The state of Georgia has a rich musical heritage that that has produced pioneers and superstars in almost every genre, including Ray Charles, Johnny Mercer, James Brown, Alan Jackson, Otis Redding, Little Richard, Gladys Knight, TLC, The Allman Brothers Band, Blind Willie McTell, R.E.M., the B-52’s, Brenda Lee, Amy Grant, Trisha Yearwood, Usher and many more.
Four cities in particular have played significant roles in the history of these artists, providing inspiration, opportunity and nurturing music communities: Atlanta, Athens, Macon and Savannah. The Georgia Music Trail highlights music-themed destinations, including attractions, venues, festivals, historical sites, restaurants and retail shops in each of these cities.
Be a producer and use your talent to create a customized musical tour of sites featured on the Georgia Music Trail. Plan your visit to coincide with one of the state’s award-winning music festivals, including Music Midtown, AthFest, Georgia Music Week and the Savannah Music Festival.
Otis Redding statue. The Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon preserves and celebrates the stories of Georgia musicians, songwriters and producers, from humble beginnings in small towns like Monticello and Valdosta to careers marked by chart-topping hits and worldwide recognition.
The museum features interactive exhibits, Music Factory children’s wing, special events & concerts, research library and jam-packed Music Store. Near the museum is the life-size bronze statute of Otis Redding, Rose Hill Cemetery, where original Allman Brothers Band members Duane Allman and Berry Oakley are buried side-by-side, Sidney Lanier Cottage and H & H Restaurant, with its soul food, jukebox and music-memorabilia covered walls.
Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Athens as the “#1 Music Scene in America.” R.E.M. and the B-52’s burst out of the city’s scene over 20 years ago, and today’s, world-famous venues like the 40-Watt Club and the Georgia Theatre still thrive among dozens of clubs. Literally hundreds of bands call the bohemian community home.
Learn about the self-guided Music History Tours at the Athens Welcome Center and pick up a free copy of Flagpole for live music listings. Weaver D’s Fine Foods serves up soul food under the slogan “Automatic for the People,” which R.E.M. borrowed for the title of its 1992 album. The Grit has gained fame for its vegetarian fare, best-selling cookbook and loyal following among musicians.
Soak up the sounds of the city along the brick-lined streets of Savannah, birthplace of America’s greatest lyricist, Johnny Mercer, who penned “Moon River,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “That Old Black Magic” and hundreds more. The Savannah Historic District features 2.2 square miles of history, restaurants, antique shops, boutiques and a bustling nightlife.
Savannah’s jazz tradition can be traced back to Reconstruction Era brass bands and jazz music veterans perform nightly in clubs throughout the city. The Savannah Riverboat Company offers “Southern Gospel Nights,” featuring a dinner trip down the Savannah River with Southern Gospel artists entertaining guests. Savannah also hosts the world-famous St. Patrick’s Day celebration and the celebrated, ten-day Savannah Music Festival.
Atlanta music festivals Atlanta has been a launching ground for musicians for decades and the capitol city has something to suit every musical taste. Pack a picnic and candles and catch a concert at Chastain Park, one of Atlanta’s most popular outdoor venues. Visit the historic Fox Theatre on Peachtree St. for cultural events from Broadway shows to the Atlanta Ballet to international performances.
The Grammy award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra offers a variety of performances in Symphony Hall at Woodruff Arts Center, including four classical concert series, pops and holiday concerts, Millstone Coffee New Mornings and the popular Family Concert Series.
Nightclubs abound, from the Tabernacle, housed in a historic former church building, and Masquerade, a three-story club housed in a turn-of-the-century mill building, to intimate spaces like Churchill Grounds, with live jazz six nights a week and Eddie’s Attic, the preeminent listening space featuring singer/songwriters.
No music-themed trip to Atlanta would be complete without a visit to Gladys Knight and Ron Winan’s Chicken and Waffles or a souvenir t-shirt from the Hard Rock Café. Year-round festivals include Atlanta Dogwood Festival in April, Music Midtown and Atlanta Jazz Festival in May, National Black Arts Festival in July, Georgia Music Week and the Savannah Jazz Festival in September and the annual Peach Drop on New Year’s Eve at Underground Atlanta.