One of America’s greatest gifts to the world has been in the area of the musical arts, as its heartland is where a variety of musical talent combined to birth jazz and the blues, when then went on to give the world rock and roll as well.
The Mississippi River was the epicentre of this time in musical history, and even today, its cities contain lively music scenes that continue to churn out artists that continue to contribute to the evolution of this art form.
When you plan your trip to the USA, be sure to include the follow three great music cities in your travel itinerary…
1) St. Louis, Missouri
Start your musical tour of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, where a distinctive form of the blues emerged.
Known unsurprisingly as the St. Louis Blues, this style of musical expression was defined by its use of the piano as the lead instrument, rather than the guitar, was was the focus of other forms of the blues.
Chuck Berry was the best known artist to emerge from the local blues scene, despite the fact that he broke the mold of his home city’s style with guitar driven hits that included “Maybelline” and “Johnny Be Good”.
Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, which is located at 6504 Delmar Boulevard in the neighborhood of University City, was Chuck’s home venue, and it still hosts Mr. Berry once per month, as well as the best up and comers in the scene today.
2) Memphis, Tennessee
Moving down the river to Memphis, Tennessee, you will find a city that many consider to be the cradle of the blues, as well as some of America’s best BBQ.
You’ll find plenty of venue to take in both of these simple pleasures on Beale Street, where dozens of clubs offer live music experiences that will raise the bar of what constitutes a fun night out.
Before you head out to the clubs though, be sure to check out the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum first, as it’s exhibits are a must for fans of this genre.
It profiles the rise of many prominent musicians during the mid 20th century through their songs and personal affects, making it a great way to kill an afternoon.
Also try to fit in the Sun Studio, as it is where music icons Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash recorded their first tracks in the 50’s, and it is where countless other legends such as B.B. King and Jerry Lee Lewis also laid down hit singles.
If you are here during May, checking out the Beale Street Music Festival is another excellent way to get your live music fix, as not only are there stages highlighting the best of the blues, but many of the top acts in rock and pop music today grace its bill as well.
3) New Orleans, Louisiana
End your journey down America’s laziest river in the city of New Orleans. Appropriately known as The Big Easy, all the trappings of the good life are in this city’s DNA, from decadent food to music that is every bit as soulful, giving rise to a party culture that has made this place world famous.
The roots from which jazz emerged can be found here, but other types of music can be found here as well, with Cajun, blues, gospel, folk, and country music all being heard pouring out of various clubs as one walks the streets in the French Quarter and in the Marigny.
These performances can also be enjoyed on riverboat cruises, art galleries and even in public parks, but if you find yourself here at the end of April/beginning of May, you can hear all these styles and more at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
While it tends to be a wet and muddy time of year, the festive atmosphere will more than make up for this inconvenience, so just buy your tickets, dress up in casual clothing you don’t care about, and have a blast!
Eshores.co.uk is a professional tour provider who offers tours to the aforementioned cities, check with them before planning your trip!