Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Road Trip Music in Mississippi

caroline herring copyright kerry dexter
From the red clay roads of its northern counties to the ports and harbors along the Gulf, Mississippi is a state drenched in music. The story of Delta blues is there, with Robert Johnson and Charlie Patton. You could call Elvis Presley a country blues singer as much as he was a rock’n’ roller. Claire Holley is a contemporary writer and singer from the Magnolia state. Country star Faith Hill is from Mississippi. So is songwriter and producer Marty Stuart. The film O Brother, Where Art Thou? with a soundtrack comprising folk, blues, bluegrass, country, and gospel music, is set there.

As the Great American Road Trip: Music makes its way through Mississippi, the soundtrack comprises two albums from another Mississippi native, Caroline Herring. Herring is a storyteller whose music is informed by history, contemplation, faith, and language. Some of her stories are personal ones, some are character pieces drawn from history, some are set in Mississippi and some have their origins in other landscapes. On her album Twilight there is a vividly imagined emotional and geographic journey on the song Delta Highway. Trace, on Herring’s album Wellspring, takes a journey of history through the lives which have been lived along the Natchez Trace.

Herring tells these tales in a distinctive alto voice that well suits her stories, and with melodies that engage. There are gems on both these albums, stories of Mississippi, Texas, the west, and the heart, all well worth your attention.

you may also wish to see
Music Road: Caroline Herring: Golden Apples of the Sun

Music Road: ten songs

Music Road: Road Trip Music in Tennessee

This is part of The Great American Road Trip, in which I’m partnering up with A Traveler’s Library to add musical ideas to the book and film suggestions for journeys through the regions of the United States which you’ll find there. Stop by and see what the Library has in mind to inspire travels through Mississippi.

For more about the road trip (and a look at some great road songs) see Great American Road Trip: Music begins

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This road trip is very inspiring and gets me to consider music I never would have known about!

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Alexandra said...

This was an interesting companion piece to Traveler's Library. Nice to be able to associate a particular type of music to a place. Thanks!

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Frugal Kiwi said...

Don't forget the great Bluesman Charlie Musselwhite fron Kosciusko, MS. Rumor has it he was an inspiration for The Blue Brothers movie. I got to see him in concert here in New Zealand- an amazing show, plus his accent is just like my Mississippi granddaddy's.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous ruth pennebaker said...

I love the road trip idea, too. I'm a chauvinist when it comes to music: the best comes from the South.

5:26 PM  
Blogger kerry dexter said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:28 AM  
Blogger kerry dexter said...

excellent suggestion, Kiwi.thanks!

6:31 AM  
Blogger kerry dexter said...

Alexandra and marthaandme,
glad you are liking the road trip and finding new things to explore. there's more to come...

6:32 AM  
Anonymous The Writer's [Inner] Journey said...

I've enjoyed the Road Trip, too. It's been a great way to kind of slow down and, from afar, learn about the culture and history of a spot via music and the written word. I think you and Traveler's have done a fine job. ~Meredith

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Alisa Bowman said...

This has been very educational for me. You are introducing me to regions and music, and teaching me the finer points of both. Thank you!

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

There's something about the folksy, clever tunes of Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou that makes me want to visit Mississippi. Thanks for introducing me to other artists too.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous kris bordessa said...

When I think of the good ole USA, I seldom think in terms of each region's music. I love that you are breaking up the states for us with this road trip, and introducing your readers to some great new music!

2:43 AM  
Blogger Susan Johnston said...

Cool - I had no idea MI had so much musical heritage. I've never been, but I'd love to take a road trip around the Southeast someday.

10:52 AM  

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