Music is at the core of every population and country’s culture and social change and in some cases, revolution. It becomes the voice of reason, of the oppressed, of the dreamers, and the believers. So, if you follow the music, you’ll land up on cultural milestones that speak of USA louder than any museum or fact book could. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Nashville, Tennessee
One day in Nashville and you’ll come out an inspired musician. After all, downtown Nashville is at the heart of city’s musical history and also home to the widely recognised best music museum in the world — the Johnny Cash Museum. Being a pilgrimage to country music lovers, Nashville is also home to the iconic Grand Ole Opry. The country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Ryman auditorium is there to give you a crash course on this American icon. Being the ‘Music City USA’, Nashville is more than just country music. Eastern Nashville sees a fair share of Indie acts and there is also a strong thriving rock-n-roll scene.
2. New York City
USA’s Big Apple has had a fair share in the history of the music that is so deep-rooted in the country’s past as well as present. NYC has seen the rise of the genres punk, hip-hop, and disco and artists such as Cyndi Lauper, Blondie, Talking Heads, Velvet Underground, and Wu-Tang Clan and Lady Gaga, among others. Besides, there’s always the Cafe Wha in McDougal Street where Dylan played regularly in 1961. The National Museum of Jazz in Harlem documents the famed saxophonist Charlie Parker’s life and career.
3. Cleveland and Clarksdale, Mississippi
Fan of the Blues? Then it can’t simply be that you leave USA without making a trip to where it all started — Dockery Plantation. Delta Blues’ father Charlie Platton, a cotton picker in the plantations in the 1900s found his voice here along with many other legendary blues artists in the likes of Robert Johnson, Henry Sloan, Son House and Howlin’ Wolf. To get a little more insight into the history of Clarksdale, Delta Blues Museum and the Ground zero Blues club at Blues Alley just walk by the museum to experience the best blues performance of your life.
4. New Orleans, Louisiana
Louisiana saw the birth of Jazz and its doyen Louis Armstrong. On that note, while you’re in New Orleans, you can trace Armstrong’s footsteps in his journey with a New Orleans Jazz History Tour. For dinner, the Steamboat Natchez jazz cruise is the perfect plan for a sensational experience. The New Orleans Jazz Museum, besides being the cornerstone of everything Armstrong, including his iconic handkerchief, also hosts live performance twice a week. If you miss that (or just want more live jazz performances, because why not!), then you can head to one of Bourbon Street’s oldest live Jazz clubs.
5. Austin, Texas
Called ‘Live Music Capital of the World’, Austin is often synonymous to Janis Joplin, Jamestown Revival, Explosions in the Sky and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Besides being the host to South-By-South-West, Fun Fun Fun Fest, and Austin City Limits, the place is also studded with small, intimate places around University of Texas and some iconic ones like 20th-Century Paramount Theater.