More than eight decades after Robert Johnson allegedly went down to the crossroads to sell his soul to the devil so he could play guitar, Clarksdale, Miss., continues to be the epicenter of the blues.
While the legend of Johnson's deal with the devil is memorialized by a roadside monument on the edge of town, today's booming blues scene is the real reason to travel down Highway 61 to visit Clarksdale.
Clarksdale is keeping the blues alive with live music seven nights a week at the one-and-only Juke Joint Festival, while also honoring it's storied past with the Delta Blues Museum. Considering Clarksdale is just a 45-minute drive from the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi in Cleveland, Miss., true music aficionados should put the Mississippi Delta at the top of their travel list.
A recent episode of NPR's Jazz Night In America travels to Clarksdale to explore the key players in today's revitalized blues scene, including Terry "Harmonica" Bean, Anthony "Big A" Sherrod and 18-year-old blues prodigy Chistone "Kingfish" Ingram. Fueled by a blend of talent and tourism, and with the support of Clarksdale mayor Bill Luckett and Juke Joint Blues Festival Founder Roger Stolle, Clarksdale is finally beginning to enjoy the benefits of its rich history and bright future.