The Ritz it Ain’t…
…but it’s way more than just good!
The Juke Joint Chapel is the live music venue open to the public inside The Shack Up Inn, perhaps Clarksdale’s most widely known authentic attraction for blues and roots music fans… nationally… and globally.
Only three miles from the legendary Highway 49 and 61 Crossroads, Shack Up Inn guests and Juke Joint Chapel devotees can immerse themselves in the living history found in this authentic blues destination.
Even walking the grounds of this former cotton gin is an historic treat. This is where the legendary Pinetop Perkins was a tractor driver, and you’ll see firsthand the first mechanized cotton picker, which was first introduced here in 1947, and the rusty relic you’ll see is most important: it set the stage for the great late ’40’s and ’50’s migration where field workers left the Delta for work in Chicago and industrial cities beyond. What was significant with all of that is the departing field hands took the blues with them, and from there the Chicago blues was born, and soon after evolved rock n’ roll.
The first thing that will hit you in the Juke Joint Chapel itself is the art. It’s funky, it’s whimsical, it’s authentic and it’s grand. There’s even a giant replica of an ancient airplane hung upside down over the main stage. There’s tables, chairs, a some old church pews and lots of different angles and treats to see the music, and you can be really up close to get right in the thick of it, but never too far away.
Some Name Droppin’ (it’s mighty fine too, we swear!)
You never know who you might see having a religious musical experience at the Chapel. It could be Morgan Freeman, Mary Louise Parker, Ashley Judd, and some swear they’ve seen Pinetop Perkins ghost ticklin’ the ivory 88’s with his most pleasant smile.
Mostly the music are today’s Clarksdale bluesmen, and it’s good now, just like it used to be. National acts come through from time to time, and they are not to be missed. Recently Peggy Young played the Chapel, and with her were key members of her former husband Neil’s band, which included Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Spooner Oldham (who played on Aretha Franklin’s “Repect”, Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman”, Wilson Pickets “Mustang Sally” and more (praying that night at the Juke Joint Chapel was real religion, for sure).
Among notable others who have graced the Chapel stage are: Tom Waits, Pinetop Perkins (the real one), the North Mississippi Allstars, Dwayne, Gary and Cedric Burnside, Kenny Brown, Elvis Costello, Robert Plant, Johnny Neel, Morgan Freeman, Patty Griffin, Big Jack Johnson, Samuel J. Jackson, Super Chikan, Sam Carr, Charlie Musselwhite, John Mayall, and Ike Turner, just to name a few.
Music Workshops too
There is a consistent array of workshops hosted in the Chapel, including guitar and bass camps, songwriting workshops, a harmonica camp and more. Check here to find out which ones stir you too, and here to reserve your shack (sorta like a suite) at the Shack Up Inn.
The Juke Joint Chapel
001 Commissary Circle