How is it that here, in the tiny triangle between Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans, nine distinct genres of music came to life?
The story of the Americana Music Triangle begins centuries ago with Paleo Indians along the Mississippi River, eventually displaced by European explorers and settlers. As more people from around the globe arrived to put down roots, complex musical layers began to form over the foundation of Native American culture. Spanish guitars, mandolins and Latin rhythms mixed with French dances and folk songs. The fiddle tunes and narrative ballads of the English, Scots, and Irish collided with African chants, dances, drums, and banjo music. The songs of Haitians and French Canadians met the polkas and accordions of the German-Czechs. All of these traditions simmered here for centuries, creating essential cultural lifelines as the region endured devastating wars, the atrocities of slavery, massive natural disasters, dramatic migrations and the moral conflicts of a nation struggling to define itself.
These musical traditions continued to evolve over time, building up to the moment when two emerging technologies — radio and records — would collide to capture, define and spread the Americana Music Triangle’s distinctive sounds to the rest of the world. Enter Blues, Jazz, Country, Rock ‘N’ Roll, R&B/Soul, Gospel, Southern Gospel, Cajun/Zydeco and Bluegrass: nine distinct musical traditions that couldn’t have happened anywhere else, or any other way.
Follow the Gold Record Road through the Americana Music Triangle, the first-ever comprehensive collection of historical, musical and cultural attractions that define the birthplace of our country’s greatest cultural export. Pick a route, pack a bag, and experience the very places where history made music, then music made history.