The Mississippi Delta is widely recognized as America’s birthplace of the blues, a style of music expressing the struggles and hardships of African Americans living in this vast and vital area. Although this musical sound and style existed before the 20th century, it really came into prominence in the 1920’s, when record companies first started recording blues artists. The blues’ distinct musical style has influenced many other genres of music, including rock and roll, jazz, and soul.
Clarksdale, Mississippi, has been one of the main hot-spots for the blues from the start. It is a fascinating town, full of history, great food, friendly locals, and the place to be if you are interested in the blues. Clarksdale hosts many blues festivals throughout the year, and attracts visitors from all over the world with its variety of blues and music themed attractions. Here are a few of my must-see destinations in Clarksdale:
Delta Blues Museum
This wonderfully-informative museum (housed in a renovated railway depot in Blues Alley) is packed with authentic memorabilia and exhibits, including the cabin where Muddy Waters grew up! Inside is a life-sized statue of Waters, along with some of his instruments and belongings. There is also a great gift shop, and it’s right next door to…
Ground Zero Blues Club
Aptly named, since Clarksdale is often referred to as “Ground Zero” for the blues, this unpretentious club (co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman) is the place to be for great food, attentive service, cold beer and hot music. From the outside, it kind of looks like an abandoned building, but to me, that only adds to its charms! The insides exceeded my expectations; it was exactly what I thought an old blues club should look like. There are posters and instruments hanging all over the place, and signatures everywhere! (They encourage their guests to sign their names anywhere…and it appears just about every guest has!) If you love the blues, or just love having a great time, then the Ground Zero Blues Club is for you.
Rock & Blues Museum
This is a fascinating stop for any music fan. They have an impressive collection of displays and memorabilia from the 1920’s through the 1970’s, including old radios and phonographs, articles, photographs, and so much more, including some original John Lennon lithographs.
These are just a few of the many cool places to visit in and around Clarksdale, Mississippi. It may be the birthplace of the blues, but you definitely won’t be feeling blue in this exciting, fun-loving town!
For more information on Clarksdale, visit Escape to the Southeast!