Television show to feature Louisiana music

Louisiana’s 2013 tourism push will showcase the state’s musical heritage.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said the stage is being set with a soon-to-air public television show featuring the music of Louisiana artists as well as Oxford American devoting its December issue to the state’s music.

“That’s our segue into next year in celebration of Louisiana music,” Dardenne said. “Every nook and cranny has made a contribution.”

The Louisiana Public Broadcasting show “Sunshine by the Stars: Celebrating Louisiana’s Music” is hosted by singer Harry Connick Jr. It airs Dec. 9.

“It’s essentially a musical tribute to Louisiana,” Dardenne said. Singers and musicians from Louisiana are featured with renditions of the state’s song “You Are My Sunshine,” written by the late Gov. Jimmie Davis.

The musical performances are interspersed among segments celebrating the state’s economic drivers through the last 200 years: agriculture, oil and gas, ports and waterways and tourism. The program ties in with Louisiana’s 200th birthday as a state.

Among the featured performers are Buddy Guy, Mickey Gilley, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Marsalis family, Better Than Ezra, Zachary Richard, Tim McGraw, Irma Thomas, the Rebirth Brass Band, Trombone Shorty, the Zion Harmonizers and Buckwheat Zydeco. Dardenne said all the star performers are participating at no cost.

“That’s a great contribution they are making to the Bicentennial,” Dardenne said.

Musical styles include country to blues, jazz, gospel, Zydeco, swamp pop and more.

The program will be offered to public broadcasting affiliates across the country next year, Dardenne said.

In connection with the program, there’s a “You Are My Sunshine” music video contest via Louisiana Travel on Facebook. Videos must be uploaded by midnight Friday and voting is open until midnight Sunday. As of Tuesday, there were 18 entries posted.

Dardenne said the Oxford American’s December emphasis on Louisiana will continue with five different musical venues in Louisiana next year. There will be symposia during the day on the music of a specific area of the state, such as that of the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, followed by free performances at night, he said.

Some Louisiana artists with performances scheduled out-of-state and internationally have agreed to help promote Louisiana, using the state’s tourism slogan “Pick Your Passion” on drums, guitar picks and towels, Dardenne said.

“We have also introduced louisianasoundtrack.com, where people can preplan their vacation so they can visit an area and see some of the icons of music,” Dardenne said.

“It gives an opportunity to track that particular interest in a type of music and see travel opportunities around the state,” he said.

In addition, Dardenne’s Office of Cultural Development, in connection with the Office of Tourism, is launching a Louisiana Musicians Roster in conjunction with the 2013 emphasis on Louisiana Music and Musicians.

“It’s kind of a clearinghouse, a master list on the web,” Dardenne said.

The purpose of the roster is to support Louisiana musicians who want to tour statewide, regionally, nationally and internationally.

The application process has closed for list inclusion.