Singing politicians are nothing new in Louisiana. Gov. Jimmie Davis famously co-wrote the standard "You Are My Sunshine," which became the official state song in 1977. Kaplan-born country music star Sammy Kershaw, who released his first album in 1991 and was named to the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2008, is running in the Oct. 2 primary for lieutenant governor, and his 11th album, Better Than I Used To Be, will be released at the end of August.
Kershaw wrote or co-wrote the two songs at the beginning and end of the album ("That Train" and "Takin' the Long Way Home"), while the rest are by other songwriters, most notably "The Cover of the Rolling Stone," which was written by Shel Silverstein and became a hit for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show in 1972.
While Kershaw's platform hews closely to the pro-gun, pro-life, opposite-sex marriage line of the GOP, much of it is also concerned with attracting entertainment business to the state through tax credits and cultural tourism. "If financial gains could be produced in Louisiana, record labels and producers would set up shop here," he writes. "Dating back to the days of the Louisiana Hayride, there is no doubt that the music industry is a part of who we are. We need to embrace this industry and allow [it] to find a home in our state."
If Kershaw wins, perhaps he can get a country music studio here in time for his follow-up album. According to its liner notes, Better Than I Used To Be was recorded entirely in Nashville. — Kevin Allman