Baton Rouge Bucket List: Baton Rouge Blues

Baton Rouge Bucket List: Baton Rouge Blues
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Baton Rouge has a long history of deep blues. From Robert Pete Williams to Henry Gray to Chris Thomas King, the capital city and surrounding area have been home to some of the form’s finest practitioners.

Their influence continues to be felt throughout the area to this day. Feel like getting a taste of Baton Rouge blues? There are plenty of options to choose from, including annual events, individual gigs and weekly jams.

The Baton Rouge Blues Festival, which kicked off on Friday, is as good a place to start as any. The free festival has been a fixture on the city’s calendar since 1981 and is now spread out over three days in downtown Baton Rouge, mixing a variety of outside acts with hometown talent. This year, local acts range from relative newcomers like Hanna PK to veterans like Chris LeBlanc and Luther Kent, while the touring contingent includes Tommy Castro & The Painkillers and Memphis-based roots and soul group Southern Avenue.

Oscar Davis performs during the 2022 Baton Rouge Blues Festival.

“Our mission is to promote, preserve and propel Louisiana blues,” Kim Neustrom, executive director of the Baton Rouge Blues Festival and Foundation, told The Advocate last week. “But at the festival, there’s rhythm-and-blues, folk blues, country blues. The idea is to expand the festival while always celebrating Louisiana blues.”

Haven’t heard of all the acts? That’s one of the festival’s charms: even if there isn’t a big headliner, just pull up a chair or a blanket, sit back, and take it all in. Who knows what you’ll discover? 

Back in the day, much of Baton Rouge’s blues scene coalesced around Tabby’s Blues Box, which opened in 1979 and originally stood on North Boulevard before moving downtown to Lafayette Street. Loose and loud, Tabby’s served as a beloved training ground for many of the city’s musicians before closing in 2004. While Tabby’s is gone, and much lamented, other venues have continued to fly the blues flag in its absence. 

Teddy’s Juke Joint, just outside Zachary, is a great place to visit. Under the watchful eye of owner Lloyd “Teddy” Johnston, who was actually born in the building, Teddy’s has hosted the blues for over 40 years. There’s plenty on the walls to take in, live music on most Wednesday and weekend nights, and great food. Johnston spins records whenever there aren’t bands playing, too.


About Mary Weyand 11096 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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