Sunshine by the Stars: Celebrating Louisiana Music, a new made-for-TV film produced by Harry Connick Jr., premieres this Sunday, December 9 on Louisiana Public Broadcasting. The film explores Louisiana’s indigenous music via “You Are My Sunshine” – the 1930s classic made famous by former Governor Jimmie Davis — and showcases musicians ranging from jazz to zydeco, country to rockabilly, gospel and soul.
Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and Connick Jr. partnered with LPB on the four-months-in-the-works project, which features the state’s biggest music stars performing versions of the song: The Rebirth Brass Band marches through Lafayette Cemetery No. 2; Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews plays with his band on the St. Charles streetcar; Tim McGraw leads his audience in a sing-along at the New Orleans Arena.
Elsewhere, Jerry Lee Lewis offers his take at his Memphis home, Buddy Guy contributes a version at his club in Chicago, and Cajun artist Zachary Richard sings it in French in Acadiana.
Wynton and Branford Marsalis join their dad Ellis and brother Jason for a jazz version of the state song. For his part, film producer Connick and his band second line through the French Quarter. Other performers include Irma Thomas, the Zion Harmonizers, Better Than Ezra, Buckwheat Zydeco and Mickey Gilley.
Along with the music, vignettes written by author and journalist Chris Rose highlight the major industries of Louisiana including agriculture, ports and waterways, oil and gas and tourism.
The broadcast is part of Louisiana’s bicentennial celebration. Sunshine by the Stars: Celebrating Louisiana Music debuts at 7 p.m. Sunday, December 9 on LPB (WLAE-TV32 in New Orleans). Click here for a rundown of additional airings.