KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Music and Tennessee go together like peanut butter and jelly, in fact, more songs are written, recorded and played live in Tennessee than anywhere else in the world according to TN Vacation.
To help people learn more about music in the state, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Armchair Productions have joined together to create a six-episode podcast.
The “Tennessee Music Pathway” podcast will take listeners on a road trip from “Bristol and the birth of country music to Memphis and the start of rock n’ roll,” according to the TN Department of Tourist Development. Over the six episodes, host Aaron Millar will share unique musical stories, performances and interviews with musicians, and history from across the state.
From bluegrass played fast as lightning to traditional Appalachian music performed live in the Great Smoky Mountains, producers hope to highlight each region’s distinct musical heritage. Listeners will be able to follow along as Millar shops in Elvis’ favorite store, bangs drums in the studio that made Uptown Funk, learn to play the spoons and drinks whiskey in a distillery housed in a more than 100-year-old former prison.
“This is the story of America,” said Aaron Millar, presenter of the Tennessee Music Pathways podcast. “From its roots in traditional fiddle music brought over by immigrants to the New World and enslaved individuals stolen in Africa to the spark of rock n’ roll and soul that started here, united a nation, and spread across the world, Tennessee is the soundtrack to the evolution of America itself.”
The first episode covers the birth of country music. Millar takes listeners to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s hometown Sevierville, The Down Home in Johnson City and Boogertown Gap’s home in the Great Smoky Mountains. It aired on Aug. 24. To listen to it click here.
There are also separate behind-the-scenes live session episodes. These will include songwriter Ed Snodderly in his iconic venue The Down Home in Johnson City, Chattanooga blues player Rick Rushing and The Boogertown Gap band playing traditional old-time Appalachian music.
“There’s a lot of people here with a lot of poetry in their hearts and souls. It comes from this sense of place, a strong sense of place, and a lot of people feel it,” said Ed Snodderly, songwriter and owner of The Down Home in Johnson City.
New episodes will debut every other week on Mondays. They are available on streaming platforms including Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Podcasts.
The Birth of Country Music (Bristol, Johnson City and the Smokies)
Episode 1 (airs Aug. 24, 2022)
- Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol
- Dollywood in Pigeon Forge
- Historic Downtown Sevierville (Dolly Parton’s Hometown)
- The Down Home in Johnson City
- Boogertown Gap’s home in the Great Smoky Mountains
Bluegrass and Beyond (Knoxville and Granville)
Episode 2 (airs Sept. 5, 2022)
- WDVX in Knoxville
- Cradle of Country Music Walking Tour in Knoxville
- Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville
- East Tennessee History Center
- Sutton Ole Time Music Hour in Granville
The Blues and the Big Nine (Chattanooga, Nashville, Jackson and Brownsville)
Episode 3 (airs Sept. 19, 2022)
- Cabin of Sleepy John Estes, Tina Turner Museum at West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville
- Grave of Sonny Boy Williamson in Jackson
- Tennessee Legends of Music Museum at the Carnegie at the Carnegie in Jackson
- Sidewalk Stages SoundCorps in Chattanooga
- Songbirds Guitar & Pop Culture Museum in Chattanooga
- Tennessee Music Pathways’ Interactive Tour in Chattanooga
- National Museum of African American Music in Nashville
The Country Music Capital of the World (Nashville)
Episode 4 (airs Oct. 3, 2022)
- Ryman Auditorium
- Broadway Historic District: Honky Tonk Highway
- Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
- Country Music Association (CMA)
- 3rd & Lindsey
Funk, Soul and the Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll (Memphis)
Episode 5 (airs Oct. 17, 2022)
- Royal Studios
- Stax Museum of American Soul Music (Stax Records)
- Sun Studio
- Lanksy’s Bros.
- Beale Street Historic District
Exploring the Tennessee Whiskey Trail
Episode 6 (airs Oct. 31, 2022)
- Old Dominick Distillery in Memphis
- Company Distilling in Thompson’s Station
- End of the Line Distillery at Historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary
- Gate 11 Distillery in Chattanooga
- Post-Modern Spirits in Knoxville
- Lost State Distillery in Bristol
The state has also created an interactive guide to allow people to explore the state through music online at tnmusicpathways.com. For the guide, people can choose to explore by pathway, type or location.