American Blues Tour in Southern US
Study Music & Road Trip the United States
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Start your trip by touching down in the appropriately named ‘Music City.’ After checking into your hotel, jump right into exploring this bustling city with a stroll down Honky Tonk Highway. Stop in at local gems like Ernest Tubb Record Shop for a huge musical variety, and Carter Vintage Guitars for a hands-on experience. End your first night the right way with great food and live music at Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar.
After a breakfast that will surely involve cheese grits or biscuits, you’ll head over to RCA Studio B, the historical recording place from the ‘60s for legends like Elvis, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings. You’ll take a guided tour of the studio, learning about the science behind recording, and experience true inspiration from the history steeped in the walls. Keep the enthusiasm high with another tour through Hatch Show Print, a century-old letterpress shop that printed posters for some of the greats when they were still up and coming. Spend the rest of the afternoon in music heaven, and wrap your evening with soul food and some of the best local talent at BB King’s Blues Bar.
Wake up early for your first official day of this music-focused road trip! Cruise from Nashville to the heart of blues, Memphis, and head straight to Stax Museum of American Soul Music where you’ll wind through a timeline of exhibits including an interactive dance floor, a record wall, and replicas of recording equipment. From there, you’ll grab a BBQ lunch and take a guided tour of ‘The Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ Sun Studio, where music titans like BB King and Johnny Cash first recorded. You can’t come to Memphis and not hear live music, so end your day at a local favorite juke joint, Wild Bill’s, located near the legendary Beale Street.
It’s time to hit the original ‘blues highway,’ Highway 61. Your first stop is in Tunica, where you’ll take an essential tour through the Gateway to the Blues Museum. There, you’ll learn about the roots of blues music, and the role Tunica (and the Mississippi Delta as a whole) played in this genre’s story. Next, you’ll continue your journey into Clarksdale. Known worldwide as ground zero for blues music, it’s fitting to stop in for an authentically soulful experience at Ground Zero Blues Club in the heart of Clarksdale. Wind down your day with comfort food and soulful city sounds lulling you to sleep.
Your adventure continues in the morning with the next stop in Leland, for a tour of Highway 61 Blues Museum. Highlighting the Delta’s influence on the genre, this museum focuses on the 100-plus musicians living near the area in the peak blues era. After the tour, take a quick 15-minute drive over to Greenville and stretch your legs with a different perspective of the Delta by walking a trail that overlooks Lake Ferguson.
Then it’s back in the car and over to BB King’s birthplace, Indianola. Get the full experience of the native blues icon’s life with a tour through his namesake museum, as well as other historical landmarks around town like Club Ebony, where King got his start as a musician. In the latter part of the afternoon, you’ll make your way to New Orleans where you’ll spend the remainder of your trip.
Wake up in New Orleans, the perfect place to wrap up your journey through southern music hotspots. There’s something for every genre lover in this diverse hub of musical history, a city that is simply drenched in heritage. You’ll start the day by visiting lively Jackson Square where you can take in live performances amid park vibes. Next, head over to local favorite Frenchmen Street for a bite to eat and to browse the infamous Louisiana Music Factory, which boasts an impressive record selection. Spend the afternoon biking Lafitte Greenway, which offers a unique way to see surrounding neighborhoods and parks. The last night of your trip must include music, and you’ll get the kind of experience you’re looking for at Maple Leaf Bar, a venue brimming with musical talent nightly.
Grab a beignet and head to the airport feeling inspired by your tour through music-focused spots.
The blues genre is a musical backbone of the southern United States. Serving as solace in a time of despair for many, the connection of culture and history is palpable from Tennessee to Louisiana. Enrich all of your senses as you indulge in soulful music, food, and experiences on this significant road trip USA.
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