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By: Barbara Noe Kennedy | 

A short history of southern rock, go-go, and other American music genres and where to catch the beat.

As settlers, explorers, colonists, and forcibly enslaved Africans moved centuries ago to the New World, they brought sounds from their homelands: crooning fiddles, clog-kicking folk tunes, church spirituals, and beating drums. In this melting pot of a nation, it’s no surprise that, over time, the sounds merged in different ways, picking up new, innovative sounds along the way. From country to jazz to southern rock to go-go, American music reflects its vast and varied histories and cultures, a story that continues to evolve. There’s no way in this short amount of space to recount the complex innuendos that went into the creation of American music. But this broad brush overview presents 10 distinctly American musical genres, with a glance at where and how they took off, as well as how to kick up your heels and join in the fun (and perhaps learn something along the way).

8. If You Love Southern Rock

WHERE: Macon, Georgia

In the heart of Georgia, the Allman Brothers crashed onto the music scene in the early ‘70s, with a subgenre of rock that became known as southern rock—a blend of rock, country music, and blues highlighted with electric guitar and vocals. Phil Walden and his brother Alan had represented a slew of R&B musicians, notably Otis Redding. When Redding died in 1967, the brothers, along with Frank Fenter and Jerry Wexler, started Capricorn Records, an independent record label founded in 1969 and originally called the Otis Redding Memorial Studio. In their search for talent, they tracked down Duane Allman, and together they built the Allman Brothers Band. Interestingly, singer-keyboardist Gregg Allman (and Duane’s brother) distanced the band from the term “southern rock.” He considered it redundant, since rock ‘n’ roll and all of its precedents, including jazz, gospel, blues, country, and bluegrass, originated in the South. Other notable Capricorn protégés include Otis Redding, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Wet Willie.

Capricorn Sound Studios and Museum is where the Allman Brothers and Charlie Daniels recorded before Capricorn’s heyday in the 1970s. A second-floor museum resembles a vinyl record store, where you can don headphones and listen to tunes that created Capricorn’s legacy. The Allman Brothers, Tom Petty, and Eric Clapton once riffed at the hallowed music hall, Historic Grant’s Lounge; it still hosts live performances. There’s also the Allman Brothers Band Museum at The Big House, the communal, Tudor-style home of the Allman Brothers Band, now a museum; and H&H Restaurant, founded in 1959 and the Allman Brothers’ favorite hangout. The Macon Music Trail is an online resource that showcases the city’s music history.