Hometown: Lake Arthur, Louisiana
Web site: http://dougkershaw.com
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BIOGRAPHY FOR DOUG KERSHAW
Doug Kershaw, known as the Ragin’ Cajun, is considered by most to be the king of the fiddle players. He was born and raised on a houseboat, and since his early days on a Louisiana bayou, he still takes the fiddle beyond what most people think possible. With tremendous energy, he plays so incredibly fast and passionately, that his worldwide audiences are infused with foot stomping excitement.
Having been self taught, Doug Kershaw has mastered over 20 instruments, and because of his signature style of music making and story telling, many of his peers consider him as the best musician, performer, singer, and songwriter to ever come out of Southwest Louisiana.
Starting at the age of 9, he has been captivating audiences with his live performances for 60 years. In addition, he has had a prolific television career with his first network television appearance coming on the “Johnny Cash Show.” Other appearances include: Ed Sullivan; Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; Mike Douglas; 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. He wrote and recorded the title song for the movie Heaven’s Gate, the Mamou Two-Step, and had acting roles in the movies Zechariah, Days of Heaven, and Medicine Ball Caravan. He was instrumental in helping launch the careers of Jay Leno, Dolly Parton, Little Richard, Willie Nelson, Steve Martin, and others by encouraging management to book them for the opening act of many of his shows. Even though he does not read or write music, he has composed thousands of songs, having recorded 410 with labels such as Hickory Records, RCA, Columbia, and Warner Brothers Records. Songs such as Diggy, Diggy Lo, Cajun Joe, and Rita Put Your Black Shoes On, are familiar tunes to Doug Kershaw fans, but none of his works reached the fame of his 1961 autobiographical recording of Louisiana Man, which was the first song ever broadcast back to earth from the moon during the 1969 Apollo 12 Mission. Kershaw has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 20 years, and has also performed at the White House. He is a recent inductee to the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame, in addition to being honored as the first inductee to the Cajun Zydeco Hall of Fame in Louisiana this past August 2007.
Kershaw has always taken his Cajun heritage seriously and is instrumental in continually promoting the Cajun Culture. Often he sings French lyrics and melodies that he learned during his childhood. He was instrumental in establishing the International Festival of the Acadians, which is a Louisiana organization dedicated to preserving and promoting French Cajun Culture. Because of his tireless efforts, the French Cajun language is being taught today in many schools. Kershaw proudly celebrates his heritage worldwide, and with his infectious style of performing, has made Cajun music as popular as many other forms of music.
People of all ages love the music and performance of Doug Kershaw. He spends enormous amounts of time with his fans, especially the young people. Liberally, Kershaw gives his time, inspiration, gifts, and encouragement to countless numbers from the younger generation. He is a wonderful role model, and has inspired many young people to become involved with their own musical expression. In his book, the great jazz violinist Mark O’Conner, stated that Doug Kershaw was one of the ten most influential people in his musical career.
On a personal side, Doug and Pam Kershaw were married on June 21st, 1975 before a game at the Astro Dome, and upon its conclusion, he performed a concert for the packed stadium. After residing in California, the Kershaw’s moved to Weld County in 1986 where they have raised three sons. Even with his successful and colorful career, Kershaw always kept his family as his number one priority. All three sons studied at the University of Northern Colorado Lab School, and the youngest is currently studying at UNC as a math major. All the sons are musically gifted, and one boy performs as a prominent member of the Kershaw band. As an involved community member, Kershaw has worked with the Greeley Stampede by performing concerts and hosting golf tournaments, raising money for a host of local charities.
Doug Kershaw is an American icon, family man, and valued community member. Fortunately for everyone, Kershaw has no plans to retire, and will keep on serving and entertaining for years to come.