Milwaukee Record is proud to present Public Domain. The music video series features Milwaukee musicians setting up at Colectivo Coffee to adapt some of the world’s best-known songs in ways they’ve never been heard before. Watch the entire series here.
No doubt inspired by the culture, vibrancy, and incomparable majesty of “The Big Easy,” composer Turner Layton Jr. and lyricist Henry Creamer collaborated on an aural love letter to Louisiana’s crown jewel when they wrote “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans.” The song was first published in 1922 as a “southern song” that intentionally avoided the tired tropes and offensive aspects of the region’s collective catalog at the time. Once the upbeat anthem for the special city they called “heaven right here on earth” came into consciousness, it has quickly covered by a number of musicians in a wide variety of genres. Freddy Cannon’s rocking 1959 rendition even cracked the top 3 on the Billboard charts in 1960.
Through the years, the progressive and positive song has been performed by countless artists, including the likes of Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Al Jolson And The Andrews Sisters, the Peerless Quartet, and Patti Paige. More recently, Harry Connick Jr. covered “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans” during a 2005 NBC telecast that helped raise more than $50 million in funds for those impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Now, GGOOLLDD—a Milwaukee-born project with a couple members who now call Louisiana home—are the latest to take a turn with this century-old song and help bring it to exciting new sonic territory.