Mississippi is recognized as the “Birthplace of America’s music,” and the National Park Service has proclaimed that, “Much of what is profoundly American – what people love about America – has come from the Delta, which is often called ‘the cradle of American culture.” Cleveland, Mississippi, is considered the ‘crossroads of culture’ in this unique, authentic, mystical, and multi-ethnic region of our country. Cleveland is a farming town – an arts town – a college town – a music town, and with music as the universal language, our goal is to build on the culture of the blues and the birth of the American sound by celebrating and promoting roots music to our local community and visitors here in the heart of the Americana Music Triangle.
The Deep Roots music project will showcase American roots music through live and recorded performances from a selected roster of local musicians. Additional roots music artists from the area will make guest appearances as the Deep Roots project develops. The Deep Roots artists will also be featured on the Delta Roots Radio Hour, a weekly radio show sponsored by the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area in partnership with community radio station WDSW. The show will feature in-studio performances and curated playlists of the best in regional and national roots music.
American roots music is described as a combination of musical styles which incorporates early music genres and traditions of indigenous groups with ‘shared roots,’ heavily influenced by both the culture and sound of the blues. American roots music grew from the “folk” music made by whites of European descent in the early 20th century, mostly of meager means and living in the rural, isolated South, then expanded to include the song styles of other cultures, particularly the blues and gospel music of African-American southerners. While it encompasses a broad range of music genres and styles, roots music now includes those genres which were given birth in the Mississippi Delta and the American South: blues, folk, gospel, traditional country, zydeco, R&B/soul, bluegrass, and singer/songwriter styles. Often marginalized on commercial radio, roots music contains a common thread that draws on the lived experience of ordinary men and women and has served as a vehicle for offering the disenfranchised a voice.
Find your groove in our creative community as we cultivate and celebrate our current ‘crop’ of musicians and tend to the roots of our musical heritage. Come put down your Deep Roots in Cleveland, Mississippi.
Delta Roots Radio Hour
The Delta Roots Radio Hour is a live weekly radio show, hosted by Tricia Walker and produced by Big Front Porch Productions in the studios of WDSW 88.1 The Trail, on the campus of Delta State University, broadcasting locally and streaming worldwide. From blues to bluegrass, country to soul, gospel to singer/songwriter, it’s all part of the live radio experience on The Delta Roots Radio Hour. Regular guests will include artists from Cleveland’s Deep Roots roster, including Craig Adams, Chris Dixon, the CUZ Band, Jeff McCreary, Variety, Peyton Aldridge, the Delta String Band, and Tricia Walker. There’s plenty of great music to go around! The Delta Roots Radio Hour is made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, a partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. Check the Deep Roots events tab for the weekly schedule and tune in to the Delta Roots Radio Hour!
The Mississippi Delta is a mindset. The Delta is a land that was virgin wilderness and swamp at the turn of the twentieth century, dominated by politically powerful gentleman planters, peopled by Black sharecroppers, Italian immigrants, Chinese, Lebanese and Jewish merchants. It is the home of the blues, gospel, soul food, and the civil rights movement. It is where Elvis Presley learned to dance and sing and drive a pink Cadillac. It is the land where Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson wrote the lyrics that eventually made the Rolling Stones, John Mayall and Eric Clapton music legends. In the heart of the Delta lies the town of Cleveland, which began its formation in 1869 on the Louisville, New Orleans & Texas railroad line. The Mississippi Delta is a fantastic place, where the history of the area is still prevalent and visible in the world today. Cleveland and Bolivar County are prime examples of how the rich heritage of an area can shape and form a place to make it not only interesting and educational, but inspiring as well. Welcome, y’all!
GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi
Visitors to GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi often ask, “Why Cleveland?” GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi was inspired by the original GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. Live located in Los Angeles, California. For many would be visitors, it’s surprising that a town as small and rural as Cleveland, Mississippi, is home to the second GRAMMY Museum in the world. Until they have explored our exhibits and our Mississippi Gallery, visitors don’t know that Mississippi, more notably the Mississippi Delta, has one of the richest musical histories and lasting legacies of any place on Earth. Mississippi has more GRAMMY winners per capita than any other state in the U.S. Mississippi has been home to a diverse group of musicians in all corners of the state. It was at Dockery Farms, just four miles east of Cleveland, that blues pioneers such as Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Honeyboy Edwards, and Pops Staples worked while writing songs that would inspire rock, R&B, soul, blues, and country music for the rest of time. “Because without Mississippi… there would be no American music.”