Clarksdale, Mississippi

The musical roots of the south run deep. Many say Clarksdale, Mississippi is the very birthplace of the Blues. Home of famed bluesman McKinley Morganfield (a/k/a Muddy Waters), Clarksdale’s the place to go to learn everything there is to know about the earthy, vital, powerful sound that influenced Chuck Berry and Keith Richards. The same sound still beats today from Juke Joints that pepper the streets in this sleepy town. Come for a day or two and leave inspired. Stay at the Shack-up Inn for the full experience.

Visit the Delta Blues Museum for a full history behind legends like Charley Patton, Son House, Tommy Johnson and the tortured Robert Johnson. Eat some of the best BBQ you can imagine at Abe’s or Hick’s. And of course, let the music move you at Ground Zero Blues (Morgan Freeman’s), Red’s Lounge or Shack-up Inn’s Juke Joint Chapel. And if you want more, discover the whole Mississippi Blues Trail that runs from the border of Louisiana and winds its way to Memphis, Tennessee.

Ryman Auditorium - Nashville, Tennessee

Ryman Auditorium - Nashville, Tennessee

Just after the Civil War, Nashville bloomed into what was called “the New South.” Businesses, schools, and theaters sprang up everywhere and it soon became the cultural and commercial center of the South. And the Ryman was in the middle of it all.

The “Union Gospel Tabernacle” (the Rymans original name) was constructed as a place where people of all faiths could join together in worship, and grow together in culture. One of the most famous events there took place in 1897 when the Confederate veterans hosted a reunion with performances by the New York Metropolitan Opera. Donations from veterans – both Union and Confederate – built the balcony that almost doubled the seating capacity. Named the Confederate Gallery, some argue (and we have to agree) the best seats in the house are in that balcony.

A house built to include all, to support all, and to celebrate all, the Ryman is a beacon that we hope continues to lead and inspire. What a great house to call home.