The Mississippi River runs through the center of the country like a bloodline bringing the nation its musical heritage. From ragtime to zydeco, its muddy waters bring life to the music of yesterday into the cities of tomorrow.
The Mississippi is the Vein of American Music
Memphis is known as the home of the blues. Blues is the acknowledged forerunner of rock 'n' roll, RB and soul. Memphis, then, is the heart of modern music in America, and thus an ideal starting point for an American music tour.
The Memphis sound is unmistakable. It started with the musicians who were brave enough to go against the norm. To create something uniquely theirs.
Rock 'n' Roll: While you're in Memphis, make sure to delve deep into the life of Elvis Presley. By visiting Graceland and Elvis Presley's Memphis, you will be a glimpse into what influenced Elvis and how Elvis influenced the world. Hear how Sun Studio's recording of Elvis' "That's All Right" changed how the world would listen to music.
Don't miss: Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.
Blues: Memphis is known world-wide as the home of the blues. What started as field hollers made its way to Beale Street. W.C. Handy, the legendary father of the blues, has his home open for tours on the east end of Beale. Musicians from Muddy Waters to B.B. King cut their teeth on blues music. Experience it yourself. Any night of the week, you can hear blues music wafting through the air from club to club.
Don't miss: The Blues Hall of Fame and the Center for Southern Folklore
Soul: Who doesn't love the sultry sounds of soul music: "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" to "Soul Man". It all came to life at Stax recording studio. Isaac Hayes, David Porter, Booker T. and the MGs, Steve Cropper - all familiar fixtures at the studio and man did the songs hit the charts - and stayed there. From memorabilia to recordings to dance floors and church pews, you can learn all about soul music at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
Don't miss: Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame
To learn all about the music legacy of Memphis and music that is still being created today, click here. And before you leave, take a little piece of Memphis home with you. Pick up vintage vinyl at Goner Records or CDs at any of the music attraction giftshops.
St. Louis, MO - Home to Scott Joplin's "jig piano," or ragtime music, St. Louis is a vibrant tourist destination with the Gateway Arch, Union Station and the Anheuser-Busch brewery complementing an array of live music.
Nashville, TN - Known the world over as "Music City, U.S.A.," and the Country Music Capital of the World, Nashville is a country music fan's dream with the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Branson, MO - This rural community in southwest Missouri is as much a part of the music scene as Music City itself. Branson offers front-row seats for live country music nightly.
New Orleans, LA - The "Birthplace of Jazz," New Orleans offers visitors exciting nightlife on Bourbon Street and throughout the French Quarter. Some of the world's best jazz musicians call the Crescent City home and perform their own brand of jazz in the bars, restaurants and streets almost every day.
Lafayette, LA - Located in the heart of the bayou country, this city offers a fascinating blend of French folk music and African rhythms known as zydeco - the syncopated dance music of the Cajuns which features the accordion.
Clarksdale, MS - Thousands of visitors from all over the world journey to this blues shrine every year to experience rare video footage, memorabilia, artifacts and early recordings at the Delta Blues Museum.