Tonight, we're hitting a museum, but it's not the kind of museum where you have to be quiet and keep your hands behind your back. This is the Mississippi Music Museum in Hazlehurst.
So this guy from England comes in and is looking around the Mississippi Music Museum in the old depot in downtown Hazlehurst. He tells director Jim Brewer he knows quite a bit about Mississippi music. So Jim gives him a pop test.
"I said, who taught Robert Johnson how to play the guitar sitting on a tombstone at midnight in Copiah County?" said Brewer.
Let me interrupt and give you a hint. In spite of popular myth, it wasn't the devil that taught Robert Johnson to play guitar. Now Jim, go ahead with your story.
"He said, Ike Zinnerman. I said you mean you know that? There's not five people in Mississippi that really know that," said Brewer.
And that leads to the purpose of the Mississippi Music Museum in Hazlehurst, and the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame that correlates with it.
"What I want, is not only Mississippians, but others, to get an education about how vast the impact was and is worldwide of Mississippi music," said Brewer.
The daddy's or granddaddies of everything musical in America came from Mississippi. Robert Johnson gets a lot of credit as a pillar of blues, Jimmie Rodgers from Meridian was the first person ever inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, and Elvis combined country and blues and was the king of rock and roll.
And the vast army of supporting players, many of them, are from Mississippi also. You can get a quick introduction to them at the free Mississippi Music Museum in Hazlehurst.
"It's kind of a down home museum," said Brewer. "It's not like a slick new your museum. It's got a lot of memorabilia from the past. and we're trying to show how this music grew up in the midst of all this memorabilia."
Here in Mississippi we're living in the cradle that nurtured American music. Well, the Mississippi Music Museum in Hazlehurst is the family album of what's grown out of that nurturing so far.
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