Byway Blues

Wednesdays at 8:45 a.m. and Fridays at 3:45 p.m.
  • Hosted by Lesli Rambin

Byway Blues tells the stories of the untapped blues roots in northeast Louisiana. Host Lesli Rambin shares the lives and musical accomplishments of famous local artists and their families.

The series spotlights buildings and venues that served as host to many famous musicians—all in an effort to preserve and potentially restore these historic cultural landmarks.

In addition, the segment features artists currently performing in the region who trace their inspiration from blues artists they’ve admired for years.

Byway Blues is produced with the generous support of Live Oaks Bar and Ballroom, the Entergy Charitable Foundation, and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

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Byway Blues: Savoy Ballroom

Sep 24, 2015
Preston Lauterbach /

The African-American Business Enterprise established the Miller-Roy building in 1929.

The building housed the Savoy Ballroom.  Kirby and Lesli Rambin catch up with Roosevelt Wright about the ballroom's heyday.  Wright shares that following the stock market's crash, musical acts at the Savoy helped keep the enterprise district alive.

Renowned names like Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Fats Domino, and Duke Ellington, all performed at the Savoy in Monroe.

Byway Blues: 3rd Street Woman Blues

Sep 24, 2015
courtesy /

Blind Joe Reynolds, who also recorded under the name of Willie Reynolds, was known to have a reputation in the years after losing his sight.

Reynolds moved Lake Providence, continuing to perfect his style of bottleneck slide guitar.  Personally, he was known as a bit of a rogue, who taunted societal norms.  His blindness did not prevent him from fending for himself, as he became known as a crack-shot with a pistol from hearing his target.

Byway Blues: Blind Joe Reynolds

Sep 24, 2015
courtesy /

In Part One of the Byway Blues Special, Kirby and Lesli Rambin feature the early days of Blind Joe Reynolds.

Reynolds, born in Tallulah, Louisiana, also spent time growing up in Richwood.  He went on to record music in New York and Memphis.  

Kirby interviews Linda Bowman, Reynolds' niece.  She shares the story about her uncle losing his eyes as the result of a shotgun blast of bird shot, following an argument.  Bowman adds that despite the incident, Reynolds never slowed in his passion for blues music.