Episode 71: “A Kind of Crossroads”: Dr. Tracey Laird on The Louisiana Hayride

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The Louisiana Hayride was a live country music jamboree that was broadcast weekly via Shreveport, Louisiana’s 50,000-watt powerhouse station KWKH beginning in 1948. The lifespan of the Hayride was brief (the original program ended in 1960) but consequential, with artists like Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, and Kitty Wells changing the look and sound of American pop music from the stage of Shreveport Municipal Auditorium.

For our six-episode series exploring the lasting impact of The Louisiana Hayride, All Y’all partnered with Louisiana Public Broadcasting. Over the course of the series, you’ll hear from a wide range of interview subjects, including musicians Kix Brooks and AJ Haynes, historians Joey Kent and Rob Gentry, entrepreneur Alton Warwick, and this episode’s guest: Shreveport native, music professor and author Dr. Tracey Laird.

Dr. Laird is the author of Louisiana Hayride: Radio and Roots Music Along the Red River and co-author of Shreveport Sounds in Black and White. Dr. Laird joined All Y’all’s Sara Hebert for an interview by phone from Decator, Georgia, where Laird serves as professor of music at Agnes Scott College. Her books are the best place to start for anyone seeking a well-researched, smart, and fun primer on the mythology, music and meaning of The Louisiana Hayride.

In the first episode of our six-part series, Dr. Laird describes Shreveport as “a kind of a crossroads of cultural impulses” where music that fell “outside of the canonical understanding of country music” could find a more receptive audience.

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Links:
Louisiana Hayride on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Hayride
Louisiana Hayride: Radio and Roots Music Along the Red River: https://www.amazon.com/Louisiana-Hayride-Radio-American-Musicspheres-ebook/dp/B000WMF7FY
Shreveport Sounds in Black and White: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001M4HZGA/

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