A Music Lover’s Guide To Macon
Macon Music Tour, Macon, Georgia, US
Sep 17, 2023
By Dom Gourlay
Photography by TK Public Relations
Macon, Georgia is a southern city that has always boasted a rich cultural history. Renowned for being the hometown of rock and roll legends, it possesses a unique charm that fosters creativity and adventure. In addition, throughout the city there are architectural gems that will leave newcomers in awe as well as a prominent music scene brimming with the rarest of talent. The downtown district was recently revived and has more than 50 restaurants, 30 bars and live music venues. After spending nearly a week exploring all of what Macon has to offer, here is our tailored guide for music lovers.
Have a hearty breakfast at the historic H&H
This soul food staple was founded by two Black women, Inez Hill and Louise Hudson, in 1959. H&H, which is about an hour and a half outside Atlanta, is known for both its tasty cuisine as well as its storied friendship with the Allman Brothers Band. In addition, it was only one of the few places in Macon to be desegregated during the Civil Rights Movement. The pair’s support of the musicians landed Hudson a spot on their tour in 1972. Hill passed away in 2007-shortly after the one and only Oprah Winfrey paid a visit to the restaurant-and Hudson died just last year. However, their memory lives on in the establishment’s atmosphere and the gorgeous mural depicting Hill, Hudson and the Allman Brothers Band on the side of the building.
Mural at H&H
Learn all about The Allman Brothers with a tour of The Big House Museum
Even the biggest Allman Brothers Band fan will be amazed at the vastness of The Big House, which was the home of the group and their families from 1970-1973. The museum is well-preserved and in pristine condition, covered top to bottom with Allman Brothers regalia ranging from instruments, clothing, tour posters, letters, records and anything else you could possibly imagine. The Big House’s Executive Director, Richard Brent, is a walking encyclopedia of musical knowledge and has curated an extremely detailed and intriguing collection that tells the story of the band from its inception. Visitors can walk through the members’ bedrooms, which mostly contain original items from the 1970s, and hear recordings of the group’s interviews.
Book a recording session at Capricorn Studios
Capricorn Studios was created by Capricorn Records and built in 1969. Though the label held an impressive array of talent, various artists recorded here including the Allman Brothers Band, Percy Sledge, the Marshall Tucker Band and Dexter and Otis Redding III. The space was closed for four decades, but reopened in 2019 as Mercer Music at Capricorn. Now, it features two full recording studios, sound booths, and rehearsal rooms. With museum director Bob Konrad and chief engineer Rob Evans at the helm of operations, musicians are guaranteed to create some of their best work here. An additional 1,200 square foot museum displays the plethora of Macon’s heritage with an impressive mural, interactive listening kiosks and a well-rounded exhibit of music artifacts.
Interior of Capricorn Studios
Rest at Hotel Forty Five
This boutique Tribute Portfolio Hotel is located in downtown Macon and features two event venues as well as the restaurant Loom, Hightales Rooftop Bar and Reckon Coffee & Wine Bar. Situated across the newly designed Rosa Parks Square, Hotel Forty Five celebrated its one-year anniversary in February. Rooms are sophisticated and sleek, with deluxe beeding, well-equipped workstations and artisan pantries. It’s also a breeze to commute to popular attractions such as the Macon City Auditorium and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. Dovetail and The Rookery, beloved restaurants known for delightful culinary cuisine, are a short walk away as are other delicious eateries.
Visit the childhood home of Little Richard
The late architect of Rock and Roll was always a proud Macon native. Little Richard’s childhood home, aptly titled The Little Richard House, remains intact and welcomes visitors year-round. Despite moving one-mile from 5th Avenue to Craft Avenue in 2017, the restored 800 square foot structure still serves as a museum dedicated to the icon. It contains a photo gallery charting the singer’s career over the years, legendary performance clips as well as a reel of Little Richard’s television appearances. The Pleasant Hill landmark also provides community services and hosts an annual festival celebrating the performer’s life. Administrator Robert Banks is regularly onsite to share his expertise about all things Little Richard.
Catch a show at Grant’s Lounge
This historic venue has been a Macon music staple for half a century. Even though Grant’s Lounge is recognized as the backdrop for memorable performances from the likes of Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers and others, it welcomes artists from all genres which includes R&B, country and bluegrass. In 2020, Ed and Cheryl Grant partnered with Moonhanger Group (owner of H&H Restaurant, The Rookery, Dovetail and other businesses) to oversee the daily operations of Grant’s Lounge. Upon entry, visitors will notice a quaint charm that the venue has become famous for that manages to feel like a home away from home for traveling musicians. It will also be the setting for season two of the Macon Music Revue featuring Charles Davis & The Velvet Sound.
Pay respect to the one and only Otis Redding
Though the life of Otis Redding was tragically cut short by a plane crash in 1967, his contributions to music have remained prominent for decades. Redding, who moved to Macon with his family when he was just five years old, is honored throughout the city with The Otis Redding Foundation being at the epicenter of his legacy. Founded in 2007 by Redding’s wife, Zelma, the foundation engages youth in music education through a variety of programming. Music lovers can stop by the Otis Redding Museum, located in downtown Macon, to explore the artist’s life in depth. Visitors can observe personal keepsakes from Mrs. Redding that are exclusive to the museum.