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Superb story about a truly underappreciated blues guitar legend. Glad you were able to get a few photos of these rarely seen but historically significant locations. Thinking of MJH walking into these places after or before playing one of his acoustic guitars is to be transported to a place and time in the isolation of the woods of Mississippi when blues guitar magic humbly happened and disappeared into the ether, heard only by MJH and anyone who was fortunate to be around to hear. Anyone who hasn't listened to MHJ's recordings really should so they can enjoy his gentle yet intricate playing combined with his sweet voice and often mischievous lyrics. A true natural genius.

On Practicing Guitar

Your take on John Hurt is right on, and you describe it beautifully. It stirs the imagination. Everyone should take a listen to his music if they haven't already. For now, I can't add anything else. But I will certainly return to John's life and music in the future here. Thanks for writing.


Thank you for sharing your experience! I recommend Phillip Ratcliffe's terrific recent biography of MJH. http://www.upress.state.ms.us/books/1379

I visited the house a couple of years ago and picked on the porch for a bit: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AlDg6Y1hlp0

The house was riginally located near the Valley Store until MJH's granddaughter moved it to the current location on her land. Mr. Bailey also took me to the grave site as well, which is a lovely, peaceful spot.

On Practicing Guitar

Thanks, Brian! I will definitely look for that bio. It looks like an academic publisher - I think I read a great book on Earl Hooker out of U of Miss Press. I will take a look at your video. We were there for too short of a time. I wanted to visit the grave and the church as well. It was in the middle of summer - end of July early August and about 95 degrees. I really want to return. It's nice to meet a big time John Hurt fan! Thanks again,

William Metts

Your story remarkably resembles my own. My brother and I were driving to Clarksdale and when I saw the small white sign marked "Avalon" There was no way that I couldn't let the opportunity get away. Floyd was great! For me the experience was almost spiritual. The man's character was so woven into his style that it seemed that to hear him perform was to know him. He has been a musical influence for almost 50 years now. Don't tell anyone but my brother got off a couple of snapshots of me playing my guitar in the museum. "Staggerlee" I believe it was. Prized possessions they are.

On Practicing Guitar

Thank you so much, William for your comment. I was a little taken aback by the 'no pictures' policy. I really didn't understand it. It would seem that the trove of John Hurt memorabilia, personal effects etc would be a great starting point for scholars or just fans who might be interested in promoting or discovering this great artist. I hope to get back there one day. I didn't bring my acoustic guitar (brought my electric to Memphis and jammed at the Rum Boogie) but it's great that you got to play some at John's house/museum. Thanks again for stopping by. -Chris

Fred Kingdom

Can anyone tell me how I can contact the curator of the MJH museum to arrange a visit?

On Practicing Guitar

Sorry for the late reply. I looked online at the museum's website and didn't see much info, as you must have, as well. I suggest contacting the Shack Up Inn, which is located in Clarksdale. That's how I got the info that led me to the caretaker, Floyd. Believe me, it was just a piece of paper stuck up on the wall, probably hand-written with the phone number and basic info. I only saw it by chance. OK, maybe it was printed and on a bulletin board I don't remember it that way. There are many fans that make the pilgrimage and you've probably found your way by now. Let me know how it goes.

Phillip R Brown

Went to the
Miss John Hirt Homecoming in 2018 . Love the music!Only 6 performers.Anout 25 people in crowd. I talked to her s daughter. At his house. I autographed the living room wall, as hundreds are f other fans have. Saw it he valley store. Glad I went.

On Practicing Guitar

Thanks for writing Phillip! I would love to go back there. -Chris


We tried to visit Avalon recently... March 5, 2022. When you turn off Highway 7 you are greeted immediately with a half-open fence across the road and a Private Property, Keep Out sign. There where two other cars that turned and left as we arrived. Anyone know if Avalon is now unvisitable without a local guide? Quite disappointing!

On Practicing Guitar

Sorry to hear that, Steve! The only information that I could find at the time was on a bulletin board at the Shack Up Inn right outside Clarksdale. I would try giving them a call if I was down there and couldn't find any other info. -Chris


Not sure if Steve (above) will see this but I think he turned the wrong way off Highway 7. The MJH marker in the first photo is west of Hwy 7 near a gated private road but his actual grave and the rest of Avalon is to the east off of Country Road 41. We were there in Oct. 2021 and all the roads were open...missed the museum, though!

Thanks for the great Blues posts, btw!

On Practicing Guitar

Thanks for writing, Blaine! It's amazing how you can miss some of these important John Hurt landmarks and they're all within a few miles of each other. We saw the museum and the grocery store, but missed the cemetery. I don't know if I would have even been able to find those without the help of Floyd. And we found his number at the Shack Up Inn. So, things can be a little iffy. I think many MJH Pilgrims return again and again, and that's how they know the way. Either way, you definitely need to prepare with whatever maps, contacts, or otherwise that you can find. Thanks for the kind words on my blues posts! I'm glad that people are enjoying and hopefully benefiting from them! -Chris

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