• Travelling on a Tune

    Lonely Planet

    Travelling on a Tune

    USA MUSIC ROUTES

    Jazz and creole tunes in New Orleans_Lou Jones Lonely Planet ImagesDi Caught took to a musical highway route around the United States to see a different side of this vast country.

    In the US, there’s a whole country full to the brim with musical history, festivals and experiences just waiting to be explored.  Whether it’s Jazz, Soul, Blues, Motown, Hip Hop, Rock, Folk, Country or anything else in between that you like, you’re very unlikely to be disappointed.  You’ll be able to find it on the streets, in museums, in country towns and big cities, and it’s a great way to get to know more about the very diverse and misunderstood history of this huge country.

    The music of the United States reflects the country’s ethnic history with roots stemming from Africa, Spain, France, and many other countries creating new music unique to its origins due to cross-cultural hybridisations. Things like slavery brought together people from different tribes to share tight living quarters and therefore each other’s music. The intermingling of genres like African and French created the music of the Louisiana Creoles, whilst the slack key guitar, or the tiny guitar now known as the ukulele, was introduced to Hawaii.

    There’s a festival for everything in the United States and the people who live there are such big music fans that you will barely find a week when there is not a list of amazing performances to enjoy.  If you want to zone in on a particular style, do a bit of research before you go and you will be gladly rewarded.

    If you’re going to be travelling in the southern states, be sure to pay a visit to New Orleans, home to some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians.  The streets are steeped in Cajun, Creole and Voodoo sights and sounds on any given day or night and there’s a festival for every style including the world famous Mardi Gras and New Orleans Jazz Festival.  

    Sun Studios. Credit Di Caught

     

    Stick to the southern parts and trail up to the music rich state of Tennessee.  For a blues experience without compare you can’t miss Memphis, home to a list of legends that doesn’t end, a visit to this city will help you understand the true meaning of blues.

    Don’t miss out on a tour of Sun Studios where Elvis made his first recording followed by Johnny Cash, IkeTurner, BB King. You can even make your very own recording and take it with you the same day.  Beale Street is the place to be at night time when all the restaurants and clubs fill with music and interesting characters. Gracelands needs no introduction but is definitely worth a visit, even if only for the fantastic fashions and décor of the era. If you really want an education on a series of events that shaped the history of the country and its people, step off the music trail for a moment and spend some time at the Civil Rights Museum, built onto the Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King’s untimely assassination in 1968.

    If twang is more your thang, head east about 5 hours to Nashville - country capital of the world and home of the legendary Grand Ole’ Opry.  Nashville is gaining a reputation for all genres of music now as it is fast becoming the music business capital of the world, so if country music doesn’t float your boat, don’t be afraid, Nashville is very likely to have something for you.

    The Lone Star State of Texas is famous for its cowboys and oil, but in amongst all that money and hats is Austin where every April music lovers, record companies, artist managers and anyone else who cares to be involved converge for the South by South West music conference. It’s where musical acts from around the globe showcase their talents in the hope of a record contract, festival tour or even a new list of dedicated fans.  This is your chance to see bands that are about to make it big time and let your friends know that you discovered them.  If you can’t make it for April, never fear because Austin is a live music destination year round with festivals and bars to help you while away the wee hours.
     
    This is just a small exploration scratching the surface of a vast country that has spoilt the world with fine music for many generations and continues to do so in so many ways – we won’t mention the bad music here! If you choose to travel the United States with your ears as well as your eyes, you will find you are in for an amazing treat giving you stories your friends will envy and moments that will stay with you forever. 

    The gates to Elvis' Graceland_Di Caught