I love traveling to Tennessee. It is by far one of my favorite states to visit year around. Are you a music lover? Nashville might be home to country music but Memphis is another Tennessee town that should be included on any music lovers travel bucket list. The birthplace of rock and roll, fans have been coming for decades to pay homage to the greats that made rock and roll a movement.
Blues and Beale
The nearly 2 mile stretch of downtown Memphis labeled Beale Street is where some of the country’s best blues clubs and biggest tourist attractions of Memphis are located. Musicians began playing this strip as early as the 1860s. After nearly a century of bust and boom cycles Beale St. was declared the “Home of Blues” by an act of Congress in 1977. Despite this title the area was run-down until it began gentrifying in the mid ‘80’s. Today there are many blues clubs playing every night – even the famous BB King owns a club on this street. Every year in May the Beale Street Music Festival brings together worldwide acts for a giant festival featuring the likes of ZZ Top, Dave Mathews Band, and
Puddle of Mud
May is not only the month of the music festival but includes an entire month of celebrating. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, International Week, and Sunset Symphony also occur during Memphis in May.
Stax Museum and Music School
Founded in 1959 “by accident” Stax is the recording studio that changed the face of music. Today located at the site of the original Stax Studio is a museum chronicling the rise of the artists who made it big (and a few who didn’t) in a collection of more than 2000 exhibits. In 2000 the Stax Music School was founded to train and bring up the next generation of musical talent. Students regularly preform in town and around the country. If you’re in town, be sure to look up a performance!
Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum
This museum tells the story of rock and roll as researched by the Smithsonian Museum. Beginning with the early 1900’s through the rise and popularity of rock and roll as a musical craft, visitors are treated to a more than 300 minute audio tour that includes dozens of songs. The self-guided tour allows music lovers to experience as much or as little as they would like.
Don’t Forget to Eat!
When you’ve tired yourself out and are ready to kick up your feet, Memphis barbeque is a must have treat. This town not only knows how to play hard, they know how to eat hard! It’s the pork sandwich, not the pork rib that reigns supreme. Slow cooked, with plenty of smoke and a dry or wet rub this tangy meat is piled on a bun with coleslaw and a heavy squirt of BBQ sauce.
Have you traveled to Memphis in the past? Is Memphis on your travel must-see list?