The United States is rich in diversity, both culturally and geographically. There’s no surprise this diversity is also represented in its music, arts, and entertainment. Steeped in tradition yet at the forefront of innovation, these six cities have been shaped by the harmonies and melodies around them.
Detroit, Michigan: Motown
“As a Motown artist, I feel like I’m being very true to where I’m from. It’s soul music, and this city has got soul.” – Omar Aragones
Detroit’s Motown scene has a soulful and resilient vibe. The city is pretty much an ode to the late Aretha Franklin and Motown Records, both of which helped form the inventive metropolis. The genre ‘Motown’ is a combination of the words “Motor” and “Town,”, a reflection of Detroit's long history with blue collar industrialism and a matured music scene. A trip to Detroit isn’t complete without a stop at the Motown Museum. This beloved attraction houses the studios where stars like the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight recorded their classic, chart-topping hits. For a night on the town, don’t miss your chance to catch a live music show at Cliff Bells, the perfect atmosphere for old-school Motown sounds in an intimate setting.
Tune in to hear Detroit’s very own Motown artist, Omar Aragones, take on the classic US song "Boogie Shoes".
Minneapolis, Minnesota: Pop
“This energy is so unexpected for a smaller city like Minneapolis, but it's very very much alive and well here.” - Lady Lark
Minneapolis is a free-spirited city and a real-life playground for pop-culture enthusiasts. The Midwestern metropolis was home to some of the world’s most beloved musicians like Prince and Bob Dylan, so there’s no surprise that it radiates an artistic spirit through its museums, quirky public art, and a variety of local shops, restaurants, and bars. The Northeast Minneapolis Arts District is your go-to neighborhood for murals, musicians, eclectic cocktail lounges and dive bars with live music. Pop fans will find their mecca at places like the Varsity Theater, Icehouse and Volstead’s Emporium, just to name a few. Don’t forget to pass by First Avenue, a famous art-deco building where Prince’s Purple Rain was filmed.
Tune in to hear Minneapolis pop artist, Lady Lark, take on the classic US song "What I Like About You".
Chicago, Illinois: Blues
“Music is about telling a story, and there’s no better way to do that than by singing the blues.” – Mike Ledbetter
Whether you’re looking for those electric guitar rhythms or wailing harmonica melodies, you’re sure to find the blues in Chicago. Home for many iconic artists like Chuck Berry, Etta James and Muddy Waters, the Windy City is a historical hub when it comes to its unique stamp on blues music. Take a visit to Chess Records, the origin of well-known blues records, and then catch a show at Buddy Guy’s Legends, a night club with live music seven days a week. Next, head over to B.L.U.E.S Bar on Halsted Street for a chance to jam with the Grammy award-winning Lurrie Bell. If you’re interested in a more bluesy, slam poetry vibe, visit the infamous Green Mill, known as a former speakeasy and preferred hangout of Al Capone and Frank Sinatra.
Tune in to hear Chicago native, Mike Ledbetter, take on the classic US song "What I Like About You".
Owensboro, Kentucky: Bluegrass
“Owensboro is a place that always welcomes you with a smile, something good to eat and something great to listen to.” – Arthur Hancock, The Wooks
There's no question about Kentucky’s role in the history of country music. With a unique style and Appalachia backdrop, Owensboro, Kentucky is home to the Bluegrass sub-genre that finds itself stirred in a melting pot of Irish, Scottish, and English traditional music, seasoned with a dash of jazz and blues. Bill Monroe, considered to be the father of Bluegrass music, grew up right outside of Owensboro. Paying homage to its musical origins, the city is home to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum. A bluegrass enthusiast or player walking through the museum can see all that have been inducted before them.
Tune in to hear Owensboro’s own Bluegrass band, The Wooks, take on the classic US song "What I Like About You"
New Orleans, Louisiana: Jazz
“New Orleans is a celebration– a celebration of life. And that is through our food, music, art and through the expression of who we are.” – Robin Barnes
Whether you’re a fan of big band, enjoy a bit of swing, or are more into improvised saxophone melodies, you’ll find a slice of it all in the jazz-haven nicknamed ‘the Big Easy’. One theory for why New Orleans got that nickname is because of how easy it was, and continues to be, for musicians to find gigs in the city. New Orleans is home to the genre that birthed world legends like Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, and artifacts of these legends are scattered among the city. Explore Frenchman Street to experience an endless selection of bars with live jazz bands and an array of Creole food dishes to choose from. Then, escape the crowds and head over to the Treme neighborhood, where you can view the fountains, ponds, statues, art installations, and gigantic trees in Louis Armstrong Park. Be on the lookout for the large, white arched entrance of the park. Designed with the Jazz Age in mind, it’s the perfect place to snap an Instagram-worthy photo with your friends.
Tune in to hear New Orleans’ artist, Robyn Barnes, take on the classic US song "Boogie Shoes".
Austin, Texas: Rock ‘n’ Roll
“Austin is a place that I find very easy to find inspiration. I always think of it kind of like an incubator for bands and artists because there's so many of us that come here, and we listen and take in each other's art.” - Dr. Joe
Austin, as the self-proclaimed "Live Music Capital of the World," is the perfect destination for anyone who loves all things music and wants to party like a rock-star. Artists past and present have made their name here, from Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughan to the Meat Puppets and Spoon. The city also hosts festivals like South by Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits, both of which are known for their eclectic line-ups showcasing performers from around the globe. Don’t miss a visit to the Sixth Street Entertainment District, a venue-packed nightlife strip where you can request a song at a dueling piano bar, listen to your favorite rock band and catch up-and-coming musicians every night of the week.
Tune in to hear Austin artist, Dr. Joe, take on the classic US song "What I Like About You".
Whether you’re catching a show at Buddy Guy Legend’s nightclub in Chicago, Illinois, delving into history at the Motown Museum in Detroit, or attending the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festival in Austin, the United States is the perfect destination for any music enthusiast. These six cities and genres are just a few examples of what America's musical library has to offer. For more recommendations on legendary music venues, festivals, museums and hangouts for the US, click here.