Many towns in Tennessee have a musical story to tell. Nashville and Memphis are internationally-known meccas for music. Music continues outside the cities, there are incredible music destination which are woefully unrecognized. Now more than ever, it is time to appreciate these small towns. Zoom and FaceTime were virtual stand-ins but no comparison to the real thing, the in-person interactions, the friendly faces, the allure of the hills of Tennessee’s small towns.
Live From the World-Famous Corner Stage
One hour east of Nashville, in a quaint little town called Granville, on the banks of the Cumberland River is a place that’s home to Tennessee’s #1 live bluegrass radio show. The syndicated Sutton Ole Time Music Hour is broadcast every Saturday night from the award-winning historic TB Sutton General Store. Stepping inside the 1880s country store is a step back in time. Visitors recognize the uniqueness of this place by the vintage signs, coke served in little glass bottles, the creaking wood floors, and one-of-a kind locally made items. The attached feed room serves as a dining room for this dinner show offering up platters of fried chicken served family style.
Folding chairs placed in front of the “world famous corner stage” serve as seating for the audience. A different band performs each Saturday night. When the group begins to play the mandolin, accompanied by the upright bass, fiddle, and banjo; it is evident that the audience is in for a treat. Talented musicians stand on the small stage around one mic, swapping solos, clapping, stomping feet, and having a good time; this is the real thing. Although it’s a live radio show, it feels like something from a bygone era. It evokes memories of people sitting under the shade of a tree picking, singing, laughing, and enjoying life.
We Start ‘em Young
To provide a venue for young people interested in bluegrass, a program called Bluegrass for Kids was implemented by local bluegrass promoter, Chris Neeley. Sutton Bluegrass for Kids offers live performance opportunities for talented young soloists and vocalists. Prior to the Sutton Ole Time Music Hour syndicated radio show, Kids ages 7-17 who are bluegrass performers will have the opportunity to play on stage with profession artists. This youth program is implemented February through April, 2022. All youth who participate will be invited to perform at the Uncle Jimmy Thompson Bluegrass Festival in May. For more information contact Jimmy Bilbrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Music Echoes Through These Hills Throughout the Year
Historic Granville, Tennessee’s Mayberry Town, is proud of the town’s rich diverse musical history which dates back to the Native Americans who spoke of the “singing river”. Perhaps this little-known hamlet, is best known for the fun and successful festivals thought-out the year. Musical diversity is represented at these festivals. Additional information on festivals is available at www.granvilletn.com
April 9- Mayberry/I Love Lucy Day features the One Way Out Bluegrass Band performing as the Darlings and the Mayberry Melodies Band who bring to the stage all the songs from America's favorite TV show, The Andy Griffith Show.
May 7- The Def Leprechaun Band will perform at the Cornbread and Moonshine Festival. This is an audience participation band who mixes Irish and English standards with Americana and country music.
May 28- Heritage Day hosts the Uncle Jimmy Thompson Bluegrass Festival. Jesse Donald “Uncle Jimmy” Thompson an “old time” fiddle player and singer-songwriter was born in the Granville community in 1848. He is best remembered as the first performer to play on the Grand Ole Opry (then the WSM Barn Dance) on the evening of November 28, 1925. Various bluegrass bands perform during the day with the highlight of the day being a Fiddle Contest. The Grand Champion Winner is invited to perform center stage at the Home of Bluegrass, the Ryman Auditorium.
October 1- Jazz on the Cumberland, features jazz groups performing throughout the day for the Fall Festival.
December 10- A Christmas Concert of holiday and gospel music is a part of Granville's Country Christmas. Ken Underwood performs a group of Elvis songs.
Wildwood Marina and Resort
Two minutes from Historic Granville is a hidden gem on the Cordell Hull Lake, Wildwood Resort and Marina. Wildwood is known for live music and great entertainment. Every weekend visitors can hear a variety of music styles. There’s also a summer concert series that happens on the second Saturday of each month where some of Nashville’s finest singer-songwriters share their stories in a listening room concert experience.
This Small Town is NO Fading Rose
The music in Granville, Tennessee is undeniably something to “brag about”. However, it is the kindness and humility of the area on which visitors often comment. Small rural music venues are “fading away” but one does exist in Granville, Tennessee. If in doubt, visit Granville and hear for yourself.
Come Stay a While
Granville is music and so much more, put us on your bucket list. Plan a vacation and stay awhile, the area is rich in nature beauty, waterfalls, hiking, boating, fishing, hunting, lakes, hills, history, museums, country stores, state parks, accommodations, food, and shopping. It may be as much about what we don’t have as what we have; no long lines, no traffic jams, no skyscrapers, and an absence of demands.
If you wish, you can relax and unplug; step back in time and find a slower pace, be a part of a simpler life. Contact us: Historic Granville Facebook page, website www.granvilletn.com or call 931-653-4151.
Open Wednesday-Friday 11AM-3PM and Saturday 11AM-5PM