The music of the Arkansas Delta is the music of America. Hailed as the only authentic American music, the blues flowed from the fertile landscape bordering the lower Mississippi River and spread out across the country and the world. Based in spirituals, these oral stories and traditions moved from the fields to jukes joints and Sunday morning worship services on plantations and in communities up and down the river. Adaptations began and other influences were incorporated, forming the “jump” jazz sound, a country style, rockabilly and eventually, original American rock n’ roll music.
Unfortunately, much of the physical evidence of this progression is long gone – juke joints have burned, local radio stations lost the air wars, rural churches have been replaced and consolidated. But the music can still be heard throughout the Arkansas Delta, and memorials and markers keep artists’ spirits alive. The heritage remains and the rhythms run deep.