USA sets your excitement metre high with its rocking and jazzy music. So if you are a real music lover, do not miss out on the top Musical Destinations that has jaw dropping fervor of music.
Rhythms of the South Story
Atlanta, Nashville and New Orleans offer the perfect taste of the South. These three distinct cities offer unique experiences yet share a common thread of authentic Southern culture and charm. Known as major music cities, music is interwoven into the heart of each city and helps tell a bigger story of the cities’ past and present. From Atlanta’s rap and indie music, New Orleans’ jazz and Nashville’s country and rock, enjoy the music and musicians who have defined these legendary cities. Visit any of these Southern cities, or better yet, visit all three and enjoy their different qualities and attractions. Getting from one city to another couldn’t be easier and is the best introduction to the South, its culture, music and history. Atlanta, Georgia combines the romance of the Old South with the vitality of the New South. It’s a city of shops, restaurants, theatres, art centers and museums that is proud of its past and confident of its future. Nashville, Tennessee fully lives up to its name, Music City. A creative melting pot that seamlessly stirs together rock, country, bluegrass, jazz and more, it also blends in world-class art, award-winning cuisine, unique shops and outdoor activities to create an unforgettable experience filled with sweet southern soul. In the Deep South, you’ll discover New Orleans, Louisiana, famous for its Mardi Gras, its jazz, its exquisite architecture and its great Cajun and Creole cuisine. It’s a city that greets you with an Old World appeal and embraces you with its spirited soul.
The Memphis Music Scene
Downtown, Beale Street throbs with blues and rock bands every afternoon—and all night long. Beale’s best bets are B.B. King’s Blues Club, named after the beloved guitarist who got his start here, and the Rum Boogie Café/Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall, which has a killer house band and superb guitar collection. Free music happens at Beale’s open-air pavilion under a statue of W. C. Handy, the turn-of-the-century bandleader whose 1912 recording ‘Memphis Blues’ launched 12-bar blues into popular culture. Handy’s historic home, a wooden shotgun house (a narrow rectangular shack) furnished with early 1900s furniture, instruments and sheet music, has been preserved as a museum here on the fabled street widely regarded as the birthplace of the blues.
Nearby, Automatic Slim’s Tonga Club is a chic cocktail spot and site of occasional live music. Along Main Street, the Center for Southern Folklore, an eclectic folk-art gallery with a cosy coffee shop, lures nationally known singer-songwriters of all musical genres.
Elsewhere around town, headliners such as Elvis Costello and other cutting-edge hipsters can be heard at the grungy Hi-Tone Café, near the Memphis College of Art; while laid-back blues and beer sold by the quart draw dancing-room-only crowds to Wild Bill’s, a no-frills ‘juke joint’ on the outskirts of downtown. Redemption for such revelry awaits a stone’s throw from Graceland, where mostSunday mornings the Grammy Award-winning soul singer and ordained reverend Al Green preaches and leads a hand-clapping, sing-out-to-Jesus service from the pulpit at his Full Gospel Tabernacle.
Austin, Texas: Live Music & Urban Excitement
Set in the heart of America’s second largest state, Austin has a unique culture and amazing hospitality. Relaxed and approachable, it’s a great place to visit thanks to its vibrant arts and music scene. You’ll find a little bit of everything in this city and will be spoilt for choice. You’ll fall in love with everything the city has to offer.
Live Music Capital of the World®
Austin’s world-renowned live music scene is second to none; there is music everywhere! If there’s a place to play, you can be sure there’s a musician who will find it. You’ll hear music in grocery stores, at the airport and in more than 250 venues throughout the city. With 2,000 local recording artists playing blues to pop, rock to indie – the Austin music scene is rich with diversity.
The city also plays host to a wide variety of festivals and events throughout the year, drawing in some of the biggest names in music. Check out the Austin City Limits Music Festival, South by Southwest, Pachanga Latino Music Festival, and Fun Fun Fun Fest.
Diverse Entertainment Districts
When you visit this “eclectic, refined and everything in-between” city, you’re in for an authentic Texas experience – and that extends even into the nightlife scene.
For nightlife and entertainment, check out Rainey Street – a street lined with historic bungalow homes, many of which have been turned into unique bars and restaurants. Sixth Street – an iconic district in the heart of downtown – attracts locals and visitors alike, sharing pints and singing along. The neighbourhood of South Congress also offers many curiosity shops and restaurants, as well as music and art venues.
And with 300 days of sunshine annually, a trip to Austin wouldn’t be complete without enjoying outdoor dining. Local favourites include Shady Grove, Easy Tiger and Guero’s Taco Bar. Or check out the annual Austin Food and Wine Festival with more than 100 food, wine and spirit exhibitors, numerous celebrity chef showcases and, of course, live music.
Listen to jazz in a legendary setting, Newport, Rhode Island
Newport changed the standard method of jazz presentation, giving jazzmen the opportunity to play before huge, appreciative crowds. By the late 1960s, the festival had begun booking rock and R&B acts, which changed its character so much that founder Wein pulled the plug in 1971. For the next ten years, he took his festival around the world, but in 1981 it returned to Newport with a renewed focus on the music that had made it famous. Today, it still attracts the biggest names in jazz each August—McCoy Tyner, Joe Lovano, Chick Corea, Carla Bley, Bill Frisell and Wynton Marsalis among them.
Other festivals round out Newport’s summer calendar. The Newport Folk Festival, another Wein brainchild, was first presented in 1959 and has seen many historic performances, including Bob Dylan’s notorious ‘Dylan Goes Electric’ set in 1965. Held over three days in early August, the Folk Festival attracts the likes of Richard Thompson, Nanci Griffith, Arlo Guthrie, Elvis Costello and Emmylou Harris. The Newport Music Festival, which takes place over three weeks in July, presents more than 60 classical recitals and chamber music programmes in Newport’s spectacular 19th-century ‘cottages’, bringing those days of the Gilded Age back to life.
Listen to jazz in the city where it was born, New Orleans, Louisiana
The Big Easy’s annual Jazz and Heritage Festival (aka ‘Jazz Fest’) is one of America’s great music parties. Even for the 2006 event, just eight months after Hurricane Katrina, thousands came to support New Orleans’s unique musical heritage.
For ten days in late April and early May, hundreds of musicians perform on ten stages of splendid dissonance, offering not just jazz but Cajun, Latin, zydeco, R&B, rock, gospel and African-Caribbean music—with exuberant brass bands marching tirelessly through it all. Today’s jazz and soul luminaries (including such New Orleans natives as Harry Connick Jr. and the Neville Brothers) wouldn’t miss this shindig, which in recent years has also drawn Bob Dylan, Etta James, Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen. Hundreds of artisans sell their wares, and the best of Louisiana’s culinary heritage (from shrimp po’boys to alligator piquante) shares the spotlight at over 100 stalls. Those with a sweet tooth should save room for sweet potato pone, Key lime pie and white chocolate bread pudding.
Top Jazz Venues
There are countless music halls and jazz venues to choose from throughout New Orleans, but both jazz lovers and novices should catch a performance at Preservation Hall. This is a true New Orleans institution, where you can witness this quintessentially American art form still played in its original form.
Another great location to catch live jazz is Frenchmen Street, just about a block outside the French Quarter. This lively area has come to be known by the locals as one of the best places to enjoy live music and food in the city. There are countless music halls and jazz clubs to choose from, and one particular favorite is the Spotted Cat Music Club. The sign outside the door said the music begins at 4 p.m. and doesn’t end until 2 a.m. (a schedule typical of New Orleans entertainment), so there’s no excuse for missing out!