Guest Post: Best Places to Travel For Any Music Lover

Today I have a very special guest post for you; it combines to of my absolutely favorite things, music and travel! 


The thorough and committed music lover doesn’t just enjoy listening to their favorite music, but is equally excited and interested in experiencing, and maybe even immersing themselves in the culture and cities from which that music stemmed.

Every genre has its roots, and those roots usually lead back to an area, and often times even a specific city. The music’s culture will then reflect the culture and history of that city, even as it expands and is built upon by musicians from around the world. That city will be a more full and detailed picture of the culture and ideas expressed by the music it gave birth to.

Lyrics and musical imagery can then be matched with actual places, which are otherwise left to the imagination of the listener.


So, if the culture and imagery of the music you love interests you, here are five cities that gave rise to some of the most significant musical genres of our time:

1. Vienna, Austria – Dubbed the “Capital of Classical Music” Vienna takes its rich musical history quite seriously, and is on display throughout the entire city. Mozart, Beethoven, Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert all played here on a regular basis, and were said to entertain five-figure crowds.

Today, there are plenty of musically-themed cafes, modern day classical concerts and museums dedicated to the greats of classical music.

2. Havana, Cuba — While there are plenty of performing arts surrounding Latin and salsa music, Havana is actually a fairly active jazz hotspot as well. While the city’s history is rich with several sub genres of Latin music, live shows incorporate a lot of Latin and jazz performers on a fairly regular basis.

3. New Orleans – American music has its roots deep in New Orleans jazz. There has been perhaps no single greater influencing city when it comes to the genre that gave way to the blues and rock-and-roll that is now so prevalent in western society. Part of what makes New Orleans so popular is the continued dedication to live jazz performances and a nightlife culture that is steeped in classical jazz music.

4. Austin, Texas — The world of rock-and-roll was an offshoot of the New Orleans jazz scene, and southern rock was a direct result. Austin, Texas played host, and continues to be a hotspot for southern rock and a variety of rock and roll sub-genres.

5. Nashville, Tennessee – As rock and jazz saw their origins and development primarily in the south, you’ve got to go a little further north to find the birthplace of country music as we know it today. In fact, Nashville, Tennessee has become the most notable musical city in the United States, due largely in part to it being the origin of classic and modern country music.

big piano

It’s not the most historical city in the world, but the number of rock and country musicians (particularly guitarists) who have either come from or made a name for themselves in Nashville has given it the title of “Music City.”

Great for Music and Tourism

Not only are these cities rich with music history, but they’re also designed to accommodate a full spectrum of tourism that goes beyond enjoying musical culture. If you’re looking to travel to someplace where you can enjoy the music and the typical creature comforts of tourism, these cities are some of your best options.


Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Los Angeles. Her writing covers everything from health to business and travel, but as a true music enthusiast she loves any chance to cover music and the arts. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest today!

Five Songs That Changed My Life {19}

Today I have another featured ‘Five Songs’ post for you all! I’m always looking for new contributors, so send me an e-mail at: mliss024(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject ‘Five Songs’ if you’re interested, or just leave me a comment below!

For the complete archives of previous bloggers, click right here!

kimberly Hi there! My name is Kim and I blog at The Simplicity.  I’m a military officer from Wisconsin who is now exploring the wilderness of Montana.  For me, music has always been an important aspect of my life.  I grew up taking viola and percussion lessons and spending summers on drumlines and marching in parades.  When I wasn’t playing an instrument, I was singing and partaking in vocal performances, competitions, and performing in musicals.  I am still just as obsessed with musicals as I was back then and I like to pretend that in another life I was on Broadway.  For now music is the entertainment that often fills my life, especially since we now live in a small town.  I always have music with me and even for my job, my co-workers and I do make the good ol’ classic mixed tape CD.  Music has the ability to touch the soul and I love it.

La Vie en Rose – Louis Armstrong
This is one of my favorite songs because it is so romantic to me.  Everytime I hear it, I can picture dancing along a river’s edge in France with beautiful lights hanging from trees.  Although I’ve never actually been to France or danced along a river’s edge, this image was my supreme romantic moment that I always held dear to when I was single.  Armstrong’s voice, with all of its grit, combined with the instrumental harp creates such a wonderful dynamic and the epitome of romance.

Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas Album
I know this is kind of cheating since it’s an entire album but my childhood Christmas memories are filled of December mornings eating french toast sticks as my mom played this CD in our little CD player.  This album is such a staple in Christmas collections, so much to the point that her second Christmas album that was recently released didn’t stand a chance (plus it wasn’t nearly as good as this one).  The extent of her vocal range is so impressive and she gives this regal sense to each song she performs- it’s just so beautiful.  If I was going to sing to Jesus, I would hope it would sound like this.

For the First Time- The Script
Ever since my husband, Ryan, and I got married, we’ve definitely had our struggles.  We got married at a very young age and a lot of factors were kind of against us.  Statistically speaking, the likelihood of divorce outweighs the marriages that last and adding inexperience of life being in our early 20s certainly doesn’t help that.  He was in the Marine Corps while I was finishing college and then I became an Air Force officer.  Our lives were spent with months apart and we’re finally at a place in our lives where we can live under the same roof.  I listened to this song during moments of frustration and anger at our situation or because we were fighting and it helped calm me down and give me perspective.  I also really love this music video and the lyrics of the song.

Hell on Heels- Pistol Annies
I’m definitely a fan of country and I think the specific point in my life where that was cultivated were summer camping trips spent by the Smoky Mountains.  We had an awesome camper and my family, along with my aunt, uncle, and cousins would drive there and spend a week or so in a nice campground right next to the mountains.  I adored those trips where we’d float down the river and endure mini rapids that would send my heart racing or biking through the mountains.  We were so close to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and those touristy spots were also favorites of mine.  The local radio stations played so much country that I became a fan of many of the songs.  Now that I live in Montana, it’s a good thing that I’m such a fan country music because it’s played often.  Hell on Heels was a song that I would play through my headphones on the long walks from campus buildings to my ROTC detachment while I was in college.  The sound of the three female artists sounds very old school country and is a sound unique to that group.  I also really enjoy that it’s an all-female group.  Its sass also brings that old sound to contemporary times and would have me grinning on my way to class.

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes- Disney songs
I chose this song as a representative of all Disney songs that I love.  Regardless of age, I will always be a huge fan of Disney.  My grandma inspired a childhood whimsy in my entire family, starting us at a young age.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend many vacations at Disney World or on a Disney Cruise.  As an adult now I realize how expensive and extravagant those vacations and experiences could be, but as a kid it allowed my imagination to run wild.  I was madly in love with the characters, the rides, and all of the details in the parks and that carried over into my adult life as an advertisement and PR major.  The quality of experiences and instilling that wonder into everything became an important component in my life.  Plus I love reminiscing with a fun Disney movie?

Thanks to Melissa for allowing this opportunity to share with the Press Play readers and I hope you’ll visit The Simplicity to read more on my adventures.

Guest Post- Jessica from Sweet Green Tangerine

Today I’m doing a blog swap with the lovely Jessica! You can check out my post on her blog today as well. We both wrote about our adventures sharing music together via Dropbox these last couple weeks which has been SO much fun! 


Hello Press Play readers!  If we haven’t “met” yet, I am Jessica from Sweet Green Tangerine.  I blog mainly about books and music, but you can sometimes catch a glimpse of my two small boys and one big one…who are all pretty cute if you ask me.  I also host the Book Chat every Thursday, which I’m sure you’ve seen Melissa’s posts before.  We would love more people to join in, so jump in anytime!

My absolute favorite part about blogging is the amazing people I meet.  Melissa and I have been blog friends for a while now, and I honestly don’t know if there is another person alive with more similar interests as mine.  When you get to connect to people based on like interests and similar tastes, it results in the most rewarding friendships.

Recently, Melissa invited me to share music with her using a program called Dropbox.  It’s basically like a virtual mailbox that lives somewhere in space.  I put music into it, and she can download it.  Then, she puts music in it that I can download.  It’s completely safe and legal (I think).  It’s great because we’re not just doing it to “steal” music, but to expose each other to new sounds and artists.  Rather than burn a CD and send it out to her via snail mail, I can just shoot her a tweet and say “Hey Mel, check out this band!” and BAM she has the album to listen to instantly.  Then, we can promote those bands here on our blogs and everybody wins.

Today, I want to share my favorites that Melissa has sent me.  Here is a short list of some of the stuff I received…

Anthony Green – Beautiful Things

Circa Survive – Blue Sky Noise

Ed Sheeran – +

But there are two specifically that I want to talk about…

1. Young the Giant – Young the Giant.

I had heard YtG on the radio a bit and I knew they were a band to listen for. Songs such as “Cough Syrup” and “Apartment” are easily marketable songs that we will be hearing much more of in the future.  However, they don’t quite showcase the singers voice like I wish they would.  He is so unique.  He’s totally a crooner in a rock band!  Don’t believe me? Listen to “I Got”.  He’s like the Michael Buble of indie Rock.  Such an incredibly fresh sound that never gets old.  I like their popular songs, but I LOVE the rest of this album.  And let me tell you, I was stoked when I found out they would be at Bonnaroo this year! (as will I)

Young the Giant may sound like just another mainstream rock band by their singles, but I promise this band has something special in their lead singer.  Do give them a listen.

2. Of Monsters and Men – My Head is an Animal

Oh man, oh man, oh man.  This is easily one of my new favorite bands.  I cannot say enough about how much I love this album, but I’ll give it a shot.  I heard their single “Little Talks” a lot on XMU and Alt Nation back in November.  I was immediately obsessed with that song.  However, I never gave the rest of the album a chance.  I have a fear sometimes when I fall in love with one song, that the rest of the album won’t live up to it.  That is NOT the case here.  “Little Talks” isn’t even the best song on the album.  Let’s talk about their sound.  The two lead singers, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson (they’re from Iceland), have these voices that blend so well.  Raggi has a sweet, husky voice that sends me away with “Sloom” every time.  And Nanna’s voice, while not overbearing, is so gentle and almost timid.  There’s a moment in the first song, “Dirty Paws”, where they crescendo into the emotional, yelling line and every time, I get chills.  This band owes a lot to their percussionist too, I believe.  Every song has a powerful tempo that supports the soft voices and sinewy instruments.

Let’s talk about the song “Lakehouse” for a moment.  What is it about this song?!  When Melissa told me she listened to them sound-check with this song, I was drooling with jealousy.  Best song on the album I tell you.  They invite you in with this sweet guitar melody and simple harmony…pause in the music…then BAM, the band joins in and I’m swept away.  This song soars.  Once again, the percussionist owns it.  Then Nanna joins in with the line “Can you chase the fire away” and it slays me.  Her voice.  Okay, stop reading this, and just go listen to it and I promise you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Basically, their sound is humble and honest.  They are a stellar team and they work together seamlessly.  There are so many moments in this album when I literally hush everyone in the room with me, and we just listen.  Particularly to the instrumental refrain in “Yellow Light”.  So beautiful.

Thank you Melissa!  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I have a whole new list of albums that Melissa has sent me that I cannot wait to really explore.  I’m so glad she introduced me to Dropbox.  It really gives us the opportunity to find & share new music while also becoming even closer friends.  If you haven’t used it yet, I recommend you try it.

Thanks to Melissa for having me on the blog today…hope we can do it again soon!

Guest Post: Kanriah from One Red Wall

I was lucky enough to meet Kanriah through Twitter (oh, the magic of Twitter- really!) because of Twookclub, and I’m very happy I did! She is an awesome lady & we’ve had some great internet talks over the last few months that we’ve known each other. I love that she wrote her post about one of my (many) goals, personal stories are always lots of fun to read! Don’t forget to go see what she’s up to on her blog and leave her some love in the comments :)


When I looked at Melissa’s 23 before 23 list I had to smile at number 9. It made me remember when I learned to drive a standard. Coincidently I was 22 when I learned too.

After moving with the military to Germany at 16, I wasn’t in a situation where I needed a license until I was 21. Since my first vehicle was an automatic there was no rush to learn how to drive a standard, and I was okay with this. Until Hubs (though we weren’t married then) went and screwed it all up by getting a truck with a standard transmission.

I did pretty well for a while letting him drive the truck while I drove the van, but it was clear that I’d need to learn at some point. Since he was my only option, Hubs set about teaching me. He’s not known the kind of person you want teaching you anything you won’t pick up on the first try, so this was going to be fun.

The town we lived in at the time was very hilly, so I’d often find myself getting off to a good or bad start depending on whether I was facing uphill or downhill. On one memorable occasion I bounced a full truckload of drywall out of the back of the truck. I’m talking Full Load, not just a few pieces. That stuff is heavy. Luckily it landed flat and it didn’t all break. Another favorite was the time I got stuck at a light going uphill. The traffic behind me stretched the length of the block and around into the heavy 3 lane road at the next intersection. A police officer had to come and stop the traffic at the light so I could get through before the light changed.

I was winning the driver of the year contest. For Reals, yo.
So we took a break from the teaching of the standard for a while.

Then the best thing happened.
Hubs had to go work on Long Island. I wanted to get out of our little town and Hubs was allowed to take me, so off we went. On the way there he had me drive, but on the interstate there isn’t much shifting needed. Then we made it to NYC. He wasn’t able to drive, so I had to.

Imagine with me:
I’m 8 months pregnant and my stomach is Huge. I’m driving a full sized chevy loaded with tools. It’s the middle of the day with traffic everywhere. We had made a wrong turn and were going through Manhattan and trying to find our way. And here I am, making the truck shake and usually die at Every Single Light.

Some people laughed at me, others probably had less kind things to say.

But we made it. All the way to the hotel we’d be staying at. My sister had been following us in my van since she worked with Hubs, so I was able to use my nice, safe, easy automatic minivan while they were at work. But I knew I’d be stuck driving back home.

Luckily it was easier to follow the signs on the way home and I didn’t have to make the detour with all of the lights and traffic. The rest of the way home was more of the same shuddering engine and trying not to kill the truck.

I was at the last toll booth a couple hours from home when Hubs made a comment that made me want to shoot him.

He told me I could hold the clutch down in stop and go traffic, that I didn’t have to let it go completely every time.


Really now. The whole time he had been teaching me he was telling me I had to let it go. He never once thought to mention that I could let up and not Release the damn thing. I had driven from West Virginia to Long Island and back. I was almost home, and he finally shared that information with me.

That was the missing piece of information for me. As soon as he said it I no longer had a problem driving a standard. Even up a hill.

Hopefully Melissa has a better teacher and an easier time learning to drive a standard this year.

Just remember: you can ease up on the clutch without letting go if you’re not going very fast. If your teacher doesn’t tell you that it’ll make for a very shaken up Melissa. Good luck!

Guest Blog: Liz from Dance to the Radio

I think today’s guest blogger is the only lady that I personally asked to write something for me because I think she’s THAT awesome (and I really wanted her to share her musical tastes with you all). Liz not only has one of my current favorite Etsy shops, but we have very similar taste in music, which is always a sealed deal of approval in the blogger world for me! It’s no surprise that I love what she wrote & shared for my blog today, happy reading- and listening!


Hello to all of Melissa’s followers! I’m Liz and I blog over at Dance
to the Radio
. One of the reasons I love reading Melissa’s blog so much
is because of our very similar taste in music. So I thought that while
Melissa is off enjoying some sunshine, I would post a spring time mix
to go with some spring fashion inspiration.  Although spring is still
a few weeks away, I am already counting down the days until I can move
my sundresses to the front of my closet.


Bright colors and pattern mixing are perfect for the upcoming season.
This color combination is perfection!

And now for a mix…

01. Coney Island – Good Old War
02. Emmylou – First Aid Kit
03. Mean to Me – Ben Kweller
04. Slight Figure of Speech – The Avett Brothers
05. Sandra Partial – Anthony Raneri
06. Generator (Second Floor) – Freelance Whales
07. Vegetable Car – Joshua Radin
08. Blue Skies Again – Jessica Lea Mayfield
09. Don’t Say Oh Well – Grouplove
10. We Don’t Need Our Heads – A Great Big Pile of Leaves

{Listen on Spotify:}