Note: The attractions in this story are currently closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Check with your Virtuoso travel advisor or the websites below for updates on openings and closures.
In 1927, Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, and other now-legendary artists made a series of recordings at a makeshift studio in Bristol, Tennessee. That seminal moment would become, in Johnny Cash’s words, “the single most important event in the history of country music.” Ken Burns’ latest PBS documentary, Country Music, follows the genre’s legacy from its Bristol birthplace to Memphis, Nashville, and beyond. Now fans can visit landmarks featured in the documentary while traveling the Ken Burns Country Music Pathway, a newly launched Tennessee Music Pathways route.
Here are a few not-to-be-missed stops:
1. Loretta Lynn’s Ranch
This campground and entertainment complex sits on more than 3,000 acres in Hurricane Mills, where the Coal Miner’s Daughter has lived since the 1960s (she now owns the entire town).
2. The Bluebird Café
Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift are just two of the many songwriters who found their voice at this tiny, in-the-round Nashville venue.
3. Johnny Cash Museum
The Man in Black’s namesake museum houses the world’s largest collection of Cash artifacts.
4. Birthplace of Country Music Museum
Listen to rare recordings, catch live performances, and see iconic instruments (think Jimmie Rodgers’ Martin guitar) at this interactive museum, which tells the story of the Bristol Sessions (the “big bang of country music”).
Top Photo: Downtown Nashville (Denis Tangney Jr./Getty Images)