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Calling itself “The Birthplace of American Music,” Mississippi has a big name to live up to in American culture. Artists such as LeAnn Rimes, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Buffett, Faith Hill, Lance Bass, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Tammy Wynette, Charley Patton, Howlin’ Wolf, Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, B.B. King, Ike Turner, and R.L. Burnside have a historic connection to this state in the deep south. Keep reading to get a glimpse of how Mississippi’s blues tradition, music museums, and socially relevant music makes for a great concert experience.

Mississippi is one of the world’s premier places for blues.

Mississippi’s regional style of blues in known as the Delta blues, formed in the early 20th century of American folk. This style influenced broader renditions of blues, perhaps more than any other faction. Chicago blues, electric blues, and folk blues that rose in post-World War II times were a derivative of the Delta. Many contemporary blues concerts are heavily based in this tradition; therefore, for listeners who want to hear where it began, Mississippi is a top destination. Expect solo performances, guitar accompaniment, melodic phrasing, call-and-response patterns, vamps, and resourceful techniques (e.g. knife sliding).

One of the original underground music movements in the United States that gained traction, Delta blues was built in informal locations such as train stations, juke joints, and backyards. Concert-goers todays can expect something a little more polished but just as heart-pulling in songs about romance, life on the road, and salvation and damnation. With so many twists and turns in blues’ legacy and a prominent and understated role in the development of artists like The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan, Mississippi’s Delta blues is a nonnegotiable part of any worthwhile music tour.

Mississippi has over a dozen music museums that celebrate music history.

With its aforementioned music history, Mississippians have created a number of interesting museums, educational institutions, and historic venues that capture its past and look forward to its future. The B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, Delta Blues Museum, Delta State University Archives, Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum, Gateway to the Blues Museum, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, Highway 61 Blues Museum, Howlin’ Wolf Museum, Jimmie Rodgers Museum, Mississippi John Hurt Museum, North Delta Museum, Ole Miss Blues Archive, Robert Johnson Heritage and Blues Museum, Rock and Blues Museum, The Delta Center for Culture and Learning, and Union Country Heritage Museum are some of the many spots along the Mississippi Blues Trail.

Like many states, some of Mississippi’s music museums hold concerts throughout the year. Locals and vacationers alike should check out the event calendar of the Mississippi Blues Trail to see which concerts and exhibits pop up. Concerts include quite the variety, such as from solo acts, bands, Delta blues, acid blues, African blues, blues rock, boogie-woogie, country blues, R&B blues, gospel blues, piano blues, punk blues, soul blues, and more.

Mississippi is a testament to the relationship between music, culture, and social change.

There is no doubt that Mississippi is a place where entertainment, music, culture, social problems, and social change collide. Blues is known for capturing the nodes of trail and tribulation in life, which includes inequality, discrimination, racism, sexism, classism, legislation, and more. According to Jackson Free Press writer Micah Smith and the musicians across genres that he interviewed, much of Mississippi’s music is characterized by this sense of alienation. Although many people flock to Mississippi’s larger cities to enjoy large, nationally touring acts, the value of Mississippi’s musical contributions are in the toned-down, local acts that fill its smaller stages. With a past and present of artists known for authenticity and originality, the concerts in Mississippi are sure to be unique and unforgettable.

For those who may not be into the blues, Mississippi may show you that you are missing out on something worthwhile. For those listeners who are still averse to blues, Oxford offers an indie vibe with new-South style, and Tupelo takes the blues genre in a more familiar rock direction.