
If you want to talk country music, we have the Hayride, KWKH, Tillman Franks, Joe Osborn, Jerry Kennedy and Shelby Singleton, just to name a few. Did you know that Shelby Singleton produced "Harper Valley PTA" and was the guy that purchased the Sun Records collection from Sam Phillips? Well, that's just a little taste of the impact that Shreveport guy had on the music business.
I could go on and on and on. I didn't even mention Shreveport's R&B history, Eddie Giles, Lead Belly or any of that. I also didn't even touch on Shreveport's modern musical output; stuff like iwrestledabearonce or the Seratones.
I guess my point is that Shreveport has a lot of stories to tell and if we don't learn them now, eventually we're going to run out of time. Music is my thing, so that's what I've been learning, studying and passing on. But, there's tons of other stories that need to be carried on, both happy and sad, magic and tragic, Shreveport has it all. And we all need to latch on to a bit of that history before it all just fades away.