That’s no small claim, but with only a few stops across the state’s music landmarks, you will wholeheartedly agree. First and foremost, the blues was born here. Made famous by Mississippians like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King, the genre later provided a foundation for other genres including jazz, R&B, country and of course, rock ’n’ roll. Before Elvis Presley was the “King of Rock ’n’ Roll,” he was a boy with a guitar in Tupelo. Before she was the “First Lady of Country Music,” Tammy Wynette got her start in the tiny Mississippi town of Tremont while the “Father of Country Music,” Jimmie Rodgers, got his start in Meridian. Leontyne Price was one of the first African American singers to become a leading artist at the Metropolitan Opera. Producing legendary musicians is not a new trend for Mississippi. Perhaps you’ve heard of Jimmy BuffetT, Faith Hill, The Band Perry, LeAnn Rimes, 3 Doors Down or Britney Spears? These are just a few of the contemporary artists who called Mississippi home. It’s hard to say what it is in Mississippi that lends itself to churning out such talented artists and musicians. Whether it’s the state’s many cultural influences or ability to turn hardships to the blues, we aren’t sure. But we are positive, America’s music was born here.

MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI MUSIC FESTIVAL, GREENVILLE

 

That’s no small claim, but with only a few stops across the state’s music landmarks, you will wholeheartedly agree. First and foremost, the blues was born here. Made famous by Mississippians like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King, the genre later provided a foundation for other genres including jazz, R&B, country and of course, rock ’n’ roll. Before Elvis Presley was the “King of Rock ’n’ Roll,” he was a boy with a guitar in Tupelo. Before she was the “First Lady of Country Music,” Tammy Wynette got her start in the tiny Mississippi town of Tremont while the “Father of Country Music,” Jimmie Rodgers, got his start in Meridian. Leontyne Price was one of the first African American singers to become a leading artist at the Metropolitan Opera. Producing legendary musicians is not a new trend for Mississippi. Perhaps you’ve heard of Jimmy BuffetT, Faith Hill, The Band Perry, LeAnn Rimes, 3 Doors Down or Britney Spears? These are just a few of the contemporary artists who called Mississippi home. It’s hard to say what it is in Mississippi that lends itself to churning out such talented artists and musicians. Whether it’s the state’s many cultural influences or ability to turn hardships to the blues, we aren’t sure. But we are positive, America’s music was born here.

MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI MUSIC FESTIVAL, GREENVILLE

Immerse Yourself In Our Music

Delta

Located in Clarksdale, the Delta Blues Museum offers a soulful history of the blues told through unique artifacts, including the actual cabin where Muddy Waters once lived.

 

In his hometown of Indianola is the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center. This first-class museum features the early life and career of B.B. King, and is now the blues legend’s final resting place.

 

Tunica’s former train depot, first built in 1895, now serves as a visitors center and home of the Gateway to the Blues Museum. Stop in for insight on Tunica’s role in building this genre’s enduring legacy.

 

Only one GRAMMY Museum® exists outside of Los Angeles, and it’s right here in the Delta town of Cleveland. The GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi offers an exciting and interactive celebration of  American music, presented with award night glamour.

 

Pines

The Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience in Meridian, otherwise known as “The Max,” is a world-class venue and museum, dedicated to showcasing the legacy of Mississippi’s creative class and culture, and perhaps answering just what it is about the state inspiring so many quality and often legendary artists.

 

As one of the first three artists inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, it’s only fitting Jimmie Rodgers is im- mortalized with a museum in his hometown. The Jimmie Rodgers Museum presents a detailed look at Jimmie’s early life and rise to country music stardom.

 

Hills

Even 40 years after his death, the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum in Tupelo is a destination drawing visitors from all over the world for a look at the humble beginnings of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. The on-site tour has expanded to include additional bronze statues of Elvis, a theater and visitor pavilion.

 

 

 

PAY HOMAGE

Delta

Artfully marked by a colorful trio of electric guitars stretching to the sky, the corner of blues highways 61 and 49 in Clarksdale is known as The Crossroads. It’s here blues musician Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his now legendary guitar skills.

 

They say it all started at Dockery Plantation. Once a cotton plan- tation and sawmill near Cleveland, Dockery Plantation is widely regarded as the site where Delta blues music was born. Early blues artists known to perform at the plantation included Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf and David “Honeyboy” Edwards. Today, the site is available for tours and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Once one of the South’s top and most important African American night clubs, Club Ebony has hosted the likes of Ray Charles, James Brown, Little Milton, Willie Clayton and its hometown star, B.B. King. In fact, King owned the Indianola juke joint from 2008 until his death in 2015 with the hopes of keeping the Club Ebony tradition alive.

 

Tunica’s Hollywood Café was made famous in Marc Cohn’s song, “Walking in Memphis,” but it’s also a site on the Mississippi Blues Trail, marked for its contributions to the area’s musical history.

 

Hills

Transcending both genre and gender, “Memphis Minnie” was a singer, songwriter and notable guitarist with a career spanning from the country blues of the 1920’s to the early rock sounds of the 1950’s.  When it came to her music, she was known for being able to “keep up with the boys” and for her storytelling approach to songwriting. Her gravesite is in the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery in her hometown of Walls.

 

Coastal

Blues was born here, but some argue rock ’n’ roll was too. The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll noted the 1936 blues recordings of Hattiesburg’s Mississippi Jook Band “featured fully formed rock and roll guitar riffs and a stomping rock and roll beat,” long before the genre exploded in the early 1950’s. One could also argue Jimmy Buffett’s own gulf-inspired brand of rock was born on the coast of Mississippi, as Jimmy was born in the coastal town of Pascagoula.

 

Country artist Chris LeDoux of Biloxi had a long career in country music, but was made famous when megastar Garth Brooks mentioned Chris in his hit “Much Too Young,” and the two later recorded a Grammy-nominated duet. LeDoux was posthumously given the Academy of Country Music’s Pioneer Award.

 

 

WHERE THE MUSIC LIVES ON

It’s not hard to find great live music in the state where America’s music was born. In fact, you’re bound to find great live shows any night of the week.

 

Delta

First opened in 1948, Bentonia’s Blue Front Café is a historically significant juke joint and one of the state’s oldest. Don’t let its rustic exterior fool you, the Blue Front Café still operates as a venue for great live music and is run by Bentonia’s local blues legend, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes.

 

Clarksdale is considered “ground zero” for Mississippi blues, and that’s how Ground Zero Blues Club came to be named by owners Bill Luckett and Morgan Freeman. Ground Zero is one of the top destinations for blues in the state with live shows Wednesday through Saturday.

 

Red’s Lounge is another authentic Clarksdale juke joint in the former location of LaVene Music Center featuring live blues performances by veteran Mississippi artists.

 

Capital/River

Co-founded by brothers Hal and Malcolm White, Hal and Mal's remains a family- owned and operated restaurant and venue that’s become a music and social hub for the capital city. Hal and Mal’s maintains a packed calendar of live shows by top local and national talent.

 

 

 

Get down at a mississippi festival

Delta

Set in the heart of the Delta with our storied river as its backdrop, Greenville’s Mighty Mississippi Music Festival is a three-day, multi-genre concert in celebration of the fields, farmers, legends and all the music they have inspired. This blues event is part of the Bridging the Blues Project, a two-week series of events spanning three states (Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee), bringing blues fans together for the region’s top blues experiences.

 

Founded in 2015 by Keep Cleveland Boring, the Pour Mississippi Craft Beer and Music Festival is a celebration of Southern beer, its devoted drinkers and great live music. This annual festival features over 30 craft breweries, food trucks and live music performances.

 

Cat Head is Clarksdale’s shopping destination for anything blues-related and each year hosts a free mini-festival, the Cat Head Mini Blues Fest. Held on the street in front of the store, expect live blues by some of the area’s legit blues artists.

 

Capital/River

Enjoy the sounds of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra at the annual Pepsi Pops in Ridgeland. Held on the lawn of Old Trace Park overlooking the Ross Barnett Reservoir each May, this family-friendly concert features children’s activities and a firework grand  finale.

 

Pines

In a tribute to its most famous citizen and the “Father of Country Music,” Meridian hosts the Annual Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival. Now in its 64th year, the family-friendly festival draws national country music talent to Meridian for two days of memorable performances and events including a first-rate talent competition, theatrical performances and a symposium.

 

Coastal

One of the longest running blues festivals in the deep south is the annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues and Heritage Festival. For more than 25 years, this celebratory event has promoted the state’s blues heritage and included an array of performances by top national and local acts.

 

 

Hot on the trail of great music

As the “Birthplace of America’s Music,” it’s fitting to have two trails, the Mississippi Blues Trail and the Mississippi Country Music Trail,  ensuring the state’s contributions to these genres and the sites where it all happened are preserved for all to see.

 

Each trail gives the opportunity to take a soulful journey along the sites where America’s music was made. Don’t miss a stop along the way.

 

For a complete listing of stops along The Mississippi Blues Trail, visit msbluestrail.org.

 

For a complete listing of stops along The Country Music Trail, visit mscountrymusictrail.org.

 

 

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