Take an aural trip through the southern states of the US – arguably the birthplace of country, rock‘n’roll, jazz and blues – and you’ll be hankering to visit the south for real
A musical journey through the deep south is a melodious thing, and I should know – I did a trip there myself with a newly acquired husband, seven years ago, for our amazing honeymoon. How lucky we were. The music of Louisiana, Tennessee and Georgia provides an incredible trip through the rich history of the US, exploring the way Americans express themselves through jazz, soul, country, pop and blues. Even though I’m now an old married soul, these tunes still resound loudly in my life, and I want to jump on a plane every time I hear them.
We start with a blast in New Orleans, and the life-affirming noise of the brilliant Rebirth Brass Band. They’ve been mixing jazz, hip-hop and funk with the city’s centuries-old second line tradition (of brass band music at funeral parades) since 1983. Catch them at their regular haunt, the Maple Leaf, as I did, and you won’t be disappointed. Then we head to Nashville, to meet country’s first huge star, Kitty Wells with It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels – the genre’s first No 1 single, in 1952. She laid the groundwork for later Nashville-made stars such as Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift, and her lyrics are impressively forthright to boot: “Too many times married men think they’re still single,” she burrs.