Doug Kershaw to Headline Frolics
Doug Kershaw was born in 1936 and raised in a musical family on a houseboat near Louisiana’s Calcasieu River, which makes him the real deal on being Cajun. The lyrics that he wrote to Louisiana Man were autobiographical and happened to be the first song ever broadcast back to earth from the moon during the 1969 Apollo 12 Mission. From an alligator-filled swamp to the barren lunar surface, that’s quite a reach for any song.
Kershaw was playing the fiddle at the age of five, and with his mother on guitar, played his first gig at the local drinking establishment with the enticing name Bucket of Blood. His younger brother, Rusty, and him formed a band and began playing the other local bars to feed the family. At the age of 9, they began learning English, but it was another 10 years before they started incorporating English lyrics into their Cajun music. Rusty and Doug were quite successful touring and were accepted into the Louisiana Hayride and later the
Grand Ole Opry.
They began cutting a series of singles in the late 1950s however the military intervened and both brothers served three years. After the service, they rejoined and released Louisiana Man and Diggy Liggy Lo which reestablished their fame. However, Rusty gave up the music business, but Doug persevered and made the next big leap by appearing on the Johnny Cash Show in 1969 (same show with Bob Dylan).
In the age of serious electric rockn-roll, Doug and electric Cajun music became hot property, He performed at the top rock venues in California and New York. Talk/variety shows were also big draws and included: Ed Sullivan; The Tonight Show; Mike Douglas; a regular on Music Country USA; Merv Griffin; Dinah Shore; Mary Tyler Moore Special; John Wayne Special; Midnight Special with Wolf-Man Jack; and a member of The Fiddlers Three with Itzhak Perlman and Jean-Luc Ponty.
Most shows tried to bill him as an overnight sensation, but he stunned them when he told them he already had sold 18 million records. He wrote and recorded the Mamou Twostep the title song for the movie Heaven's Gate, and had acting roles in the movies Zechariah, Days of Heaven, and Medicine Ball Caravan .
Even though he does not read or write music, Kershaw has composed thousands of songs, having recorded nearly 500 other songs such as Cajun Joe, and Rita, Put Your Black Shoes On.
Over the decades his career has seen the usual rollercoaster ride of a musician who keeps on playing. Kershaw proudly celebrates his Cajun heritage worldwide, and frequently says that he is the last of his kind to emerge from the Louisiana bayous. In 2009, he was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, and in 2016 into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame.