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Music Tour USA Blues Jazz Soul and a bit of Rock & Roll

Tracing the Roots of American Music

Our last tour returned A good time was had by all. It would seem many have added to their CD and album collections.

We will have a next departure in 2019.


Comments from previous tour

Hi Brent, just sending a very belated thanks to you for all of the organisational work with the PBS Blues Tour. The trip was absolutely fantastic, anything I do after this will not come remotely close to any of the adventures. Thanks to you & Helen I had the best time each & every day, no glitches, & no disappointments, accommodation & travel between all destinations was great, everything just unfolded beautifully. A couple of friends wondered if the package cost was a bit high, but I can see where everything was well covered & thought through in the planning-I would do this again in a heartbeat ! My only negative-it was way too short for me-I was just getting used to new experiences each day & it was time to return home & contemplate the return to work-oh well, reality is tough. Anyhow, many thanks to you & the Passport team for making it happen for me. Thanks for the memories-Kris B.

Comments from previous tour

Hi Helen

A great Blues history journey with like minded folk. A memorable journey through Blues and US history well done Didn't want the trip to end, so much to see - so little time! A great Blues experience with a great knowledgeable host Great itinerary with great company

Thank you for an unforgettable Blues experience

Norm and Iszy Hudson - Blues Tour 2011

Attend two major music festivals
King Biscuit-Arkansas
and Crescent City Blues—New Orleans

This is a small group tour so we do not have large numbers on the bus!


Day 1 Sunday 25th September Chicago

Arrive Chicago. Those who are on the designated group flight will have a transfer included. Other arrivals make their way to the hotel via taxi, or shuttle. The balance of the day is free for those who wish to rest and recover. We’ll gather together for dinner and then visit our first blues clubs - either B.L.U.E.S. on Halstead where we’ll catch the best in modern day Chicago blues or Delmark Records’ monthly West Side night with more blues available at Kingston Mines just over the road.

Day 2 Monday 26th September Chicago

In the morning we’ll visit the famous Chess Studios - 2120 South Michigan Ave - Maybe one of the most important addresses in the history of popular music. In the afternoon we’ll visit one of the world’s great record stores Jazz Record Mart and have a chat with Bob Koester as he talks to us about recording everyone from Junior Wells to Sun Ra. Possible visit to Delmark Studios.

That night we’ll visit Blue Chicago in The Loop for more authentic Chicago blues. The musicians in the group may at their option visit Buddy Guy’s legends and join in the jam.

Day 3 Tuesday 27th September Chicago

In the morning we’ll get to know the city with a self guided walking tour of The Loop, including the former Sears Tower plus locations from movies such as The Blues Brothers and Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. The afternoon is free for those who want a little culture - It’d be cruel to visit Chicago and not give you the opportunity to visit the Art Institute. Another suggestion: possible Matinee performance at the famous Apollo Theatre.That night we’ll travel to Buddy Guy’s for food, beer and music. Who knows? The owner of the establishment loves to drop by if he’s in town. A menu of Cajun specialities including gumbo, crawfish tails, catfish, creole sauces and more accompanied by live blues music. We will have an advance booking to secure entry as a group. The door cover charge of US$12 will be paid direct and the meal will be 'al la carte' paid directly as well.

Day 4 Wednesday 28th September Chicago

Morning: A morbid but important trip. We'll travel out of the Loop into the suburbs and Visit Restvale Cemetery in Alsip - Final resting place of Muddy Waters, Hound Dog Taylor, Earl Hooker, Big Walter, Hound Dog Taylor and more. On the way back to The Loop we'll drive past 4339 S. Lake Park Ave - The house where Muddy Waters lived for nearly 20 years from 1954. It's closed to the public but this is really "Ground Zero" of Chicago Blues!
Afternoon free for personal activities. We gather together again for another night of Blues – where will depend upon what is on at the time.

For those who need to clear their head from the previous night’s events, try the glass enclosed Ledgebox which suspends you 1,353ft above the streets below!



         Chess Records promo                    Chicago skyline                         Apollo Theatre

Day 5 Thursday 29th September Chicago/Memphis

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Memphis. Activities for the remainder of the day are still to be finalised. Evening group dinner at BB King’s on Beale. It might be mid-week but there’s still plenty of action to be had, so we can get to know the city in its heart. Beale Street may have its touristy side but there’s plenty of hidden gems to be discovered if you know where to look.

Day 6 Friday 30th September Memphis

After breakfast it’s off to Sun Studios. Learn the history behind this amazing little room, see the room where the music was made and even sing into The King’s own microphone! Then head to Graceland. After touring the house we’ll cross over the road to see The King’s collection of cars and his two private jets. Be sure to allow time to explore the nearly endless array of gift shops.

In the afternoon we head back to Beale and visit the Gibson Guitar Factory. In the spring of 1935, Gibson enlisted musician Alvino Rey to help develop a prototype pickup with engineers at the Lyon & Healy company in Chicago. Later that year, research was moved in-house, where Gibson employee Walter Fuller came up with the final design. Gibson introduced the distinctive hexagonal pickup on a lap steel model in late 1935. The pickup was installed on an F-hole archtop guitar, dubbed the ES-150 ES for Electric Spanish), and the first one shipped from the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on May 20, 1936. The evening is once again free for anyone who wants to explore Beale and beyond.


          Graceland Mansion                  BB King in concert                   Sun Studio Memphis

Day 7 Saturday 01st October Memphis

You can’t visit Memphis without visiting the Peabody Ducks! After watching the Duckmaster lead them down the elevator into the fountain we’ll visit the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum to learn more about the history of Memphis music. After a short break for lunch we’ll travel to the Stax Museum to see where Memphis’ other great contribution to music was made.

The evening is once again free to explore however those who are willing to cross the tracks (hopefully everyone!) are welcome to join in on a trip to the incredible Wild Bill’s, the most authentic urban juke you can imagine. The joint doesn’t get jumping until 11:00 and the party can go until late but it’s a guaranteed good time.

Day 8 Sunday 02th October Memphis/Nashville

After all the fun of the previous night it’s time for some salvation and who better to deliver than the Rev Al Green himself, Pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church. Get ready for salvation and the funkiest church band you’ve heard in your life (Be warned that The Rev can sometimes be conservative in his views. We’ll then head to Sth Main in downtown for lunch at either The Arcade or Ernestine & Hazel’s followed by a visit to the Civil Rights Museum. From there we travel north to Nashville. Just to prove that Nashville is about more than just country we’ll break for dinner at the Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar

Day 9 Monday 03rd October Nashville

We’ll visit the legendary RCA studio B where everyone who’s anyone has recorded. From there it’s off to the Country Music Hall of Fame. After having been to Memphis and seen the links between blues and soul we'll now see where they meet Country. After the razzle dazzle of the Hall of Fame we'll visit the more down home Johnny Cash Museum - Small but full of history! The evening is free to explore The District. For those who are musically inclined it’s jam night at the Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar so why not jump up and join in?  

Day 10 Tuesday 04th October Nashville/Muscle Shoals

In the morning we’ll pay a visit to the playground of music’s very own Willy Wonka, Jack White’s Third Man Records. Record your voice direct to disc in the record booth, explore the novelties lounge or stock up on the records and books they have on sale. We’ll then travel two hours by bus to Muscle Shoals, Alabama and visit the Muscle Shoals and FAME recording studios.

Day 11 Wednesday 05th October

It’s off to Tupelo, MS to see the birthplace of The King (90 minute drive). We’ll then travel to college town Oxford, MS (60 minute drive) for lunch then journey down south to BB King’s home town of Indianola (two hour drive) to visit the BB King Cultural Interpretative Centre.



         The Cotton Museum                   Natchez Mississippi              Beale Street Memphis 


Day 12 Thursday 06th October

We’ll visit the Highway 61 Delta Blues Museum in Leland and Dockery Plantation, once home of seminal bluesman Charley Patton Tonight we party away in the one of a kind Po Monkey’s Lounge in Marigold Mississippi

Day 13 Friday 07th October

Off to Helena for the King Biscuit Festival

Festival Details

Day 14 Saturday 08th October

Festival Day.

Day 15 Sunday 9th October Clarksdale

Down to Clarksdale for the Cathead mini blues fest. Travelling down the legendary Highway 61 South, known as America’s Blues Alley. That night it’s time to party at the near-mythical Red’s Juke Joint.

Day 16 Monday 10th October

We’ll visit Clarksdale’s two one of a kind museums - The Delta Blues Museum for the more traditional style the museum the Rock & Blues for a more … unique take on things. We will fit in a break in between for lunch at Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Then it’s off to, 'The Crossroads' for anyone interested in making any assorted pacts or deals.

Night time: Live music at the Bluesberry Cafe (Most likely Watermelon Slim although it can vary).

Day 17 Tuesday 11th October

We’ll explore the myths, legends and realities surrounding Robert Johnson. Using Greenwood as a base we will visit all three of his rumoured graves, with a side trip to Avalon to visit the home of Mississippi John Hurt (now a Museum).

Day 18 Wednesday 12th October

We’ll travel down South to Bentonia, home of the Bentonia school of blues, made famous by Skip James. We’ll visit Jimmy Duck Holmes in his world famous Blue front cafe and that night we’ll celebrate juke joint style with local musicians who’ll teach us how they do things down in the Delta.

Day 19 Thursday 13th October

Travelling from Yazoo City we’ll reach Baton Rogue in time for lunch . We’ll visit the Southern Life museum to get a taste of Louisiana rural culture.  That night we celebrate Louisiana Blues style in the one of a kind Teddy’s Lounge, Baton Rouge.

Day 20 Friday 14th October

Travel down to New Orleans. We’ll explore the historic French Quarter and then meet up in Lafayette Square for the start of the Blues & BBQ festival. First day of Blues & BBQ (5:30pm- approx 8:30pm)

After approx 8:30pm the night is free or we can arrange to visit Frenchman St as a group and visit venues such as The Spotted cat and d.b.a.

Or possibly Dinner/Music at Mulate’s, the original Cajun zydeco Restaurant. The food is fantastic.! the crawfish etouffe rocks. For an opener, try the Zydeco meat pies. Enjoy live Cajun music while you dine. Don't be afraid to get out there and dance, the locals aren't shy. Cajun dancing lessons: Grab a partner, nail one foot to the floor, rotate. Simple, cher!

Day 21 Saturday 15th October

Blues & BBQ day two.

After approx 8:30pm the night is free or we can arrange to venture further a field as a group. Depending on who's on.

Day 22 Sunday 16th October

Blues & BBQ day three. Frenchman street.

Day 23 Saturday 17th October

Breakfast at the Cafe du Monde. An opportunity to explore the city and get to know it up close. Visit Preservation Hall, go on an optional Voodoo tour or cemetery tour. We’ll travel together to the Treme and visit the where the Mardis Gras Indian costumes are kept when not in use.

Day 24 Saturday 18th October

Our last day! Spend the morning shopping for those last minute souvenirs and tucking into one more Po Boy and then it’s off to the airport for the journey home.

Depart afternoon for Airport for our departure flight. This can be either connecting through Los Angeles home, stopping off at L.A. or joining our extension tour to vibrant Cuba!!!. Naturally you can depart to other destinations in the U.S. if you have other plans.

Price 2016- Land only A$7569.00 per person twin share.

           Single supplement A$2493

We will offer to introduce people who wish to share, to others with a similar aim.

The price is based on an US$/AU$ exchange rate as of January 2016. Until the balance is paid we reserve the right to amend the above cost due to changes in the exchange rate.

Price Includes

  • Australian specialist tour leader
  • Hotel accommodations in each city as listed & all local taxes
  • Daily breakfast except at Helena and Clarkesdale
  • Bellman gratuities at each hotel from Memphis arrival to last day
  • Admission to the following attractions

    Country Music Hall of Fame

    Studio B tour

    Sun Studio tour
    Graceland Platinum tour

    Johnny Cash Museum

    Fame recording studio

    Elvis birthplace Tupelo
    Rock n Soul Museum

    King Biscuit festival 2 days
    Stax Museum of American Soul Music
    Delta Blues Museum Clarksdale
    B.B. King Museum & Delta Heritage Center
    Po Monkey’s Juke Joint

    Rock n Roll and Blues Heritage Museum Clarkesdale

    LSU Rural Life Museum

    maison Bourbon Jazz Club 50 minute set with one drink - New Orleans

  • Dinner & entertainment at B.B. Kings Blues Club Beale St
  • Lunch at Arcade Restuarant
  • Transfers Chicago (if arriving on designated group flight).
  • Specialised local guides in Memphis, Nashville, Clarksdale, Indianola, Greenwood, & New Orleans.

Not Included

  • International Airfares
  • US domestic airfare Chicargo to Memphis Approx A$213 + bag charge (as of Jan 2016)
  • Gratuities (tips) other than those mentioned in inclusions.


Who really knows (this far in advance) what flight deals will be for this time. Prices now will not reflect prices later in the year. The last tour used United as the designated group flight. We will set a designated airline and those that arrive on this can avail themselves of the included transfers. At present we favour United Airlines due to their past record for price and ease of connections allowing an easy stopover for Los Angeles for those that desire this. BUT we will check a little bit later in the year.

You can book other airlines - some may wish to use frequent flyer points. The start point for those people would then be the first night hotel. You can get an idea of what flights will be by using our web flight enquiry/booking engine. Take the link that says 'Advanced Search' and then enter your Australian city to Chicago and the return being New Orleans to your home port.

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