Total Mileage/Average drive time
232 miles, 3 hours, 37 minutes
This state has contributed heavily to American music, from county to blues, gospel to bluegrass to southern rock. It all began here in the hills and valleys of Tennessee. Travel down Interstate 40 and explore the birthplace of America's down-home music.
1. Memphis - Starting Point
Memphis is home to the blues and the birthplace of rock 'n' roll. Sun Studio is the most famous recording studio in the world, home to Roy Orbison, and the "Million Dollar Quartet," Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. This is the place where rock 'n' roll was born. Find out how Sam Phillips accidentally created the rock 'n' roll sound, and learn the history behind Sun Records. Take a tour of the famous studio and hear the contemporary artists who still make rocking music in the studio.
Next stop, the Rock 'n' Soul Museum, where you'll learn about the musical pioneers who created the rural "sharecropper" music of the 1930s and advanced the sound until it evolved into the soul music of the '60s and '70s.
And no rock 'n' roll trip to Memphis would be complete without making the legendary pilgrimage to Graceland, home of "the King of Rock 'n' Roll" Elvis Presley. Tour the most famous rock 'n' roll residence in the world and enjoy the Elvis Auto Museum and the Sincerely Elvis Museum. And be sure to take advantage of the free shuttle between Sun Studio, Graceland and the Rock n' Soul Museum.
Take the Memphis Mojo Tour, a ride through town in a 1950s bus that takes visitors to historic sites throughout the city. Musicians play live music throughout the ride.
2. Hurricane Mills - 155 miles, 2 hours, 21 minutes
Just down the road from Nashville is Hurricane Mills, site of country singer Loretta Lynn's Ranch. There are several museums on site including the 18,000-square-foot Coal Miner's Daughter Museum, the Frontier Homestead with several original log cabins, the haunted Plantation Home and Simulated Coal Mine, the Grist Mill Museum the Native American Artifact Museum, and Loretta's Fan and Doll Museum. Each year, the ranch hosts numerous concerts, the Loretta Lynn American Classic Rodeo, and the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship race. No visit to Memphis is complete without enjoying this amazing confluence of music and entertainment.
3. Nashville - 77 miles, 1 hour, 16 minutes
Welcome to Music City, U.S.A., home to that slick "Nashville sound." There's so much to see and do here: take a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry and stand in the famed "wooden circle" on stage; visit the historic Ryman Auditorium, once home to the Grand ole Opry from 1943 to 1974, and cut your own CD; the Country Music Hall of Fame houses over 800 costumes and over 600 instruments that document the history of country music; visit RCA Studio B, where Elvis made over 200 recordings; and take a stroll down the Music City Walk of Fame, where platinum-and-granite, star-and-guitar sidewalk markers serves as a virtual who's who in country music.