Regional trails and byways for music lovers

Walnut Ridge

In Arkansas, music is more than words and melodies. It’s an audible journey through the heritage and culture of the state. From blues to folk, gospel to rockabilly, music has always been a part of life in The Natural State.

Legendary performers such as Johnny Cash, Al Green, Levon Helm, Glen Campbell, Howlin’ Wolf (a.k.a. Chester Burnett), Jimmy Driftwood, Scott Joplin, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Charlie Rich, William Warfield and Conway Twitty have all called Arkansas home. Various museums, attractions and festivals throughout Arkansas pay homage to these and many other musical legends. 

Learn about folk music and the crafts and culture of the Ozarks at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View. Check out where The Man in Black got his musical inspiration at Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash in Dyess. Plan a trip to the Murphy Arts District in El Dorado to explore music, dance, theater, art, food and fun. Travel the length of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Highway 67 and trace the steps of musical legends such as Elvis Presley, Conway Twitty, Jerry Lee Lewis and others as they played clubs and venues in the Upper Delta of Arkansas.

Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash

Don’t miss a trip to Walnut Ridge and learn more about the historic stop made by the Beatles in 1964. Head to Helena, one of the birthplaces of the Blues, and sit in on a live broadcast of King Biscuit Time, the longest-running daily blues radio show in the United States.

In West Memphis, check out the “KWEM studio” at ASU MidSouth. KWEM, which operated in West Memphis from 1947 to 1960, was the home of the first radio performance by little-known performers Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Musical legends like Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, James Cotton, Bobby “Blue” Bland and many others performed live on KWEM.