Each and every April throughout the USA is known as Jazz Appreciation Month. ‘JAM’ is a whole month dedicated to America’s music heritage and the influence it’s had on today’s society. When it comes to American music, all roads lead to The Deep South – the birthplace of so many genres that have helped to shape music culture as we know it today. Think soulful blues, brassy jazz, country twang, Cajun accordions, riverboat calliopes and gospel choirs.
Written by: Gemma Walsh / 26 April 2016
There's live music year-round in the Deep South, from bluegrass in Kentucky to the jazz and Cajun clubs in Louisiana; from the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee and the legendary studios of Alabama's Muscle Shoals to Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero blues club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. So if you love the blues, tap your toes to country or groove to rock 'n' roll, then you'll find your sound in Deep South USA. Here’s a selection of our favourite destinations...
Music in Alabama
Alabama has both looks and substance. This beautiful state is defined not only by its scenic mountains and sun-splashed beaches, but by its deep rooted history and heritage. Visit Alabama and you will find a state ingrained with music and one that has inspired Blues and Country styles worldwide. The renowned Muscle Shoals Studios and FAME Studios in Alabama are notorious for their huge contribution to rock, country and R&B music throughout the 1960s and 70s and were frequently used by superstars like The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Otis Redding.
Music in Louisiana
Each region of Louisiana adds a unique note to the state’s musical heritage. North Louisiana is a major contributor to America's rock'n'roll, country and Southern gospel music. In southwest Louisiana, the sounds of Cajun music echos from bars and restaurants and in southeast Louisiana, you’ll discover the soulful sounds of blues, gospel and jazz. Of course, no trip to Louisiana would be complete without a trip to New Orleans. With the sweet sounds of jazz drifting from every direction, the streets packed with bars and clubs, good vibes everywhere and a festival seemingly happening every other week, holidays to the Big Easy are like one long party.
Music in Kentucky
Kentucky is a state rich in history; it’s the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, the legendary Muhammad Ali and the father of Bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, were also born here. Kentucky is probably best known for its horses and bourbon but with roots so deep into music and culinary delights, there are 3 B’s which always spring to mind - Bluegrass, Blues & Barbecue! You can hear, taste, smell and touch it all throughout the Bluegrass state and with year round festivals, most famously the Kentucky Darby; there are always opportunities to immerse yourself in the unique culture and heritage which make up this iconic part of the Deep South!
Music in Tennessee
And last but by no means least, and possibly one of the most important American music states we have Tennessee. From early beginnings, Tennessee grew from a foundation built on music. Music has been the common thread connecting the life and soul of the state and its people. This is the home of the blues in Memphis, the capital of country in Nashville, and the birthplace of rock' 'n' roll. With its long list of musical legends (among them Elvis, Dolly Parton and Aretha Franklin), historic recording studios and iconic music venues with living legends still playing in them, Tennessee has a music scene like no other state.
The South provides a fantastic blend of historic culture, Cajun flavours, fantastic cities and legendary music! Rhythm resides in the very soul of the South so when it comes to American music there’s no better place to lose yourself…