COVID-19 Travel Info: Learn More

Criteria for location submission on the Tennessee Music Pathway

Tennessee Tourism Vision: To be the global music destination of choice; an authentic American experience rooted in Blues, Bluegrass, Country, Gospel, Rockabilly, Rock and Roll and Soul at the crossroads of American history and renowned scenic beauty

Status: Phase 1 funding of the TMP has been approved by Governor Haslam and the Tennessee State Legislature.

By working with the state historian and through internal research at the Department of Tourist Development, more than 600 possible locations for markers, including birthplaces, resting places, hometowns, high schools and churches, locations of first-known recordings or performances, etc., of the musical pioneers and legends have been identified. We at the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development are not of the belief this is an all-inclusive list.

We in the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development ask you submit musical assets in your counties/communities that potentially could qualify for marker placement and inclusion on the TMP.

While there is a physical Tennessee Music Pathway, partners do not have to be ON the TMP to be a PART of the TMP.

Our goal is to preserve and promote stories and locations in all 95 Tennessee counties.

All submissions will be evaluated based on impact of music in the town, county, region, state and the world and a determination on inclusion on the TMP will be made by a panel of tourism and music partners.

Although more than 600 potential locations have been identified, do not assume all assets in your community or county have been identified. Please read the following criteria and send us your list and any necessary documentation, including whether location is on private or publicly accessible property.

Criteria:

  1. Birthplace or hometowns of a musical pioneer or legend: Artists with gold or platinum records, Hall of Famers, written or performed songs on the Billboard 100
    • Artists with gold or platinum records, Hall of Famers, written or performed songs on the Billboard 100
      • Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Carl Perkins, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, etc.
    • Lesser-known artist who may not have achieved these levels but who influenced others who did (with documentation, quotes from the artist, etc.)
      • “During this era, Morrison actually shows up posing in a photograph displaying a King Pleasure album against his chest.” From ‘The Words and Music of Van Morrison regarding the influence on Morrison of jazz vocalese expert King Pleasure, born in Morgan County, Tennessee --
      • DeFord Bailey, Smith County, Tennessee., first African-American artist to perform on the Grand Ole Opry.
    • Influential artists, session musicians, song writers, critical to the development and careers of legendary performers to the point of becoming stars themselves.
      • Scotty Moore, Gadsden, Tennessee, Grady Martin, Lewisburg, Tennessee.
    • The first to perform or break ground in a new genre, era, etc. Producers who recorded the music or DJs who played it are eligible as well as radio or TV stations who blazed a trail or made inroads in promoting music
      • WOPI, WSM, WDIA, WHBQ, WROL, WNOX, etc.
  2. Resting place of a musical pioneer or legend or lesser-known artist who may not have achieved these levels but who influenced others who did (with documentation, quotes from the artist, etc.)
    • See above for definition
  3. Location of hotel, club, etc., either currently standing or no longer in existence, where pioneers, legends or lesser-known yet influential artist, producer, promoter, songwriter, etc., performed, stayed (with confirmation documentation), etc.
    • El Rancho Club, Jackson, Tennessee.; New Era Club, Nashville; Tootsie’s Nashville; Colored Hotel, Union City, Tennessee, Down Home, Johnson City, Tennessee; War Memorial, Nashville; Ellis Auditorium, Memphis; etc.
  4. Location of recording studios either currently standing or no longer in existence, where pioneers, legends or lesser-known yet influential artist, producer, promoter, songwriter, etc., performed (with confirmation documentation), etc.
    • Studios A and B, McGavock Pike, Woodland Studios, Nashville; Sun, Stax, American, Memphis, etc.
  5. Location of record labels either currently standing or no longer in existence, where pioneers, legends or lesser-known yet influential artist, producer, promoter, songwriter, etc., performed (with confirmation documentation), etc.
    • Excello, Dot, Rich-R-Tone, etc.
  6. Location that inspired a song or where a hit song was written or possibly mentioned in a hit song.
    • Vine Street Drag, Knoxville, Tennessee
  7. Location where meetings between pioneers, legends, lesser-known yet influential artists took place, or were a player in an impactful part of the story of these individuals:
    • Katz Drugstore, Lamar Avenue, Memphis (Where Johnny Cash first saw Elvis perform); Blaine, Tennessee, crossroads Lee Highway, (Where Charles Carr, driver for Hank Williams was pulled over and ticketed for speeding the night Williams passed away).
  8. Any additional element not addressed here that is considered impactful, influential and important in telling the story of “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.”

NOTE: Music festivals, big to small; CMA Fest, Bonnaroo, Rhythm n’ Roots, Uncle Dave Macon Days, etc. are not listed here and would not necessarily be eligible for markers per se’ but would be included in online and printed promotional material.