Memphis, West TN Writer

Samantha Crespo


I’m Samantha Crespo, and I am Floridian by birth, Tennessean by heart. Growing up, I vacationed in East Tennessee, so I committed forested hikes and hidden waterfalls to memory. My Southern-bred mama biased my palate toward black-eyed peas and cornbread at an early age. And, the music! I always did have an ear for Dolly.

I’m lucky enough to live in my dream state now; 2012 marks the beginning of my third year in Memphis. Some of my favorite things about my Tennessee hometown are kicking around its galleries and gardens, traveling to outlying farms (pick-your-own peaches, in particular), discovering the region’s wilds and waters on my family’s RV and boat, and listening to live music in my neighborhood. Through my blog about West Tennessee, you get to come with me. Are you ready for a West Tennessee adventure?

Describe your perfect Tennessee day.

It starts slow, over the latest Southern Living and a mocha from Otherlands Coffee Bar in Memphis’ Cooper-Young District. It’s warm (my perfect day, remember?), so I pile peaches and tomatoes into a basket at the area farmers market, then join my family at Dixon Gallery and Gardens for a stroll abloom and some family studio time. Later, we walk from our home to historic Overton Park and its Old Forest Trail, where we laugh as we turn fallen trees into balance beams. By nightfall, I’m relishing the farm-to-table goodness of Trolley Stop Market before hitting my neighborhood dive, the Hi-Tone Cafe, to rock along to my favorite Memphis band, Lucero.

Where’s the first place you’d take a friend visiting Tennessee?

Sun Studio, where the tour guides are devoted to the music (and often have the hair to prove it). I love witnessing the aha on friends’ faces when the guides tell their tales, like the one forever connecting the studio and Ike Turner to the “invention” of guitar distortion. Even better, I like watching friends react when they find themselves in Sun’s shoebox of a recording room, sagging ceiling above, knicked-up floor below, and betting who’ll be first to start jittering when the guide cues “That’s All Right.” The tour literally lays a beat down that sticks with you the rest of your time in Memphis, and long after you’ve returned home.

If you could meet one historical Tennessean, who would it be and why? (This can be someone still living.)

There’s a part of me that craves sitting on a garden bench with Rachel Jackson (Andrew Jackson’s beloved), to hear her side of that legendary love story. But, in all honesty, I’d just about explode if Dolly Parton invited me over for a tour of her wardrobe and a sing-along. Seriously, Dolly, if you’re reading this, I’ve loved you since I was a little girl. Let’s get together!

Stories By Samantha

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The Ghost

Paddle the Wolf for a Howlin’ Good Time

Contemplate “Memphis” and “river,” and your thoughts may naturally flow to the Mississippi. But let’s consider the Wolf. (It also flows to the Mississippi, and...Read on

Black-eyed pea tortellini from Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. Photo by Ed Anderson.

Memphis is My Tastiest Town: An Interview with Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman

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Smoke on the water: Memphis in May's World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest pairs the best barbecue with the best river views in the city. Photo by Marvin Garcia. Copyright © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Next up at Memphis in May: World-class Barbecue

Rodney Ashley is a Memphis native. “Anytime you’re anywhere close to downtown the third week of May, the wind’s already carried the aroma of barbecue...Read on

Photo courtesy of Crown Winery.

Humboldt Hosts Strawberry Festival, Wine Down Fridays

Tennessee’s natural, cultural and culinary one-offs magnetize visitors from around the world. Then they get here, and find a pyramid in Memphis, a Parthenon in...Read on

Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Memphis, TN

Happy Stax Museum Day!

This has been a BIG week for Memphis’ Stax Museum of American Soul Music. It began Sunday with a rain-delayed Stax to the Max. I...Read on

Stax to the Max is free to attend...just bring some cash for drinks and snacks, a lawn chair and your music will sound from two stages throughout the day this Saturday, April 27. Photo courtesy of Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

Track Stax from the White House to Soulsville, USA

Yes! Memphis is in the house! Did you hear Michelle Obama say those words on April 9? If not, stream the Memphis Soul Workshop she...Read on

If you thought the lobby was legendary, try the roof. Photo courtesy of The Peabody Memphis.


You know the bit about the Mississippi Delta beginning in the lobby of The Peabody Memphis. And many agree that the view from the lobby...Read on