Driving the Mississippi Blues Trail in a 2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Author Eric Benson Illustration Barry Bruner
American muscle cars are nearly as plentiful in the Mississippi Delta as cotton fields, but as we drove south after a night at the blues clubs on Memphis’ Beale Street, the rakish rear spoiler and chrome exhaust outlets helped this 426-horsepower coupe stand out.
Highway 61 took us down to the crossroads in Clarksdale where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his guitar skills. Passing through town in our leather Recaro bucket seats, we wondered if we’d made our own Faustian bargain for comfort.
At the old Stovall Plantation, where Muddy Waters first recorded, we turned up the 245-watt Boston Acoustics sound system and blasted “Mannish Boy,” sending Waters’ howl of “I’m a rollin’ stone” clear across the Mississippi.
Forty-two miles south of Clarksdale, we came upon Dockery Farms, the former cotton plantation where blues pioneer Charley Patton learned his trade. As we pulled onto loose gravel, the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires kept us skid-free.
Some of the Delta’s gems—including Robert Johnson’s grave, at the Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Greenwood—can be hard to find. But the Camaro’s built-in OnStar system and MyLink touchscreen made hunting down these landmarks as easy as playing a three-chord riff.
Dropping into fourth gear to accelerate is one of the pleasures of a muscle car—one that the Tremec manual transmission makes smooth and powerful. Arriving in Berclair, near
the birthplace of B.B. King, we made the Camaro’s engine growl happily along to “The Thrill Is Gone.”