Away from music-industry cities such as Los Angeles and Nashville, the seeds of American music were sown in the soil of Mississippi, where pioneers of blues, country, and rock ‘n’ roll came together to perform for locals in the woods and flatlands. Used to follow the dusty roads through.
Today, visitors from the US and abroad follow the Mississippi Blues Trail and Country Music Trail in the same communities to learn about the land that gave birth to Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Muddy Waters, and Jimmy Rodgers, and contemporary American musical culture. experience the roots. ,
Before joining them in your quest for authentic American music history, bookmark this list of the ten best places for live music in Mississippi.
Dulling Hall (Jackson)
Located in the auditorium of a century-old former elementary school in Jackson’s charming Fondren neighborhood, Duling Hall Flaming Lips has become a major venue for national acts such as Jenny Lewis, Jason Isbell, and 400 Unit, and many more over the past decade. The intimate room holds just 300 spectators, which makes it a nice place to watch the whole thing. As a plus, gigs often end early enough to knock a few pins on Highball Lane or explore late-night spots like The Apothecary.
Hell and Mals (Jackson)
With decades of history and deep community roots, this Jackson institution is approaching the big 4-0. After Jackson’s famed Subway Lounge and 930 Blues Cafe closed, Hale & Mal kept the blues alive in “City with Soul” through their Blue Monday Showcase, where you can still find local blues artists performing every week. can hear. The club’s main room has been a stop for touring acts such as The Strokes, Living Colour, Drive-By Truckers and Big KRIT.
Reds Lounge (Clarksdale)
Proprietor Red Padden presides over this small juke joint in the Delta city of Clarksdale, which lays as strong a claim to the blues as anywhere in the area. Famous blues musicians such as Anthony “Big A” Sherrod, Kriston “Kingfish” Ingram, Watermelon Slim, and others have performed under signature red lights that give the room an almost creepy aura. This is the kind of place where if you see a guy who looks like Robert Plant walking around, it could be the real deal.
Ground Zero Blues Club (Clarksdale and Biloxi)
Clarksdale is known as Ground Zero of the Blues due to its proximity to Dockery Farm, where Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson played. Co-owned by none other than Morgan Freeman, this club has a world-class stage, food, and fixin’ anything with a juke vibe. And now, you can rock your moneylender in coastal Mississippi—at the new Ground Zero in Biloxi—known more for the beach and the blues than Jimmy Buffett.
Blue Front Cafe (Bentonia)
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, the last in a long line of Bentonia bluesmen, still operates the counter at Blue Front Cafe, the oldest known operating juke joint in Mississippi. It’s hailed as the place where Skip James put a sinister spin on Delta blues with his hypnotic, minor-key focus and where The Black Keys put on a surprise show to launch their 2021 Grammy-nominated album . Delta Cream, In June, Blue Front Cafe hosted the 50th edition of the Bentonia Blues Festival with Holmes, Bobby Rush and others.
Blue Canoe (Tupelo)
Tupelo’s popular “five-star dive bar” hosts local and national artists such as Gary Clark Jr. and the Alabama Shakes, who draw from the same deep well of American music as native son Elvis Presley. However, the appeal of Blue Canoe is more than just the music. Inside their full kitchen, chefs prepare award-winning burgers and other inn fare to pair with the 48 craft beers the bar keeps on tap (not to mention another 50 or so canned and bottled).
Proud Larry (Oxford)
Across square books and near an Insta-worthy statue of William Faulkner sitting on a bench, Proud Larry’s musical history and longevity are worthy of his hometown’s artistic legacy. Oxford’s best place to listen to music has hosted Elvis Costello, Modest Mouse, Mitsky and more in recent years.
Smoot’s Grocery (Natchez)
The riverboat town of Natchez perfectly blends the slow pace of Southern life with an unexpected New Orleans flair—an apt quality, as Natchez was founded two years before the “Big Easy.” You may recognize Smoots Grocery from the James Brown biopic, a restored juke joint built on the Mississippi River in 1939. Carry on, starring the late great Chadwick Boseman. This elegantly breezy, tinny-sided corner bar is perfect for mingling with Natchez’s finest emerging musicians.
Government Street Grocery (Ocean Springs)
With its beachy boho vibe, the first live-music venue to open in the vibrant downtown Ocean Springs entertainment district is still the best reflection of the city’s relaxed, casual artsy scene. A cold antidote to the luxurious casino located in Biloxi Bay, Government Street Grocery also tops the list of iconic places for musicians to play, with a clientele who has a deep love for original live music.
100 Main Hall (Bay St. Louis)
Founded in 1922 by an African American philanthropic association, 100 Main Hall was a community gathering place that became a stop on the Chitlin circuit after World War II, hosting artists such as Etta James, Irma Thomas, and Professor Longhair. A community effort helped save this landmark from demolition after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the venue still books artists such as Squirrel Nut Zippers today. 100 Main Hall, now listed on the Mississippi Blues Trail, will complete 100 years in 2022.