We hit Clarksdale Mississippi recently and were lucky enough to catch up with Eric Meir and Tameal Edwards of Ground Zero Blues Club.
Ground Zero was opened in 2001 by Bill Luckett, Morgan Freeman, and Howard Stovall. Eric Meier joined as a co-owner after visiting Clarksdale and being taken with the area and its deep musical history. Unfortunately, Bill Luckett passed on in 2021 but it is fair to say that he left his mark on the State he called home and Ground Zero is a significant part of that legacy.
The club harkens back to the past in respect of its layout and vibe. It occupies a building that housed a grocery and cotton company to which not a huge amount of renovation has been done. There’s a bar, a kitchen serving great Southern-style food, some chairs and tables, and, of course, a stage… Everything a great blues venue needs.
Fans come from all over the world to visit Clarksdale given its blues heritage and on most nights, Ground Zero will host a significant number of patrons who have travelled from somewhere outside Clarksdale and often outside the US. Whilst the club certainly celebrates the history of the blues, it is also dedicated to providing a place for the next batch of blues musicians to cut their teeth. With Blues Jam night on a Thursday, many musicians can get their first taste of playing to an audience (and what a place to do it) and Ground Zero has become a regular stop for many established touring acts who look to play there as they come through town.
In our discussions with Eric and Tameal, what comes across is a genuine love for Clarksdale and its musical heritage but, more so, a passion for building on that heritage, and supporting the next generation of blues musicians and the regeneration of Clarksdale itself. It’s a passion shared by many others in Clarksdale and if you do visit, other recommended locations to visit are Reds Lounge, Bluesberry Cafe, The Museum of Delta Blues, Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art, The Shack Up Inn, and Hopson Commissary, among many others.
We are very grateful to Eric and Tameal for taking the time to speak with us. We have posted two separate videos here since Eric spoke to us via Zoom prior to our trip as his schedule meant that he was not in Clarksdale as we were coming through town.
You can see our interviews with Eric and Tameal here, and when you’re finished watching, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch future content:
To read more about our cross-country fundraising trip for the National Independent Venues Foundation and Musicians On Call, click here. All donations go directly to your chosen organization. To donate to NIVF, click here. To donate to Musicians On Call, click here.