Amidst the farms of Eastern Kentucky, under clear skies watching over thirsty crops, the grassy hills surrounding the Country Music Highway have produced more hit country stars than any other region per capita. Home to stars such as Loretta Lynn, Wynonna Judd, Naomi Judd, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tom T. Hall, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam, and Patty Loveless, this highway overflows with melody. Travel the Country Music Highway through seven counties of Kentucky's Appalachian Region, and its music will sing through your memories long after your journey is over.
Though many believe there must be something in the water that causes country stars to sprout up like dandelions here, perhaps it is their childhood participation in the Gospel choirs prevalent in eastern Kentucky which accounts for it. Or perhaps it is the wealth of festivals and events in the area. Explore several musical venues along the byway that have showcased these talented voices, such as the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonburg, which is home to the Kentucky Opry, a family entertainment center with a 12-member cast of singers, comedians and more. Or stop by the beautiful Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, where you can enjoy anything from music festivals to comedians to dance festivals. Many of the communities along the Country Music Highway host annual shows and festivals, such as the Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival in Whitesburg each June, or the Kentucky Apple Festival the first week in October at Paintsville. Stop by each year for a grand ol' time, and perhaps you'll hear another country music star in the making!
Whether you are sitting on a grassy hill hearing country music riding on the wind, enjoying exciting entertainment at the Kentucky Opry, or seeing local talent at a community festival, music is everywhere on the Country Music Highway. Who knows if there is something in the water or something in the wind, but a region that raised more than a dozen country music stars has plenty of music to share! Come to the Country Music Highway and enjoy a trip full of melodious fun!
- Copyright © June 24, 2006 Jimmy Emerson.
- Copyright © 2001 SEKTDA.
- Public domain. Photo by Dennis Adams