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Ground Zero Blues Club

Clarksdale, Mississippi has long been described as "Ground Zero" for blues aficionados from around the globe.  It all started here. That's why Ground Zero Blues Club® was created  to celebrate the area's rich blues heritage and to provide a forum in which it can continue.

Located at Blues Alley next door to the Delta Blues Museum in the heart of historic downtown Clarksdale, Ground Zero Blues Club® opened in May 2001. Owned by local attorney and businessman, Bill Luckett; Academy Award-winning actor and Mississippi Delta resident, Morgan Freeman; and Clarksdale native and Memphis entertainment executive, Howard Stovall; Ground Zero Blues Club® is the place for anyone looking for an authentic Delta Blues experience.

The mission is to showcase the best of today's Delta Blues musicians. Although some national acts perform from time to time, visitors are more likely to find the "real deal" at Ground Zero Blues Club® — those musicians who live in the Mississippi Delta and continue in the tradition of their musical forefathers Charley Patton, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.

Ground Zero Blues Club® has been featured on CBS' 60 Minutes, CNN, Turner South, The Food Network, The Travel Channel, and The Discovery Channel and was the site for filming of Last of The Mississippi Jukes and Blues Divas. Named in 2005 as one of the "Top 100 Bars and Nightclubs in America” the club has been featured in publications such as National Geographic Traveler, Southern Living, USA Today, Esquire Japan, Food and Wine, The Washington Post and TV Guide — to name but a few.

The blues club is the latest venture for Freeman and attorney Bill Luckett. Howard Stovall, the executive director of the Blues Foundation in Memphis, joins the duo in bringing the Delta something it wants; a place to hear the blues.

"This is a venue for the blues," said Freeman, while sitting on a desk in the small office in the of the club. It doesn't matter whether it is traditional blues or new stuff, Freeman just wants a place for blues artists to play and blues fans to hear what they love.

The club is housed in a building in downtown Clarksdale that was built in the early 1900s. Ground Zero has really genuine feel to it with uneven floor boards, Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling, blues posters on the walls, vinyl tablecloths and mismatched chairs.

Customers can even say they've had a "hand in the club" by drawing their handprint on the bar, the wall or the floor.

Juke joints and small clubs pepper the Delta landscape, but there has never been a blues club in the Delta with the potential to attract national acts the way Ground Zero is expected to do in the future.

The club was open for business a week prior to the grand opening last Sunday night and Luckett said that it has been packed to almost maximum capacity almost every night.

According to Luckett, Ground Zero is already making a name for itself among foreign travelers who want to hear some authentic blues. The Clarksdale attorney said the club has already been visited by travelers from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada.

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