The Total Tennessee Tour Wrap-Up

Read a summary of our Total Tennessee Tour which has just wrapped up

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By Rob Dickens


“How y’all doing today?!”



It’s a Monday morning in Nashville.

The weather has started to cool a little, you can feel the difference from three weeks ago when The Total Tennessee Tour kicked off.  It’s a deliberately quiet day for me, away from music (well, until tonight), traffic and schedules.

Nashville is a perfect place to reflect on The Tour because IT IS Music City and the tour was all music – our sojourn had Awards, a festival, live sets, music heritage, musically-enriched places, jams and a lot of talking with some great people who have so many stories to tell.  It’s also ideal  to write this here because this is where the Tour kicked off.



Here’s an list of what we covered on The Total Tennessee Tour:

  • three weeks
  • seven States
  • the Americana Music Festival and Conference
  • the Americana Honors and Awards Show
  • music performances from over 90 solo artists and/or groups
  • tours through Sun Studio, Graceland, Stax Studio, The Civil Rights Museum in Memphis
  • a special house Gig – ‘Memphis Mansion Music’
  • visit to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in picturesque Hurricane Mills TN
  • a stay at the legendary Shack-up Inn in Clarksdale MS
  • a behind the scenes chat with some Aussies who spend a lot of time in Clarksdale
  • watching three live radio shows from large to small – the Grand Ole Opry, Music City Roots and Galax VA WBRF
  • an informal chat with Aussie ex-pat singer/songwriter Anne McCue
  • a private tour of Ardent Studio with Jody Stephens of Big Star
  • attendance at an unforgettable church service with Bishop Al Green
  • a private catch up at Gold Ship Records in Bristol TN/VA
  • a special guided tour through The Birthplace of Country Museum in Bristol VA/TN
  • a fascinating chat session at the legendary Barr’s Fiddle Shop in Galax VA
  • Saturday dance at The Carter Family Fold in Hiltons VA
  • visited Oxford MS, Knoxville TN and ‘The Choo Choo’ at Chattanooga TN
  • watching great bluegrass jamming at the Heartwood Music Centre (Abingdon VA) and The Blue Ridge Music Centre (outside Galax VA)


Behind-The-Scenes Experiences and Sincere Thank You’s

Firstly, thanks to Janette and Len for being perfect tour members.  They made the trip extra special.

I would like to record my enormous gratitude to the following people who went out of their way to embrace us and share their worlds.  These music lovers ensured that The Tour was special and gave us experiences that no other tour would have:

  • Cayamo and Outlaw Cruise friends who welcomed us with open arms at AmericanaFest
  • Anne for gracious time over coffee
  • Bill and Kate for that special show in their beautiful home (and Elizabeth)
  • Brian for allowing us to sit in on his wonderful Off The Record live show at AmericanaFest
  • Craig for Music City Roots
  • Jody for two hours in Ardent Studio
  • Lahna and Ples for taking us into the Sun recording booth
  • Adrian and Carla for opening up their home in Clarksdale
  • Roger at the Cat Head Cultural Centre for his knowledge and enthusiasm
  • Andrew for your time talking music business from a record label perspective in Bristol
  • Charlene for taking us through The Birthplace of Country Music Museum
  • Tom and John for your precious stories and memories in Galax
  • Richard for showing us around for a special look at The Blue Ridge Music Centre in Galax
  • Rita for your warmth and generosity at The Carter Family Fold in Hiltons

And J. T. Gray for giving us the humble but magical Station Inn which coincidentally bookended The Total Tennessee Tour.



Some comments on The Total Tennessee Tour – “wonderful unique insights due to Rob’s personal connections”, “action-packed”, “the Tour over-delivered way beyond my expectations” and “fantastic”.



Photos of the Tour are being posted over time on the Listening Through The Lens Facebook and Instagram pages if you want to see what we got up to.


Where Now

I will be heading to Arrington VA to cover The Festy Experience for four days, via Richmond VA.  Watch this space for reports.


Next Year’s Tour

Planning is underway already! First details will be available on this site by the end of October.  It’d be great if you could come along.!!


Post Script

“How y’all doing today?!”

This was a common greeting to us over three weeks.  Music folk we met were without exception warm, friendly, informative and generous.

How were we doing each day??

Perfect.  Thanks to the music, the places and the people.



Read a summary of our Total Tennessee Tour which has just wrapped up



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Author: Rob Dickens

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