While we awoke Sunday morning in high spirits, we were sad to see this trip drawing to a close. What was originally planned as a simple three-day getaway wound up being a prolific, life-changing experience. We thanked Marc for her hospitality and informed her that the Shack up Inn had just become at least an annual destination for us. As we made our exodus, heading north on Highway 61, we again took in to view a seemingly endless sea of cotton. We basked in the memories of the trip for most of the five hour drive home, recounting several high points still fresh in our minds.
While our explorations may not have revealed every facet of this community, this it did reveal; Clarksdale, while being one of the poorest places we have ever visited (economically speaking), is rich in its heritage, rich in spirit, its wealth defined by the warm and open nature of many of its citizens, and by this community’s enduring and ongoing contributions to the vital music our world so badly needs. In the circles we traveled during our stay, all of the locals we encountered were friendly and courteous, seeming to understand and appreciate the musical history that was born unto this place and the interest it still procures. It is an atrocity that most Americans are unaware of the cultural and musical heartbeat that dwells here.
Through a continuing appreciation for the music and culture of the Delta by some unlikely world citizens, citizens from every race, sex, and ethnic background, Clarksdale is a true melting pot, even if the pot is somewhat temporary. People from all walks of life and from every corner of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and beyond gathering in these sacred music halls for some song and dance – this isn’t history, this is today, and tomorrow, and I believe that many who visit Clarksdale will forever carry a piece of this culture and music with them, perhaps even a renewed sense of hope and purpose from their experiences here. I know we will. We came for a vacation, and while it was all of that, the experience was transformational, a musical and cultural revelation we are thankful to have had.
If you are a fan of blues or blues-influenced music, the Clarksdale experience is a must, there is a deep rooted blues subculture alive and well here. If you are a history buff, you can learn more about the American struggle by visiting this place for just one day then you can from most history books. If you just want to have a great vacation, you can do that too.
Feeling compelled to document this journey as thoroughly as possible, Kelly and I took around 500 photos over this three-day adventure. While ‘vacation pictures’ are never as interesting to anyone else as they are to the vacationers, we have decided to post most of them in a photo Journal for all to see. I have broken them down into several albums, each listing the day and the subject matter. If you are considering a trip to Clarksdale, or just curious about the place, this photo album should provide some perspective. Eric and Kelly’s Clarksdale Photo Journal
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