Every state in the South has contributed to the grand narrative of American music, but few can match Tennessee’s deep roots in the blues and jazz, gospel, soul and r&b, rockabilly, rock & roll, and country—or its tremendous concentration of historic record labels and music industry visionaries.
Upon arriving at a sharp bend in the river not far from the Gulf of Mexico, LaSalle decided this would be the spot on which the territory would be declared in honor of his illustrious king. On April 9, 1682, a large cross was placed into the fertile soil. Proper papers were prepared naming this vast territory Louisiane. It consisted of all lands adjacent to all the tributaries that flowed into the mighty river. The territory was so vast that not even 120 years later did men realize its full extent. He named it Louisiane in honor of King Louis XIV. The original spelling by the French, as noted, was with an e at the end. Louisiane means "in the realm of Louis."
And don’t fret: There is country music on this record, but it is a style far removed (both geographically and philosophically) from Nashville. The cover of Bakersfield, California, stalwart Joe Maphis’s “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke” is another one of Yoakam’s souped-up renditions of honky-tonk classics, while “Long Way to Go” sounds ready-made for contemporary country radio without sounding slick and soulless. The title track, meanwhile, is an excellent example of the boundaries Yoakam is willing to blur.
Nashville–based musician Cory Branan’s latest album off the Bloodshot label is aptly named: Mutt is an ambitious amalgamation of musical styles with a Leonard Cohen-like conversational approach to lyrics that’s completely lacking in coherence or cohesion. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.