When artists and bands think of “music cities” the ones that immediately come to mind are the big 5 – New York City, Los Angeles, Nashville, Seattle and Austin. There are other cities that have great scenes that don’t come immediately to mind though. Flypaper put together a list of 10 and ranked them, although I’m not so sure how the ranking came about. You can read that article here, but in the meantime, here are the 10 with no rankings but some of my own comments.
Philadelphia – I grew up a couple hours outside of Philly and can attest that it always had a pretty fervent and diverse music scene.
Omaha – Only been there once, but was impressed with how much live music there was for a town that almost everyone overlooks.
Taos, New Mexico – Likewise, Taos (and neighboring Santa Fe) has a great music scene where you can see live music almost any night of the week.
Memphis – Why this isn’t on everybody’s radar is beyond me as the city just oozes music and music history. Sure, Beale Street is where most of the live music happens, but there’s so much else here that it’s hard to overlook.
Minneapolis/St. Paul – Prince is now gone, but there’s a scene that still survives and, by all accounts, is growing.
New Orleans (and nearby Baton Rouge) – I got to Bourbon Street on a Monday at around 11PM and couldn’t believe how much music was going on at that time on a traditionally dead music day. It was like a Saturday night that even most big cities can’t match. And New Orleans musicians are in a league of their own when it comes to genuine soul.
Asheville, South Carolina – Haven’t been here yet but I’ve been hearing for years how great the scene is here. Moog is here, and Warren Haynes hosts an annual festival.
Boston – Considering all the colleges in this town (including those specializing in music), you just know that there’s a ton of musical talent – and there is.
Louisville, Kentucky – Been there once and was pretty impressed at the scene, and it wasn’t even Derby time.
Chicago – The blues still lives and thrives here as a sub-genre all its own. Ain’t no one playing a shuffle like these guys.
There’s great music all around us and not just in the places we expect. If you’re planning a tour, you obviously want the major music cities, but don’t overlook these other fine places as well. Are there any that I’ve missed?