The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Armchair Productions teamed up to launch a six-episode podcast series titled “Tennessee Music Pathways.” Available to listeners starting today, presenter and award-winning journalist Aaron Millar traveled across the state to capture unique musical stories, performances and interviews with musicians, historians and fans, highlighting each distinct region’s musical heritage.
Produced in a documentary style, the series takes listeners on a more than 1,000-mile road trip, from Bristol and the birth of country music to Memphis and the start of rock n’ roll. Along the way, listeners will hear bluegrass played fast as lightning and traditional Appalachian music performed live in the Great Smoky Mountains. Follow along as Millar shops in Elvis’ favorite clothing store, bangs drums in the studio that made Uptown Funk, learns to play the spoons and drinks whiskey in a distillery housed in a more than 100-year-old former prison.
The podcast also includes separate behind-the-scenes live session episodes, including 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 just as it would have been heard more than a century ago.
“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.”
“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, Country Music Hall of Fame songwriter and owner of The Down Home in Johnson City.
New episodes will debut bi-weekly on Mondays, available on streaming platforms including Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and more.
Episode 1 (airs Aug. 22, 2022) – The Birth of Country Music (Bristol, Johnson City and the Smokies)
-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
Episode 2 (airs Sept. 5, 2022) – Bluegrass and Beyond (Knoxville and Granville)
-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
Episode 3 (airs Sept. 19, 2022) – The Blues and the Big Nine (Chattanooga, Nashville, Jackson and Brownsville)
-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
Episode 4 (airs Oct. 3, 2022) – The Country Music Capital of the World (Nashville)
-Broadway Historic District: Honky Tonk Highway
-Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
- Country Music Association (CMA)
-3rd & Lindsey
Episode 5 (airs Oct. 17, 2022) – Funk, Soul and the Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll (Memphis)
-Stax Museum of American Soul Music (Stax Records)
-Beale Street Historic District
Episode 6 (airs Oct. 31, 2022) – Exploring the Tennessee Whiskey Trail
-Featuring 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 and Lost State Distillery in Bristol
The Tennessee Music Pathways stretches across all 95 counties and connects visitors to musical points of interest though an online travel-planning experience. Hundreds of landmarks and attractions are featured from across seven music genres - – that call Tennessee home. More than 500 possible locations for markers have been identified including birthplaces, resting places, hometowns, high schools, churches and locations of first-known recordings or performances of the pioneers and legends influenced and shaped by Tennessee.
Visitors can curate their own paths based on music interests through an interactive guide at www.tnmusicpathways.com. Follow the conversation on social using or searching hashtag #tnmusicpathways.
Mary Katelyn Price
ABOUT TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TOURIST DEVELOPMENT
Tennessee is the home of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll— delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” Explore more at tnvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers by following “TNVacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, and “Tennessee” on Snapchat.
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ABOUT AARON MILLAR
Aaron Millar is an award-winning travel writer, broadcaster and presenter. He contributes regularly to The Times of London, National Geographic Traveller (UK), and many other international publications. He has presented travel documentaries for National Geographic TV, hosts the award-winning Armchair Explorer podcast, and is the 2014 and 2017 British Guild of Travel Writer of the Year. Aaron is available for interviews by request through media contact Jill Kilgore.
ABOUT ARMCHAIR PRODUCTIONS
Armchair Productions are the audio experts for the travel industry. Our passion is telling captivating and inspiring stories that bring your destination to life. Each project is scripted and produced by our team of award-winning travel writers and podcast professionals. Recent accolades include a 2022 Webby Award nomination for best lifestyle podcast, and the 2021 British Guild of Travel Writers Travel Broadcaster of the Year award. Find out more at www.armchair-productions.com
*Editor’s note: Audio clips of highlight experiences, which can be embedded on websites as easy to use players, are available to enhance written articles.