There are more than 75 reasons for you to take a meandering road trip along the Mississippi Blues Trail. It is here that you’ll find the ‘roots of the blues’ – music that reaches way down deep in your soul. A famous blues artist, Willie Dixon, said it best, “Blues is the roots of all music, and you know you can’t have no fruits without first you have the roots.”
Don’t just meander though: stop by any Mississippi welcome center and pick up your official Mississippi Blues Trail map. This road map will not only show you how to get to B.B. King’s birthplace in Berclair, or head you in the direction of McComb, home of Bo Diddley, “acclaimed as the founder of rock ‘n’ roll;” it also provides tid bits of 77 blues artists, like Muddy Water’s who called Rolling Fork home, or Vicksburg’s Willie Dixon. While some of these names may not be familiar to you, unless you are a-died-in-the-wool blues fan, the one name associated with music and blues in the State of Mississippi is known to people throughout the world: Elvis Presley, who revolutionized popular music by blending the blues he first heard as a youth in Tupelo.
A giant in post-World War II Chicago blues, Chester Arthur Burnett, better known as Howlin’ Wolf, was known as a pioneer in electrifying the Delta blues … stop by (with an appointment) to visit the Howlin’ Wolf Museum in West point. What a treasure trove: West Point was designated one of America’s top 100 small towns and features a historic downtown area with quaint shops and regionally acclaimed restaurants. You won’t want to miss the 33rd annual Prairie Arts Festival (September 3), cited as one of the top 10 events in the South.
How about heading to the Joint Juke Festival in Clarksdale, beginning April 22, where you can do some “Day Trippin’”, Antiques and Art shopping, Jookin, Bluesin and Dancin’, and eating: Try the Dutch Oven or Ground Zero Blues Club where they serve Southern soul food, or watch the chefs work their magic as you take a seat at the kitchen bar in the upscale dining establishment known as Lady at the Levee.
No matter where you start, or end up, you’ll discover a musical legacy like no other, in Mississippi towns like:
- Jackson, home of Trumpet Records and The Alamo Theatre
- Vicksburg, where Willie Dixon, often called “the poet laureate of the blues,” hailed from
- Hattiesburg, where rock n’ roll is rooted in the blues of Mississippi
- Pelahatchie, home to Rubin Lacy, “one of the most talented and influential artists in Mississippi blues”
- Raymond, where blues singer-song-writer’s, The McCoy Brothers, left their stamp on blues history with songs like “Corrine Corrina and When the Levee Breaks”
Meridian, where Jimmie Rodgers, widely known as the “father of country music” was a major blues artist influence in the 1950s and ’60s
To learn more about the Mississippi Blues Trail, log on to www.msbluestrail.org
No matter where your travels take you in Mississippi, you’ll want a good night’s sleep after a day of musical touring.