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Mississippi Blues Trail Finalized, Blue Front Café Owner Jimmy Holmes Not Down About It

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on May 04, 2015 10:11 PM EDT

It's easy to commodify music in this day and age, but how about an entire American tradition? In Mississippi, the completion of its Blues Trail is hoping to stimulate tourism in the poorest state in the union. But, for a little juke joint, The Blue Front Café, tourism isn't anything to get down about.

While Mississippi may not be credited with much, there is a long-stemming tradition of Americana that derived from the mouth of the river, down by the Delta. Home to not just Mr. Elvis Presley and the Ole Miss Rebels, other giants were born and raised on the river.

Blues Hall of Famers Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Sonny Williamson, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hook, Elmore James, B.B. King and more reigned in an everlasting musical identity associated with popular music — budding in the 1930s and taking on a revival period in the '60s.

But Mississippi's Blues Trail is another insight into an everlasting agency of music — many of which British bands like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin have credited their sound and inspiration to.

In an article at Aljazeera, the rudiments of blues culture are explained, how a certain Bentonia-style of playing influenced some of blues' earliest pioneers.

With 215 signs marking significant locations in blues history, the neo-Oregon Trail is brought into the 21st century, with a website and phone app to act as your guide down music's long road to freedom.

And in accordance with this new pathway, new blues museums have popped up including an astounding $15 million B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center. For a genre that sang about the poor man, the wealthy have certainly adopted it as their own.

While the blues may not have a solid footing for a new generation of listeners, it hasn't stopped tourists from around the world to stop in for some knowledge.

But as the article points out, Blue Front Café owner Jimmy "Duck" Holmes says of the passersby, "People around here have zero interest in the blues."

"They want music they can dance to. The audience for my type of music is all from other places now and mostly white," he continues.

Perhaps this will enrich a gap of music lovers that have since lost interest in an otherwise globally influential form of music. But for now, we take solace in the knowledge that it hasn't lost its touch just yet.

For now, he's a Mississippian himself, Robert Johnson, below.

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TagsMississippi, Blues Trail, Robert Johnson, Jimmy Duck Holmes, B.B. King, Museum, Delta Interpretive Center, Elvis Presley, Howlin' Wolf, Bentonia

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