Finding the Rhythm In JXN

From live concerts to historic music markers and record shops, the City With Soul has a plethora to do to celebrate Mississippi's storied musical heritage.

Elton Dan performs at Martin's Downtown. Image: Drew Dempsey

Sounds

Martin's Downtown

Family-owned Martin's Downtown has been serving up Southern-inspired eats and quality live music since 1953. Their daily blue-plate and nightly drink specials come together with live music acts for an authentic taste of the Jackson community.

martinsdowntownjxn.com | @martinsdowntownjxn | 214 S. State St

Hal & Mal's

A Jackson staple since 1985, Hal & Mal's was borne from brothers Hal and Malcolm White and their dream of opening a community spot that offered as delectable of food menus as it did top-notch live music acts.

Be sure to check out The Central Blues MS Society's Blue Monday, hosted at Hal & Mal's every Monday night to celebrate the blues through good old-fashioned jam sessions.

halandmals.com | @halnmals | 200 Commerce St

Duling Hall

Constructed in 1928 as an elementary school, the historic Fondren neighborhood's Duling Hall has been voted one of the best venues in Mississippi. With stained glass windows and unique architectural details, concerts automatically feel nostalgic and intimate. The musicians that play here call it one of their "favorite rooms."

dulinghall.com | @dulinghall | 622 Duling Ave

A symphony plays
Image: MS Symphony Orchestra

Mississippi Symphony Orchestra

The largest professional performing arts organization in the state, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra performs at more than 120 concerts each year for 75,000+ Mississippians. They also help support the Mississippi Symphony Youth Orchestras, an educational program that offers daily instruction in violin, viola, and cello to over 800 school-aged children in the state.

Be sure to check out one of their year-round Bravo or Pops Series concerts at Thalia Mara Hall, or settle in for the night at one of the Chamber Series performed in intimate venues throughout Jackson.

msorchestra.com | @msorchestra | 201 East Pascagoula St

F. Jones Corner

"Whoever you are, this is your bar." Frank Jones Corner's motto could not ring truer at one of the city's favorite blues joints. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the old filling station is rooted in Mississippi's rich blues history and alive with good times every weekend until the last call at 4:30 a.m. Featuring one of Jackson's most authentic and diverse crowds, you never know who you'll run into in a place where there's "no black, no white... just the blues."

fjonescorner.com | @fjonescorner | 303 N. Farish St

Johnny T's Bistro and Blues

Legend has it that Johnny T was a blues player in the early 1900s that would show up in a shiny Cadillac for rollicking one-night-only performances across the crossroads of the American South. Mysteriously vanishing by sunrise, he would leave one signed instrument behind as testament to his visit.

Taking the lore of Johnny T and turning it into an exciting venue and restaurant, Johnny T's Bistro and Blues is a go-to for mouthwatering food and live music. Take your entertainment a step further by renting out their Renaissance Room for private events and parties.

johnnytsbistroandblues.com | @johnnytsbistroandblues | 538 N Farish St

The Sonic Boom of the South Marching Band

The “Sonic Boom” has performed many halftime appearances for the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals; a television special for Motown’s 30th Anniversary and the 34th NAACP Image Awards, with a special guest performance by “Cedric the Entertainer.”

The band is a favored entry in halftime performances during football season here in Jackson as well as for parades across Mississippi and in other states.

MORE LIVE MUSIC AROUND TOWN:

Fenians | Cups | Ecoshed | Barrelhouse | Mississippi Coliseum | The District at Eastover | Belhaven Performing Arts Center | Annually: Jackson Indie Music Week | Wellsfest | Cathead Jam

SITES

The Mississippi Blues Trail

Stretching from Mississippi Hill Country through the Delta and Capitol and down to the Gulf Coast, The Mississippi Blues Trail is a remarkable journey that takes hardcore blues fans and casual travelers alike through the state that gave birth to modern popular music.

While you're in-town, some notable markers in downtown Jackson include information about the Edwards Hotel, Ace Records, and the Subway Lounge.

msbluestrail.org | facebook.com/MississippiBluesTrail

The Westin Jackson

For your stay in the City With Soul, The Westin Jackson offers its guests an innovative package that celebrates the Birthplace of America's Music. The hotel itself pays homage to several Southern and Mississippi musical greats in its decor, complete with custom artwork from local and regional artists, like Jackson's own William Goodman. Check out one of the guitar replicas from legendary musicians to strum in the comfort of your room before heading out to see the sites and embrace the sounds of the city.

marriott.com | @thewestinjackson | 407 South Congress St

A colorful painting features a black guitar int he center
Commissioned by The Westin Jackson, this larger-than-life painting features Mississippi musicians and hangs in the lobby of the downtown hotel. Image: William Goodman Art

Mississippi Music Experiences at the Iron Horse Grill

The Iron Horse Grill began life in 1906 as a smokehouse before suffering two fires and abandonment until its inevitable resurrection as a local hotspot.

Now, the Iron Horse Grill features a museum dedicated to Mississippi’s musical heritage (in addition to a new restaurant featuring charcoal fired cooking and live music). See wax statues, antique instruments, and a vast collection of musical memorabilia all while stopping in for a great meal.

theironhorsegrill.com

A Black female rapper performs with people looking on
MDub performs at Offbeat. Image: Drew Dempsey

Shops

OffBeat

Whether you're looking for classic vinyl records or the latest in comics, OffBeat is Jackson's exclusive culture store. Founded, owned, and operated by DJ Young Venom (né Phillip Rollins), the space aims to seek out the unconventional and make it discoverable to locals and visitors alike.

From hip-hop to jazz and country, OffBeat has a little something for everyone. It's also one of the best spots to catch independent musical artists performing live.

offbeatjxn.com | @offbeatjxn | 151 Wesley Ave

The End of All Music

Originally out of Oxford, Mississippi, The End of All Music opened its second location in Historic Fondren in 2021. Featured in publications like Southern Living and Garden & Gun, the shop is routinely picked as one of the go-to spots for vinyl records and turntables.

Established by one of the co-founders of Fat Possum Records (where bands like The Black Keys and Tennis cut their teeth), the shop is also one of the best places to find records from the South's indie music scene. You'll occasionally catch live performances here, too.

theendofallmusic.com | @endofallmusicjxn | 3011 North State St

A man plays guitar with walls of guitars surrounding him
Fondren Guitars. Image: Drew Dempsey

Fondren Guitars

Fondren Guitars is repeatedly voted as Jackson's #1 music lesson program, offering classes for all ages and experience levels in guitar, bass, drums, piano, voice, and more. Their Student Rock Band plays at festivals and other events all over town, allowing its young members to show off for family, friends and the community.

It is also one of the premier spots to find your next set of 5-strings with various new, used, and vintage guitars and instruments. Their experts can also assist with amp and guitar repair to keep you and your gear in top playing condition.

fondrenguitars.com | @fondrenguitars | 607 Fondren Pl

601 Studios

Offering the most diverse and most extensive options for musical instruction in Central Mississippi, 601 Studios is the perfect setting for youth and adults to learn a new skill. Lessons are tailored to each individual student and recitals showcase what you've learned. With modern and beautiful facilities, you're sure to hit the right note (and learn some new ones along the way!)

601studios.com | @601.studios | 1935 Lakeland Dr

Anne Marie Fowler

Author

Anne Marie Fowler

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