The Mississippi Blues Trail is a series of historical markers that celebrate the state’s rich musical and cultural heritage. The first Blues Trail markers went up in late 2006, and since then some 170 markers have been placed. These acknowledge not only Mississippi’s many legends of the blues but also address significant places and themes (such as cotton and railroads) that were integral to the development of the music.
Musicians Kenny Brown, Duwayne Burnside, Joe Ayers, David Kimbrough,
and Garry Burnside at the dedication of a marker in Holly Springs
The Blues Trail project is unique in terms of the great amount of information conveyed on each marker. The front sides features a brief description in the raised metal lettering typical of historical markers, while a vinyl panel on the backsides allows for a five-hundred-plus word essay as well as multiple color images. This content can also be found on the Blues Trail website, which also hosts sixteen short films created exclusively for the Blues Trail.
The vast majority of the markers are located in Mississippi, while others acknowledge the great influence Mississippi blues artists have had on the music of the world. Markers in Memphis, Helena, Arkansas, and Chicago reflect the significant interchanges Mississippians had in those places, while the far-reaching impact of the blues is expressed through markers in Los Angeles, Rockland, Maine, and Notodden, Norway.
While visiting Mississippi blues fans are encouraged to use the Blues Trail app developed for iPhone (iOS) and Android phones, whose features include being able to create an itinerary and calculate distance to the nearest markers. In early 2013 the Mississippi Arts Commission also launched a Blues Curriculum based on the Blues Trail.