Travelling the Blues Highway from New Orleans to Chicago
One bright and sunny morning in early October 2013, I drove out of New Orleans on I-10 West towards Baton Rouge. Travelling across the mangrove swamps, I was starting a road trip up Highway 61 North to find out about the Blues associated with the famous highway. I wanted to explore its history and see the places where it was played. And hopefully to hear some live music along the way. Plus, to find out and see what else this famous road had to offer.
I went into the heart of the Mississippi Delta, the home of the Blues. I visited iconic blues towns such as Leland, Clarksdale and, the king of them all, Memphis. The latter of course is also synonymous with rock’n’roll. So this trip is not only about the Blues. It’s also about other genres of music that fed off the blues and evolved their own style and sound. St Louis, another stopover, has also played its part in the development and history of American Blues music.
“There’s a spirit that goes all the way up Highway 61 and on into Chicago… there’s a magic, there’s a feel.”
However I came off Highway 61 at St Louis. I took a detour for both music and non-music activities before ending up in the Windy City of Chicago. Where it was very windy (and very, very cold)…
Travelling the Blues Highway, and more, from New Orleans to Chicago – this is the story of my journey.
* Quote from The Blues Highway: New Orleans to Chicago, a travel and music guidebook by Richard Knight, Trailblazer Publications