The musical genre that has come to be known as the blues has made quite a journey. The blues has traveled back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean and meandered up the Mississippi River from the rural South to the urban North. It has crossed racial and class boundaries as well, migrating from rough and tumble juke joints to sophisticated concert halls.
The blues was born on the cotton and tobacco plantations of the South, descending from field hollers and created to express the sorrow and tribulations that plagued enslaved African Americans and their sharecropper descendants. Although it was once considered “devil’s music,” the blues is now recognized widely as a major American art form. It has influenced popular music for generations by providing the musical underpinnings for jazz, rhythm & blues, rock & roll and even hip-hop.