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Tennessee is known for its Southern hospitality and mountain ranges such as the Smokey Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, and Appalachian Mountains, but the state’s biggest claim to fame is its music industry. Just looking at a map, few would guess that this Southern state could compete with the likes of California and New York, but there is a reason why its capital city is dubbed “Music City” and the “Songwriting Capital of the World.” In addition to Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, and Jackson are some of the state’s standout epicenters of music mastery. Keep reading to discover more details on what makes Tennessee the perfect place for music lovers.

Tennessee is a paradise of music attractions.

An entire list could be devoted to must-see music attractions in Tennessee. There is a museum, landmark, or theme park to fit every traveler’s interests. Tennessee’s attractions cater most to country lovers. The Grand Ole Opry House, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Bridgestone Arena, Birthplace of Country Music Museum and Venue, Ryman Auditorium, and Dollywood are several of the most iconic stops.

In addition to a mass of country-focused attractions, Tennessee caters to all sorts of special interests. Admirers of singer-songwriter Johnny Cash’s work should see the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville to take in handwritten letters, song lyrics, personal items, vintage film, and more. Lovers of American soul music should visit the record store turned recording studio Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis. Of course, Graceland in Memphis is a perfect stop of fans of Elvis Presley. Aspiring rock and roll historians should visit the original Sun Studio, another Memphis stop, where the world’s first rock and roll single was recorded.

For those who normally just like to watch concerts, Tennessee is a place where it is worth it to look around a little before watching the stage. Plus, many of these attractions regularly bring in performers—many of which are icons—to entertain guests.

Although Tennessee has a reputation for focusing on country music, its impeccable artistry shines through across genres.

Bluegrass, blues, classical, country, folk, gospel, hip hop, instrumental, jazz, pop & rock, R&B, rockabilly, and soul are some of the many genres that have a defined presence in Tennessee, sustained with museums, festivals, recording studios, and live music venues. There is a reason why Rolling Stone magazine gave Tennessee the title of Best Music Scene in 2011. With over 180 music venues in Nashville alone and a longstanding history of being a pioneer in the music industry, Tennessee is the place to go for live music. With so many musicians constantly flowing in and out of the state for their careers, it is a common stop on tour for the best performers of today.

Nearly every national star in music has come to Tennessee to record, ranging from Michael Buble to Robert Plant to Bon Jovi. An impressive number of those folks have moved to Tennessee, too. It is not unusual to see Justin Timberlake, The Black Keys, Keith Urban, Sheryl Crow, Paramore, Hot Chelle Rae, Jack White, or the Kings of Leon strolling around the state.

Tennessee’s urban areas have everything a concert lover could want.

What does Tennessee have to offer concert lovers? Everything. Included in “everything” is: an almost overwhelming number of venues from which to choose, a constant stream of supremely skilled performers, specialized apps to gain access to the insider’s scene, a mass of free music venues (and guides on which are best), opportunities to view live tapings, and more. In overly saturated music markets like Tennessee’s, sometimes underground and indie creators get squeezed out of town. However, for Tennessee, the trade off is working. People who truly love the live music experience will be a home in just about any corner of Tennessee. Those who are less into live music but are curious about history and culture will enjoy the state's abundance of options, too.

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