AmeriCan & Worldwide Travel

01892 779900

Sounds of the North

This northern tour picks up where our Southern odyssey ends. After exploring Memphis and Nashville, you'll journey through the rolling fields of Missouri to Cape Girardeau and on into St Louis. Here the funky Soulard district supports one of the liveliest music scenes in America. From St Louis head for Chicago via Springfield - the historic home of Abraham Lincoln - or Davenport, where cornet virtuoso Bix Beiderbecke learned jazz on the banks of the Mississippi River. Chicago itself is where jazz, blues and gospel began to dominate popular music. You'll discover trendy North Side bars, the raw clubs of the South Side and some of America's most exciting music landmarks.




Arrive at Nashville International Airport and pick up your hire car for the short drive to your hotel in the heart of the city. Depending on which flight you take, there might be time to walk out to hear some live bluegrass music at the famous Station Inn or you might prefer to relax in the comfortable surroundings of the hotel.

Explore Nashville, 'Music City USA', home of country music and some of America's biggest recording companies. Trawl the outstanding music venues of Second and Broadway or head out to the Grand Ole Opry, the 'church' of country music.

Another full day to explore Nashville. Visit the famous Ryman Auditorium, the new Country Music Hall of Fame or RCA's Studio 'B' where Elvis Presley recorded over 200 of his best-loved hits. Or you might choose to wander Music Row hoping - like thousands before you - to be 'spotted' by a talent scout!



212 miles

Drive west to Memphis, the place where blues came of age and where rock & roll was born. We recommend you park the car at your centrally-located hotel and walk over to Beale Street for a night of great music. Beale Street was a key arena in which bluesmen from BB King to Howlin' Wolf made their names. BB King's Blues Club is now one of Beale Street's best clubs.

A full day to explore Memphis. Tour Graceland and Sun Studios or visit the exceptional Rock 'n' Soul Museum in the new Gibson Guitar factory. Here you'll learn about the incredible contribution Memphis has made to blues, soul and gospel music.
Optional extras include a half-day tour of Memphis's music sights in a 1955 'pecos-biege' Cadillac - Elvis's favourite! - and tickets to Graceland.

Another full day in Memphis - you'll find it easy to fill your time. Drive out to the Full Gospel Tabernacle where Al Green is the resident preacher or explore the city's many musical sites. You might choose to visit the National Civil Rights Museum housed in the old Lorraine Motel, the place where Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated. It's one the most moving and insightful museums in the States.


Cape Girardeau

179 miles

Head north along Highway 61 - the 'Blues Highway' - through the lush farmland of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri to Cape Girardeau, an attractive and laid-back stopover en route to St Louis.


St Louis

115 miles

Continue along that ol' 'Blues Highway' to St Louis, America's great 'gateway city'. Check in at your hotel then spend the evening roaming the funky Soulard district, home to one of the best blues scenes in the US. Look out for local legends Henry Townsend and Johnnie Johnson.

A day in St Louis. Ride to the top of the amazing 630-foot Gateway Arch which dominates the city's skyline. Then visit Scott Joplin's House where the ragtime innovator penned such hits as 'Maple Leaf Rag' and 'The Entertainer'.



267 miles

Follow Highway 61 as it weaves alongside the mighty Mississippi River to Davenport, Iowa. Here jazz legend Bix Beiderbecke took up the cornet after hearing Louis Armstrong's sound drifting across the river from a steamboat where he played with Fate Marable's orchestra.



181 miles

Drive across the Great Plains of the Midwest to Chicago, the place where jazz and blues really came of age. After the drive you might want to head into the Loop for some Italian-American cooking or to a soul food joint for 'smothered pork and beans'.

Your first full day in the Windy City. Where do you start? You could focus on the South Side's many blues landmarks like Muddy Waters's house and the Checkerboard Lounge or you could head for the mainstream attractions like the lakeshore or Navy Pier.

Chicago is a vast city and even with three full days you'll come away feeling that you still had a lot to see. Perhaps head down to the South Side for a gospel church service at the Pilgrim Baptist Church - the place where Mahalia Jackson and Tom Dorsey defined modern gospel music. Or you could check out Maxwell Street, Chicago's great blues thoroughfare.

This is the your last day on America's music trail. Spend the day checking out the Loop and some of Chicago's great museums before a night on the town. Choose between the North Side with its world-famous blues venues or head down to Buddy Guy's club. Then there's the South Side with clubs like Lee's Unleaded where raw electric blues pounds night after night.

Spend two nights in Chicago before flying home.

What's included?

  • Return flights from London (Please ask about other departure airports)
  • 12 nights accommodation and room tax
  • Fully insured compact car hire for 2 drivers
  • A travel pack containing a day by day itinerary, driving instructions, maps & suggested excursions

How to book

Daily Departures Year Round

Our low season standard hotel price starts from £1179.00 per person based on 2 sharing a room (Supplements or reductions for other room types available on request).

We can offer this itinerary in a wide range of other accommodation types including superior hotels and small inns.

Please call us on (01892) 779900 or email stating your travel dates and preferred standard of accommodation for a detailed and competitively priced quotation.