Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
If Knoxville is not world-famous for music, the city has witnessed and nurtured so much musical ferment that it’s been called the Cradle of Country Music. The buildings where Flatt & Scruggs first recorded, and where the Everly Brothers first broadcast, are still central to downtown Knoxville. The theater that hosted Roy Acuff’s first live show in 1932 is the same room where, 65 years later, Chet Atkins gave his final concert. And all that’s just a couple of blocks away from the hotel where Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff stayed after the last concert of his career–and where Hank Williams spent the final hours of his life. Downtown Knoxville’s country and classical traditions interacted with jazz and blues, too, through unique performers, like the string-jazz anomalies the Tennessee Chocolate Drops, who made their first recordings in downtown Knoxville in a legendary Columbia-Vocalion project of 1929-30. Known as the Knoxville Sessions, those recordings are soon to be released as part of an international effort.
An easy two-hour walking tour will tell the full story of downtown Knoxville’s place in music history. Join Jack Neely on a stroll through the city and hear what gave Knoxville it’s name as the Cradle of Country Music.
Tours will begin at Boyd’s Jig & Reel at 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tours will last approximately 90 minutes and will finish back on the festival footprint beside Boyd’s. Space on the tours is limited so please show up to Boyd’s before 2pm to ensure a spot.