Highway 61 Blues Tour Set For 2023

The Highway 61 Blues Music Tour of America 2023 – New Orleans to Chicago

Has there ever been a road trip experience like the Highway 61 Blues Music Tour of America? Led by musician Jules Boult the Travelrite blues tour is set to fire up again in 2023.

They call Highway 61 the ‘blues highway’. It was the road that took musicians from the cotton fields of the south to the cities of the north during the turbulent years of the 1930s and 1940s, electrifying the blues on the way and revolutionising popular music with influences of the rhythms and beats of Africa, Cuba, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Europe with western instruments in the mix.

Many great blues artists lived in towns along this road, including Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Bo Diddley, Bessie Smith, Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and Son House. And many others have immortalised the highway in song, including Bob Dylan on 1965’s Highway 61 Revisited.

The tour originates in New Orleans, the town that brought together so many different musical and cultural influences and seems to be pulsating in a constant state of party with playing, singing and dancing in the streets. There’s a joyous street-corner jazz cacophony of trombones, trumpets, saxophones and drums. Young and old are celebrating their unique musical history.

The Mississippi River forms a big part of the southern Delta and it’s here that you can see and experience what life was like on cotton farms for African Americans, how their music became a celebration and way to liberty from the oppression of living on cotton farms. As you travel Highway 61 visiting many juke joints and honky tonks we meet and play with the blues musicians who live and work in the towns along the River. Much more than an observer, you can be part of the show! It is perhaps this aspect of the Blues Tour that is the most satisfying and insightful of blues music in the Delta.

Highway 61 offers plenty of interesting points that we visit along the way, including famous blues museums such as the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale or the BB. King Museum in Indianola. Elvis Presley’s Graceland, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Sun Studios and Al Green’s Gospel church in Memphis. Visit famous locations such as the ‘Cross Roads’ and Dockery Farms. The group visits a recording studio in Nashville to see how it all works and record our own song.

The Highway 61 tour culminates in Chicago with the biggest and best blues festival in the US. It’s here in one of America’s most renowned cities that you can gain true perspective of the migration of one of the most unique and influential music genres to have evolved anywhere.

Tour host Jules Boult, is a well regarded blues and jazz musician from Melbourne and has a lot of experience travelling Highway 61 and has organised the tour’s entertainment on all the tours since 2015. The groups have met and played with many local musicians including Will Smith from Preservation Hall in New Orleans, Terry ‘Harmonica’ Bean in Natchez, Deak Harp in Clarksdale, John Horton in Greenville and the Grammy winning Oakridge Boys in Nashville. Jam sessions are organised in places such as The Bombay Club in New Orleans, Walnut Street Bar in Greenville and Stevie Ray’s Blues Bar in Louisville. Tour members can join in the jam sessions which offer a chance to play with some of the best blues musicians.

In 2023 it will 8 years since the first Highway 61 Blues Music Tour of America.

Visit bluestours.com.au to book or get more information, the tour brochure or view videos of the tour.

Travelrite International/John Howie Music Tours – Ph. 1800 630 343