Experience Knoxville, the "Cradle of Country Music", in a new way on a walking tour that looks at the city’s deep and dynamic heritage in the development of American country music.
Discover new stories about the talented musicians and songwriters who were born here or used the city as a springboard to fame, in Nashville and beyond. Some just came to play, while others left their mark in memorable ways. We’ll meet the truly famous, like Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, and Elvis Presley, but also the more obscure performers and songwriters such as Charlie Oaks and Arthur Q. Smith.
Along the way, I’ll show you the spots where:
• The little-known teenage singer Dolly Parton “fell in love with her audience”
• Hank Williams spent his final evening
• The RCA discovered a regional phenomenon known as Elvis Presley
• Arthur Q. Smith sold songs to pay for his bar bill
• The brand-new bluegrass duo Flatt & Scruggs recorded their first records
I’ll weave in interesting facts and tales from Knoxville’s history and culture along the way, too.
Whether you’re a visitor or a resident curious about local history, which often connects to national history, this tour is the perfect primer to Knoxville’s Country Music roots. Jack Neely, a longtime newspaper journalist and author of more than 10 books on Knoxville’s lesser-known history is your guide on this hour-long walk.
Downtown Knoxville is a bustling place filled with coffee shops, restaurants and bars along the route, so feel free to enjoy our stories of Country Music at your own pace. You’ll never think of Knoxville the same way again.