Travel Gold Record Road on the Americana Music Triangle
A new collaboration allows music lovers to explore the 1,500-mile stretch of highway that birthed nine uniquely American genres of music.
Music fans worldwide have a new tourism destination with last week’s launch of the Americana Music Triangle (AMT), a preservation project spanning more than 30 communities along the “Gold Record Road.
Running from the Natchez Trace Parkway to I-10, Hwy. 90, Hwy. 61 and I-40, the AMT is a milestone collaboration of cultural attractions across the South. The ambitious project marks the culmination of more than three years of work by a multi-state team of historians, musicians, tourism professionals and digital media experts and celebrates nine uniquely American genres of music: Blues, jazz, country, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B/soul, gospel, Southern gospel, Cajun/Zydeco and bluegrass.
Founder Aubrey Preston’s mission is to launch a global grassroots movement for American music tourism and build an online community dedicated to the Triangle’s culture and history. A proprietor of Nashville’s RCA Studio A, Preston says the project is an outgrowth of hundreds of conversations over the past four years. “With focused online outreach, we can reach countless music fans worldwide and motivate them to visit the Americana Music Triangle,” he says. “The Triangle is a unique destination where history made music, then music made history. There’s no other place like it in the world.”
Officially launched May 4 in Franklin, Tennessee, at The Franklin Theatre, the AMT team also traveled to Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi last week to announce the project in those states.
“Mississippi is the heart of the Americana Music Triangle, so the launch of the AMT web guide is a very exciting event for us,” said Malcolm White, director of Visit Mississippi. “Our country’s musical tradition was shaped and molded by the talented people of our state and the surrounding region. We not only have marked music trails telling of musical legends, their influences, and the history of area that gave birth to the blues, but we also make sure music remains a large part of our culture. We are so happy to have AMT’s assistance guiding people as they experience the rich American music story.”
In Louisiana, the AMT launched at Lafayette honky tonk Blue Moon Saloon May 6, where Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne credited the state’s happiness factor to its many passions like music. “Every genre of music, you can point to a Louisiana root,” he said. Preston also took the stage and noted the musical connections between all of the regions in the Triangle — a hillbilly dance in his native Tennessee is a fais do do in South Louisiana — and said he hopes to erase state lines by providing a three-week experience with the Americana Music Triangle.
“We’re so connected by so many different things,” he said, “and the story that connects us is American music.”
Housed at AmericanaMusicTriangle.com, the online webguide showcases cultural attractions along the Gold Record Road as well as those in nearby communities such as Bristol and Knoxville, Tennessee, Meridian, Mississippi, Montgomery, Alabama, Owensboro, Kentucky, and Shreveport, Louisiana. Fans and visitors can take weekend excursions or, for longer adventures, travel thousands of miles learning about the origins of the nine musical genres and the culture of South. Webguide resources include driving trails, historical timelines and a master calendar of music events and festivals throughout the region.
Photo Credit: Aubrey Preston by Tony Scarlati.