Discover the ultimate American Roadtrip

Sounds of <strong>the South</strong>

Sounds of the South

Tennessee - Louisiana

For lovers of southern blues and jazz music, here’s our road trip around the south of the USA to find some of the most celebrated musical hotspots. Travel from the country sounds of the Smoky Mountains and Nashville, down through the heart of the blues in Memphis and the Mississippi Delta, to end up at the birthplace of New Orleans jazz. And see the best sights celebrating stars like Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley and Louis Armstrong along the way.

Sounds of the South

Stop 1: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park 1/14

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The beautiful Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee and North Carolina make a great starting point for our road trip around the south. This is America’s most visited National Park and the misty ridges of hills rising into the distance have been the inspiration behind bluegrass songs like Rocky Top and country hits like A Boy Named Sue. Locals are also very fond of Dolly Parton’s old ballad about these hills, called In My Tennessee Mountain Home.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

http://www.visitmysmokies.com/blog/smoky-mountains/top-songs-about-the-smoky-mountains/

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Sounds of the South

Stop 2: Dollywood 2/14

Dollywood

Dolly Parton’s theme park stands in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. It’s an amazing mix of thrill rides and amusements with homespun country music. Alongside the waterpark, there’s the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame where you can learn about the legends of the south, while the ‘world’s fastest wood roller coaster’ will see you travel through the air at top speeds of 73mph. There’s a Dolly Parton Museum, of course, and plenty of regular live music events. (Image credit: Edward C. Denny)

2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

http://www.dollywood.com/

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Sounds of the South

Stop 3: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum 3/14

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

In the heart of the capital city of country music, the Hall of Fame is a massive modern museum about the history, stars and sounds of the genre. Get immersed in the world of country thanks to displays, recordings and interactive exhibitions that are enhanced by a live venue and historic recording studio. The collection of more than 2.5 million country artefacts ranges from Earl Scruggs’ banjo to 200,000 sound recordings. (Image credit: Michael Rivera)

222 Fifth Avenue South Nashville, TN 37203

http://countrymusichalloffame.org/

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Sounds of the South

Stop 4: Casey Jones Village 4/14

Casey Jones Village

It’s hard not to want to look inside the old whitewashed wooden house that was once the home of Casey Jones. The enthusiastic railway engineer died at the throttle of the ‘Cannonball Express’ in a collision in 1900. His house is a museum telling the story and there are Casey sights all over Jackson, including a railroad museum, gift shop and period ice cream restaurant. (Image credit: Thomas R Machnitzki)

30 Casey Jones Lane, Jackson, Tennessee, 38305

http://www.caseyjones.com

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Sounds of the South

Stop 5: Sun Studio 5/14

Sun Studio

Sam Phillips opened Sun Studios in this humble brick building in 1950 and went on to record pioneering blues and rock and roll stars like BB King, Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison. It’s still a recording studio, used by artists like U2 and Def Leppard, but also a tourist attraction with guided tours, a shop and café. As the owners claim, it’s a chance to see the ‘birthplace of rock and roll’. (Image credit: David Jones)

706 Union Ave, Downtown Memphis

https://www.sunstudio.com/

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Sounds of the South

Stop 6: Stax Museum of American Soul Music 6/14

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

The former home of the Stax record label is now a huge museum dedicated to soul music. Stax was a major label behind soul artists like Otis Redding and Carla Thomas. The museum is an opportunity to browse more than 2,000 artefacts from the great age of soul, ranging from video footage of Marvin Gaye to Isaac Hayes’ gold-plated Cadillac. Try learning dance moves from Sly and the Family Stone or enter an old southern chapel to learn about the roots of soul in gospel music. (Image credit: Thomas R Machnitzki)

926 E. McLemore Ave, Memphis, TN 38106

http://staxmuseum.com/

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Sounds of the South

Stop 7: Graceland 7/14

Graceland

The famous mock-colonial style mansion in the suburbs of Memphis was Elvis Presley’s home from 1957 until his death in 1977 and he is actually laid to rest in the garden here. The house has become a huge attraction for tourists as a part shrine, part museum. The highlights include the ‘Jungle Room’ basement recording studio, a collection of glittering jumpsuits and the room where Elvis would watch three TVs at once.

Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116

https://www.graceland.com/

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Sounds of the South

Stop 8: The Arcade Restaurant 8/14

The Arcade Restaurant

Pop into Memphis’ oldest restaurant and the location for dozens of film scenes over the years, including Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Great Balls of Fire and Johnny Cash film Walk the Line. Elvis was once a regular here too. It’s a chance to sample old-time American home-style dishes like biscuits and gravy, sweet potato pancakes, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches in a classic diner interior. (Image credit: Thomas R Machnitzki)

540 South Main Street, Memphis 38103

http://arcaderestaurant.com/about/

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Sounds of the South

Stop 9: Blue & White restaurant 9/14

Blue & White restaurant

While driving around on your musical tour of the south, take a break and try a taste of traditional southern roadside hospitality at the Blue and White on Highway 61. It was originally a service station run by a petrol company but has grown to become a local institution. The gas pumps may have disappeared but this is the place to try Mississippi favourites like fried dill pickle, pond-raised catfish or smoked pulled pork. (Image credit: Jane & Michael Stern, Roadfood.com)

1355 Highway 61, Tunica MS 38676

http://blueandwhiterestaurant.com/

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Sounds of the South

Stop 10: Ground Zero Blues Club 10/14

Ground Zero Blues Club

This shabby old brick music club next door to the Delta Blues Museum celebrates the blues music of the area. Eat ‘down-home’ country dishes in a relaxed atmosphere of mismatched chairs and tables, and enjoy live blues music from the best of the local acts. Be sure to keep a look out for co-owner and frequent visitor, Morgan Freeman. (Image credit: Joe Mazzola)

387 Delta Avenue, Clarksdale, MS 38614

http://www.groundzerobluesclub.com/

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Sounds of the South

Stop 11: Robert Johnson’s Crossroads 11/14

Robert Johnson’s Crossroads

To emphasise that Clarksdale considers itself the centre of the blues music tradition, the intersection of Interstates 61 and 49 has become a landmark for music lovers. The crossroads here are supposed to be THE crossroads where pioneer bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in return for great skills on the guitar. A giant guitar monument marks the spot that featured in films and songs like Crossroads by Cream. (Image credit: Visit Mississippi)

North State Street, Clarksdale, Mississippi 38614

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/clarksdale-crossroads

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Sounds of the South

Stop 12: Margaret’s Grocery and Market 12/14

Margaret’s Grocery and Market

Drivers heading along Bob Dylan’s famous Highway 61 will pass the extraordinary sight of Margaret’s Grocery and Market in Vicksburg. It’s the decaying remains of a surreal structure of homemade decorations completely submerging the original grocery store. It was the work of Margaret’s husband, former bricklayer Reverend H.D. Dennis. (Image credit: Kelly Ludwig)

4535 N. Washington St. Vicksburg, Mississippi, 39183

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/margarets-grocery-and-market

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Sounds of the South

Stop 13: Louis Armstrong Park 13/14

Louis Armstrong Park

This 32-acre park next to the famous French Quarter celebrates local jazz legend, Louis Armstrong. It contains music venues as well as a statue of Armstrong by acclaimed artist Elizabeth Catlett, which stands among the gardens. (Image credit: Aforlenza)

701 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116

http://www.nola.gov/parks-and-parkways/parks-squares/congo-square-louis-armstrong-park/

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Sounds of the South

Stop 14: Preservation Hall 14/14

Preservation Hall

Our southern music marathon ends, appropriately, at the most historic jazz venue in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Behind the peeling exterior and flaking shutters of the 200-year-old building, it’s a chance to hear top local jazz acts in three shows a night, every night. (Image credit: Infrogmation)

726 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

https://www.preservationhall.com/

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