On the last episode of American Journey, I visited the small and soulful town of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Legends like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson are just a few of the big names that called this small town home.
I got a first hand look at Clarksdale’s rich history and musical culture that’s been struggling to keep it alive, and let me tell you, it’s working overtime. From cotton country to blues country, hometown legend James Johnson gave me an interesting perspective on the town’s transformation over the years.
And what do you think is keeping it afloat? James says it’s gotta be the blues.
I also got to stop by the Ground Zero Blues Club, which has been noted to help kick start the revival of Clarksdale since it’s opening in 2001. The owners, mayor Bill Luckett and Morgan Freeman (yes, THE Morgan Freeman) wanted to create a place for people to hear live blues music like the old days, and their vision has been a huge success.
While shooting, I hung out with Cedric Burnside at the Shack Up Inn. It’s a really cool hotel made of authentic sharecropper houses, and just like the rest of the town, it’s rooted in a history of blues and culture.
There’s so much blues culture and history in Clarksdale, you seriously have to check it out!
But if you missed yesterday’s American Journey “Birthplace of the Blues” episode, it will re-air on Sunday, September 22nd at 1pm EST. So mark your calendars, schedule your DVR and get ready to take a trip down the moody blues trail.