Discover Cheatham County 2020 visitors guide

Discover Cheatham County Tennessee 2020 Visitors Guide

Cheatham County Chamber of Commerce

Don Williams

Jake Owen

Louise Mandrell

We Entertain You

Tristan McIntosh

Gerald Greer

One of America’s Best Banks

First Financial Bank



Featured Artists

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Foreward Eat Your Heart out Go Shopping Fun stuff to do Get Into Nature Stay A While what's Old is new Learn Something

10 14 15 18

Louise Mandrell TristAn McIntosh Brian Oaks Ira Dean Don Williams Mel Tillis Mel Tillis Jr. The Pickard family

32 35 36 37 40 43 47 48

Chonda Pierce Gerald Greer Jake owen Brian White & Karyn Williams Mo Pitney / Kim Mclean Jonathan Singleton Ric Olsen Towne

13 16

26 29 30 44

20 24 25 30


A s director of the Chamber of Commerce, it is an honor to bring you the 3rd edition of the Discover Cheatham County Visitors Guide. Discover Cheatham’s primary goal is to en- hance the local economy through tourism development while promoting small businesses. Whether you like country, rock or folk music, we can all appre- ciate the hard work artists put into their music to bring a song to life, and there has been some amazing music made right here in Cheatham County. It has been a pleasure learning about our musical history and getting to know the artists featured in this year’s Discover Cheatham County Visitors Guide. Our history in music goes beyond just the artists featured this year. There are so many more talented musicians that call Cheatham County home. We look forward to being able to tell their stories one day as well. A special thanks goes out to all the artists who have allowed us to share their stories and to the families that have worked with us to tell the stories of those who are no longer with us.

Cheatham County Chamber of Commerce Michelle Greene, President Misty M. Keenan , Executive Director

328 Frey Street Ashland City, TN 37015 Office: 615-792-6722


Tim Adkins Amy Hill Eric E. Johnson Misty Keenan

Jenny Mabry Nanette Malher Pat Smith Phoenix Thornburg

I hope you enjoy this magazine as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

Yours Truly, Misty M. Keenan, Executive Director Cheatham County Chamber of Commerce


Discover Cheatham County music to your eyes

Photo courtesy of Eric E. Johnson The Cumberland River, Cheatham County


historical introduction by Patrick Smith, cheatham County historical & genealogical association

Famed musician, songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Dan Fogelberg lived on a farm in Kingston Springs out- side of Nashville until 1975. He moved to the area as a teenager in 1972. Fo- gelberg recorded his first album, "Home Free," in Nashville and wrote his hit song, “Part of the Plan” while here. The county itself was celebrated in song in 1936 by Opry member Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith , who recorded "Chittlin' Cookin' Time in Cheatham County." In the song, a potential suitor yearns to court a Cheatham County chitlin’ cook- er for “he has a longin’ that a mess of chitlins fills.” The song is still performed regularly today by several artists in the Americana genre. From artists to songwriters to instru- mentalists, the county’s history is rich with those who made their mark in mu- sical history and those that continue that tradition today.

("Forever and Ever Amen," "When You Say Nothing at All"). Award-winner and artist Kendell Marve l, who has penned hits for George Strait , Chris Stapleton and Jake Owen , is a one-time resident of Cheatham County. Kingston Springs was the setting in 1972 for songwriters Vince Mathews and Jim Casey and their album, "The Kingston Springs Suite," a record about the lives of a small town of a bygone America. Johnny Cash , who visited Mathews often in Kingston Springs, championed the Outlaw album. He per- formed one of its songs, "Melva’s Wine," on his national television show calling it the greatest contemporary American folk song he’d ever heard. The writers performed the entire album only a few times – once in the Kingston Springs school auditorium - with Johnny and June Carter Cash sitting in the front row – before it was shelved for 40 years until released in 2015.

Cheatham County’s musical heritage runs deep and wide and stretches from early Grand Ole Opry performers Dad Pickard and the Pickard Family and the Binkley Brothers Dixie Clodhoppers to emerging artists like multi-instrumental- ist and Grand Champion fiddler Ivy Phil- lips and American Idol finalist Tristan McIntosh . Along the way, many artists, songwrit- ers and music professionals have called Cheatham County home. Among them are country music’s "Gentle Giant" Don Williams , legendary singer-songwriter Mel Tillis , Louise Mandrell and current star Jake Owen . Drive through Ashland City and you’ll likely cross the Tennessee Waltz Park- way, aptly named for the country stan- dard of the same name. This state song of Tennessee was co-written by Redd Stewart , born in Ashland City in 1923. Today, our community boasts several top songwriters and hit makers, includ- ing Grammy winner Paul Overstreet

Melva’s Wine

by Vince Matthews & Jim Casey of Cheatham County From the album "The Kingston Springs Suite"

Recorded by Johnny Cash in 1972 on the Album "A Thing Called Love" Every year about this time My wife Melva made some wine Every year about this time The air is sweet as Melva’s wine

And I sip her wine and I listen to the robin sings And the river runs through Kingston Springs

Every year about this time A few old friends come up to walk Every year about this time A few old friends stop by to talk And we talk about the crops and weather and things And the young folks here in Kingston Springs I got the brother up Chicago way He wants me to visit him someday and I may sometimes But not as long as the robin sings And the river runs through Kingston Springs

It was last year about this time Melva made her last batch of wine It was last year about this time She left for me her warm sweet wine She could sing as sweet as robins sing Above her grape in Kingston Springs ‘Cause it was last year about this time That Melva made this glass of wine

I got the brother up Chicago way He wants me to visit him someday and I may sometimes But not as long as the robin sings

And the river runs through Kingston Springs ‘Cause that was last year about this time That Melva made this glass of wine

Johnny Cash Photo courtesy of Sumner County Tourism

Chittlin’ Cookin’ Time In Cheatham County

by Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith

Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith made his solo de- but as a fiddler on the Grand Ole Opry on December 23, 1927, and later became a member of the Opry. The Arthur Smith Trio recorded "'Chittlin' Cookin' Time in Cheatham County" on Monday, February 17, 1936 in Charlotte NC. The song takes the melody from "St James Infirmary," a jazz standard. Eclectic Americana artist Pokey LaFarge recently recorded "'Chittlin' Cookin' Time in Cheatham County" on 7" vinyl. Chitterlings, or Chitlin's, is an economical dish, usually made from the small intes- tines of a pig, although the intestines of cattle and other animals are sometimes so named when used as a foodstuff.

There’s a quiet and peaceful county in the state of Tennessee You will find it in the book they call Geography Not famous for its farming its minin’ or its stills But they know there’s chittlin’ cookin’ in them Cheatham County hills

When it’s chittlin’ cookin’ time in Cheatham County I’ll be courtin’ in them Cheatham County hills And I’ll pick a Cheatham County chittlin’ cooker I’ve a longin’ that the chittlin’s will fill

There’s an art in chittlin’ cookin’ and all good chittlin cooks They must master it by practice cause it ain’t reknowned in books

In the hills of Cheatham County in sunny Tennessee When chittlin’s are in season is where I long to be

Of all good things put be for me I think chittlin’s are the best And when I press that dying pillow Let chittlin’s by my last request


EAT YOUR Heart Out

Sidelines Grill

From neighborhood nooks to casual cafes, farm to table, and familiar favorites, you certainly won't leave Cheatham County hungry! Discover Cheatham County

Pedro's Cocina Mexicana

Ashland City

Vuocolo's Italian Restaurant & Ba r 189 Monroe Place, Suite 114 615.792.7447 Whitt’s BBQ 308 Frey Street 615.792.9671

Mama D's 605 N. Main Street, Suite D 615.792.9651 Mugs Coffee Hut 1212 Hwy. 12 (drive thru only) New China Star 332 Frey Street 615.792.2882 Riverview Restaurant & Marina 110 Old River Road 615.792.7358 Sassey's Sweet Shop 189 Monroe Place 615.845.7300 SHEYEGIRL Coffee Co. 201 N. Main Street 615.516.7001 Sidelines Grill 232 Hutton Place, Suite 101 615.792.6800

Cody’s Diner 113 Cumberland Street 615.415.3368

Don Pancho Mexican Restaurant 232 Hutton Place, Suite 112 615.792.9340 El Rey Mexican Restaurant 114 S. Main Street 615.792.1330 Gyro Cafe & Grill 309 N. Main Street 615.246.1400 Gyro City 164 S. Main Street, Suite 200 615.246.1007 Hateful Chicken 164 S. Main Street, Suite 300 615.246.1563 Lakeview Market & Hardware 1910 River Road 615.792.9144



EAT YOUR Heart Out

Kingston Springs Barleypops 132 Petro Road El Jardin Mexican Restaurant 115 Luyben Hills Road

Pleasant VieW Chris’ Pizza 244 Village Square 615.746.5556 Black Dog Spirits & Ale 256 Centre Street 615.398.5244 El Dorado Mexican Restaurant 2524 Hwy. 49, Suite A 615.247.8138 Flytes 176 Village Square, Suite 100 615.746.5874 Golly G's 6308 Hwy. 41A 615.746.5849 Guadalajara Mexican Grill 262 Village Square 615.746.0776 Head's BBQ 1055 Dorris Winters Road (Chapmansboro, TN) 615.247.8621

Kilgore's Family Restaurant 214 Village Square, Suite 100 615.398.5103 Kuramoto Japanese Restaurant 248 Centre Street 615.746.8869 Leatherwood Distillery 6381 Hwy. 41A 615.247.8788 Pedro's Cocina Mexicana 260 Ren Mar Drive

615.952.9090 Fillin’ Station 385 N. Main Street 615.952.2100 SKYKING Pizza 385 N. Main Street 615.952.3107 Sweet T's 385 N. Main Street 615.589.1958

615.247.8820 Sidelines Grill 220 Ren Mar Drive 615.746.4252 Swezey's Pub 254 Village Square 615.398.5222 Whitt’s BBQ Hwy. 49 Coming in Spring 2020

Pegram Finch's Country Store

438 Hwy. 70 615.646.2937

Mugs Coffee Hut


Voted 2019 Best Restaurant in Cheatham County

254 Village Square, Suite 100 Pleasant View, TN 37146 615.398.5222

* Pub and Subs * Drink Specials / Happy Hour Daily * Take-Out Available * Dog-Friendly Patio Seating * Private Room Available

www. SwezeysPub .com

Philly Cheese Steak

Chicken Wings

Craft Beer

Owner/Chef Mike Swezey



Louise Mandrell

Louise Mandrell is a country music entertainer, recording artist, musi- cian and actress who began her ca- reer in the 1970’s. During her career she recorded 16 albums that be- came top 40 hits during the 1980’s. In 1980, the television show, Bar- bara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sis- ters , premiered on NBC. Louise and her younger sister Irlene co-hosted the show that featured the sisters’ multi-instrumental talents, musical guests and comedy sketches. Louise was signed with RCA records from 1981 to 1988. From 1992 to 1994, she headlined at the 4,000 seat Grand Palace Theater in Bran- son, MO, where she shared the stage with Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, Sawyer Brown, her sister Barbara, and many other famous country artists. On September 12, 1997 Louise opened her own theater, The Louise Mandrell Theater in Pigeon Forge, TN, which was the most attended show in the Smoky Mountains. In 2012, she performed the leading role in the musical Calamity Jane at the Roger Rocka’s Theater in Fresno, CA and re- prised the role from July – Septem- ber 2019. Louise said, “Playing the role Calamity Jane was the most fun I have ever had.” In 1993, Louise married John Hay- wood and moved into their first Cheatham County home together on their 425-acre Haywood Hills farm. John has a long history of ties to Cheatham County. His uncle, Dr. Jack Glover, was the local physician and coached boys basketball in the 1930’s and 1940’s. His mother and aunts were raised in Ashland City on Boyd Street and were the daugh- ters of J.W. Nicholson, who was the postmaster and descendant of Judge John Haywood, an historian known as the “Father of Tennessee History and the Common Law of Tennessee,” in- Cheatham County Connection

cluding stories of Cheatham County in his history books. In 2019, Louise and John began building their “dream home” on 43 acres that overlooks the Cumberland River and Cheatham County’s beau- tiful countryside. Louise loves to make her way around town visiting local stores and meeting new peo- ple. When she isn’t on the road, she spends a lot of time with her belov- ed granddaughter, Larkin, which has fondly given her the name “Momma Lou.” All of Larkin’s friends know her as Momma Lou and this has been her most loved role yet.

“No matter where you work, it is a short drive to Nashville,” Louise stated. “I have close friends who moved here shortly after I did. Liv- ing in a friendly, small-town setting and having Nashville as a neighbor, with all the entertainment you can possibly imagine, is very inviting.” Discover Cheatham


Photos courtesy of Osprey Media

Boxaloon in Ashland City

Black Dog Liquors in Pleasant View

GO Shopping

Ann Smith's Rose Garden 103 Elizabeth Street 615.792.7673 As You Wish Floral Designs 101 Stratton Boulevard 615.804.3548 Bethesda Center 124 S. Main Street 615.792.1389 Boxaloon 606 N. Main Street 615.246.1661 Clockworks 607 N. Main Street 615.792.3467 Curiosity Consignment 110A Frey Street 615.698.5657 Norwood Jewelers & Gifts 606 N. Main Street 615.792.5107 SHEYEGIRL Coffee Co. 201 N. Main Street 615.516.7001 Shoe Show 232 Hutton Place 615.792.3165 Ashland City


Stone Bridge Books, Gifts & Music 116 N. Main Street 615.792.9651

The Livery Stables Gift Shop 1104 Main Street 615.746.8992 The Village Market 6323 Hwy. 41A 615.746.4092

Noah’s Closet 710 Hwy. 70 615.457.1931

Pleasant View Blossoms Florist 630 Hwy. 41A 615.247.8594 La Belle Naturelle 2515 Hwy. 49 Mud Puddle Pottery 462 Hwy. 70 615.646.6644 Pleasant View Nursery & Florist 7070 Hwy. 41A 615.247.8527 Pleasant View Pharmacy 6361 Hwy. 41A 615.746.8432 Village Primary Care Gift Shop 6294 Hwy. 41A 615.746.8872

Joelton Viv & Dickey’s

Record Shop & Vintage Clothing 1262 Jackson Felts Road 615.840.9482

Kingston Springs

Ewe & Company 407 N. Main Street 615.952.0110 Nourish Marketplace 385 N Main Street, Suite 101 615.642.7031 Pencils 107 Kingston Springs Road, Suite 103 615.378.1175 Thrive Garden Center

1114 Hwy. 70 615.642.7031

Photo courtesy of Isaac Rich of Turtle Creek Farms

The Land / Thrive in Kingston Springs


Tristan McIntosh

singing her own material. Melody and emotion are what drives her. They are the vocabulary she uses to introduce herself and create relationships that hopefully will last for years. In October of 2019, Tristan sang the na- tional anthem at Citi Field in New York for the start of a New York Mets game. Her brother, Blaine, was drafted by the Mets in June of 2019. "Growing up in Pleasant View, I feel like I got the best of both worlds," Tristan said. "The small town where ev- eryone knows your name and the big city of country music only 30 minutes away." Her song “Pleasant View,” about the close-knit community in Cheatham The Cheatham Connection

County where she lives, was written by McIntosh with Brian White and Larry Mc- Coy.

Tristan McIntosh's love of singing be- gan at the age of eight — it was almost as if she had no choice. Her father’s record collection set the tone and direction for how she saw life, love and loss. Marvin Gaye, Linda Ron- stadt, Al Green, and Norah Jones were her influences. Soul, Jazz, Country, Rock, and Pop all live in her heart. A finalist on "American Idol" at age 15 and the lead singer of The Linda Ron- stadt Experience, she has performed at many venues such as the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, and Daryl’s House in Pawling, NY. Four years after her debut on national television, Tristan has made her passion for music the most important part of her life and is currently pursuing a career Pleasant View by Tristan McIntosh, Larry McCoy & Brian White Guess I always figured that I’d figure it out Find a way to chase my dreams and a way out Of this town, Down this road go to a place, nobody knows People leave, and disappear But their memories linger here And they sing to me, like a robins call and they wave to me , in every leaf that falls Sometimes you find , it’s right in front of you a lovely life with a Pleasant View The paints a little faded on that city limit sign and a smile down at the diner ain’t too hard to find Just take a look around and you can see it everywhere The pride in the eyes of the ones still there And they shine on me, like the morning sun their love pours on me , like a river runs Sometimes you find , it’s right in front of you a lovely life with a Pleasant View

No matter where I go, I will always know where my heart is And they sing to me, like a robins call and they wave to me, in every leaf that falls And they shine on me, like the morning sun their love pours on me, like a river runs Sometimes you find, it’s right in front of you a lovely life with a Pleasant View

"Pleasant View" printed with permission SB21 Music/BWtunes - SESAC Horipro - SESAC Barely Tangible Music - ASCAP Photos courtesy of Tristan McIntosh


Brian Oaks

Brian Oaks and his family moved to Nashville, TN from Seattle, WA in 2007 to pursue his dream of being a musi- cian. Upon arriving in Nashville, Oaks landed his first yearlong, nationwide tour with Point of Grace and Mark Schultz . Since then, he has played with top artists such as Lonestar , Rita Wil- son , Tiffany, Debbie Gibson , Jimmy Wayne , Russ Taff , Susan Ashton and many others. In 2019, he was on tour with Canadian country music superstar Paul Brandt . Oaks also keeps himself busy writing and producing. The Cheatham Connection After spending many years in East Nashville, the Oaks family looked to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and moved to Ashland City in 2013. “I felt like I was well enough connect- ed in town to work as a musician and producer, not to mention we wanted to move out where we could afford acreage and start our farm,” Oaks said. “Best move ever.” Oaks and his wife, Stephanie, immedi- ately began working on building their regenerative, non-certified organic farming business called No. 9 Farms. Six years later they now grow seasonal produce, berries, culinary and medici- nal herbs, and edible and ornamen- tal flowers. Located 25 minutes from Nashville, No. 9 Farms serves produce to 40 of the best restaurants in Nash- ville. “We love the topography. Cheatham County has flat land, rivers, streams, and rolling hills.” Brian stated. “It is gor- geous out here. People have your back and it is growing. In my opinion, it is an amazing investment.  I tell everyone to move here now. It is the perfect inter- section of a slower country life with a short drive to the city.”

Right bottom: Stephanie and Brian Oaks at their No. 9 Farms Air B&B called "The Dwelling."

Fun Stuff to Do!

Ashland City

Pleasant View

Easter Egg Hunt SPRING

Cheatham County Cruise In SUMMER - 1st Friday of the Month 322 Frey Street , 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Cheatham County Fair SUMMER - July 28 - August 1, 2020 Fairgrounds Road Christmas Parade WINTER - December 5, 2020 Main Street Farmers Market SUMMER - July - October Riverbluff Park Memorial Day Ceremony SPRING - May Riverbluff Park Music on Main FALL - October 10, 2020 Main Street Summerfest SUMMER - June 2 - 6, 2020 Riverbluff Park Art in the Park FALL - First Saturday in October L. L. Burns Park Dinner on Main FALL Downtown Kingston Springs Kingston Springs

Christmas Parade WINTER - December 5, 2020 Climb a Truck FALL - TBD

L. L. Burns Park Fishing Rodeo SPRING L. L. Burns Park Kingston Springs Christmas Tree Lighting WINTER South Cheatham Public Library Memorial Day Picnic SPRING L. L. Burns Park Christmas in the Park WINTER - December Pegram Park Independence Day Celebration SUMMER - July 4, 2020 Pegram Park Annual Fiddle & Pick Events pegram Old-Time Music Weekend WINTER - January 11, 2020 Kids Summer Music Day Camp SUMMER - June Irish Music Weekend FALL - November 12-14, 2020 For more Fiddle & Pick events visit:

Cruise'n N Groove'n Car Show & Concert

SUMMER - FALL May - October 3rd Saturday of the Month at The Village, starts at 5 p.m. Pink Out for Hope 5K Booby Bolt FALL - October Balthrop Park Christmas Tree Lighting WINTER - December Community Park Veterans Day Ceremony FALL - November Pleasant View Community Park Volunteer Fire Department Picnic & Parade FALL Church Street

Music on Main - Ashland City

Dinner on Main - Kingston Springs


Fiddle & Pick

The building that houses the Musical Heritage Center in Pegram was a com- munity staple for many years before becoming The Fiddle & Pick . On Sep- tember 21, 2007, a major remodeling renovation began on the structure at 456 Hwy. 70. The “Grand Ole Open- ing” of the Musical Heritage Center was held on April 4, 2008. Director and music educator Gretchen Priest-May previously managed The Violin Shop School of Fiddling in Nashville. She had a 14-year client base before taking on the challenge of renovating the build-

jazz. Classical, country and modern music styles are offered as well. Fiddle & Pick has a monthly calendar with a schedule of “jams” that are enjoyed by the public. Participants and specta- tors are welcomed. Current jams are: Irish Sessions, Jazz Night, Old-time Jam Night, Slowjammers’ Night and Kids Jam night. Students and families enjoy playing themed concerts, such as the Hoedown Show, Celtic Show and vari- ous holiday performances.

ing and starting a music center. She en- visioned The Center to have a focus in three main areas: music education, mu- sic history and musical performance. MHC is a place where all ages can learn from Nashville professional musicians teaching private lessons on a variety of instruments, and hosts group classes. Each instructor has different areas of expertise and teaches many styles of music, including a focus on traditional music such as Irish or Celtic; Appala- chian or old-time; and bluegrass and

Photo courtesy of Fiddle & Pick

Climb A Truck Event

Cumberland River Powwow


Ira Dean

Ira Dean is originally from North Caro- lina but found himself in Minneapolis/ North St. Paul, MN after his dad got a work transfer. He won a talent contest at the local bar when he was 12 years old and started playing around town with his brother, Billy Dean . Being a minor, he had to have a guardian. As a result, his mom would take him so he could perform. Dean’s brother talked their mom into allowing Ira to graduate early at 16 years old to go on the road playing drums for Billy’s band. Dean moved to Nashville in 1990 with his brother and a drum set. After his brother’s band broke up, Dean was headed home until he met John Carter Cash . “My rst year in town I was stay- ing with Johnny Cash , June Carter , and John Carter . Johnny was like a dad to me and mentored me as I got my ca- reer started,” Dean said. Dean got his foot in with top artists, such as, Tanya Tucker and the Carter Family . Johnny Cash would have Dean open his shows.

After being red from Tanya Tucker’s band in 1996, Ira and a good friend, Keith Burns , formed Trick Pony . Burns had the vision of a trio group made up of two male artists and one female. Heidi Newfield , a friend of Burns' wife, became the lead singer. Trick Pony be- gan playing all over the southern U.S. and signed a record deal with Warner Bros. Records in 2000. The trio released its debut album later that year and their rst single, “Pour Me” reached No. 12 on the Billboard country music chart. The next two sin- gles, “On a Night Like This” and “Just What I Do,” reached No. 4 and No. 13 on the country charts. The following year, in 2001, Trick Pony received Artist of the Year from the Country Music As- sociation. After the trio’s single “A Boy Like You” didn’t break the top 40, Trick Pony decided to change labels to Curb Records in 2004 so they could have more creative control of their music. Trick Pony released their third album, “R.I.D.E” and would see the singles, “It’s

a Heartache” and “The Bride,” break into the top 40.

Cheatham County Connection Dean left Trick Pony in 2008 and set out to be a solo artist. Since then he has written songs for Joe Nichols , Chris Young , ex-Pony Heidi Newfield , Jake Owen , Gary Allen and Montgomery Gentry , including their hit single “One in Every Crowd.” Dean moved to Cheatham County in 2003. He was looking for something that reminded him of Gentry, NC. He purchased 28 acres sight unseen and had no clue where it was until he re- turned home from touring. When the house across the street went up for sell, he quickly purchased it and moved his dad in. His dad lived there until he passed in 2007. Dean’s initial 28-acre farm has grown into 70 acres. When Dean isn’t touring, you can nd him in his deer stand, hunting turkey, and, surprisingly enough, playing golf.

Photos courtesy of Jenny Maybry Photography





serving northern middle tennessee since 1956

615.384.2411 | |

Don Williams

over to the top 30 on the Hot 100.

Below: Photo of Don Williams playing in London. Inset: Don Williams gave Billy Sanford the guitar pictured in both the London photo and on the cover of a published music book of Don Williams songs. Above Right: Just a few of the All-Access passes Don Williams' guitarist Billy Sanford collected in working decades with Don Williams. Cheatham county Connection Williams was a very private man who lived on a working farm in Cheatham County. He served as an elder at his family church in Ashland City. Country Music Hall of Fame musician Billy Sanford , who owns property in Cheatham County, was Williams’ gui- tarist for 40 years, playing on many of Williams' albums and touring with him all over the world. Williams died on September 8, 2017 at age 78. "Don really cared about his music," Sanford said. "He took his career very seriously, and he cared about his fans. He tried to read every letter. He'd ask me to help him go through them some times. You wouldn't believe how many people named their kids Amanda."

The late Don Williams , known as “The Gentle Giant,” came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of the folk group The Pozo-Seco Singers . The trio recorded several hit records, with the biggest being “Time.” By 1971, Williams had gone solo, and had signed a publishing deal with Jack Clement . The Hall of Fame producer was so taken with Don’s style that he offered him a recording contract with his JMI Records in 1972. Early hits in- cluded “Atta Way To Go” and “Come Early Morning,” as well as “We Should Be Together,” which became his first Billboard top 10 hit in 1974. He then moved to ABC/ Dot (Later MCA), where the hits increased. Tracks such as “Rake and Ramblin’ Man,” “Tul- sa Time,” and “Nobody But You” helped to make him one of the most-played artists on country radio in the 1970s and 1980s. He took home the Male Vo- calist of the Year trophy from the Coun- try Music Association in 1978, and notched his biggest hit in 1981 with “I Believe In You,” which also crossed

Subsequent moves to Capitol Nashville and RCA kept Williams on the charts into the 1990s as he continued to play for huge crowds on the road. His suc- cess in the United States is well-docu- mented, but the music of Williams has made him an international star – with followings in Africa, England and New Zealand. He has placed 52 singles in the top 40 on the country charts in the United States, with 17 going to No. 1. Williams was a member of The Country Music Hall of Fame and The Grand Ole Opry. He appeared in the films W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings and Smokey & The Bandit II with Burt Reynolds as well was a guest performer on The Dukes of Hazzard . Most notable Williams hits include "I Believe in You," ''Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good," ''You're My Best Friend," ''Some Broken Hearts Never Mend," ''Till the Rivers All Run Dry," "Back in My Younger Days,” and "Amanda."

Biographical information provided by

Photos and memorabilia courtesy of Billy Sanford

Your postcard from Ashland City

Come make your own kind of music.

KURAMOTO Japanese Restaurant Creative Sushi & More

Gallery Featuring Regional Artists 462 Hwy. 70, Pegram, TN 615.646.6644

248 Centre Street, Ste. 100 Pleasant View, TN 615.746.8869


Voted Cheatham County's BEST Realtor and Firm 2018 & 2019



Call Alisha Duncan today!



6320 Hwy. 41A Suite 101 Pleasant View, TN 37146 Affiliate Brokers:

* Kathy Woodall * Susanne Taylor * Robin Wiggins * Jake Bumpus

* Taylor Duncan * Charles Beard * Debbie Hughes * Brandy King

Office: 615.247.7247


Mel Tillis

Photos provided by Alamy Photo Service Biographical information provided by

Cheatham County Connection Tillis Sr. lived in Cheatham County on 350 acres of rolling fields with a seven- acre lake, several ponds, and almost two miles of frontage on Sycamore Creek. The original cabin, made of 250-year old logs, was destroyed by fire in 1988, when his wife left food cooking on the stove unattended. Tillis, who had been asleep, had to run out of the house in his underwear and then borrow clothes from a neighbor. He lost a lot of memo- rabilia in the fire -- and his dentures, he stated to a news reporter at the time. The Grand Ole Opry inducted Tillis as its newest member on June 9, 2007. In October of 2007, Tillis became a mem- ber of the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2012, Tillis received the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush. Tillis died on November 18, 2017, in Ocala, FL at the age of 85 and was laid to rest in Cheatham County.

Country music legend Mel Tillis , born on August 8, 1932, was known for a stutter which developed after a bout of malaria he experienced as a child. He won a talent contest at age 16; though he stuttered, he could sing without pause. He started performing in the early 50's with a group called “The Westerners” while serving as a baker in the United States Air Force, stationed in Okinawa. In 1956, Webb Pierce record- ed one of his songs titled "I'm Tired,” and it launched Tillis’ musical career. Though Tillis had more success as a songwriter, he actually recorded more than 60 albums with 36 Top 10 sin- gles, nine of them going to No. 1 on the charts. He wrote over 1,000 songs, which were recorded by country artist greats such as Kenny Rogers , Brenda Lee , Webb Pierce , Ray Price , Charlie Pride , George Strait and Ricky Skaggs . In the 1970s, Tillis appeared in movies: W.W. and the Dixie Danceking s (1975), Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), The Cannonball Run (1981), and comedy westerns The Villain (1979) and Uphill

All the Way (1986), in which he starred with fellow country singer Roy Clark . In 1976, Tillis was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters International Hall of Fame, and that same year, he was named Country Music Associa- tion's (CMA) Entertainer of the Year. For six years in the 70's, Tillis won Come- dian of the Year. Tillis began painting in 1998, and 1,000 limited edition signed and numbered prints of his painting Masonic America were sold with all profits going to the Scottish Rite Foundation which ben- efitted speech and hearing clinics all over the United States. From 1990 to 2002, Tillis owned and operated his own theater in Branson, MO.  He then returned to his first love - touring the country.  On September 21, 1999, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) named Tillis the Song- writer of the Decade for two decades. He was the recipient of the Golden Voice Entertainer Award in 2001.


Mel "Sonny" Tillis Jr.

Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Mel Til- lis Jr. is proudly carrying on the musical tradi- tion set forth by his father, Country Music Hall of Fame songwriter/performer Mel Tillis . Born in Nashville, Mel Jr. , AKA Sonny Boy, is the fourth child of Mel and Doris Tillis. Tillis Sr. was working with Grandpa Jones in Kellogg, ID in 1963. Right before he was set to go onstage, someone said, “Mel! It’s Baptist Hospital in Nashville! Doris had a little boy!” The couple had three daughters before Mel Jr. came along, so they were thrilled to have a son. “I finally got me a little sonny boy,” Tillis Sr. said. The name stuck, and Mel Jr. will tell you he is always Sonny or "Sonny Boy" to family and friends. As a songwriter, Mel Jr. has had songs recorded by Reba McEntire , Trace Adkins , Lee Green- wood , Jamie O’Neal , Billy Currington , Ricky Skaggs , Chris LeDoux , Gene Watson , Suzy Bo- guss , Ty Herndon , and Clinton Gregory . Mel Jr. received BMI honors as co-writer of Jamie O’Neal’s No. 1 Grammy-nominated hit single, “When I Think About Angels.” As a performer, he has appeared on stage not only as a solo act, but also with his late father, touring coast to coast. Mel Jr.’s mission is to sing and let people get to know him though song and the honest little stories his dad was good at creating.

Photos courtesy of Mel Tillis Jr. and Cindy Tillis Storey

"We Entertain You."

Mel Tillis pictured with family members at Mel's Cheatham County home.



bike hike fish camp Picnic

Brush Creek Recreation Area

Cheatham Dam Recreation Area

Sycamore Creek Recreation Area

River Road, 3.5 miles south of Ashland City

Cheatham Dam Road off Hwy. 12 Cheap Hill

4 miles northwest of Ashland City

Located on Chapmansboro Road, Syca- more Creek is a day-use area featuring a picnic shelter that may be reserved, a playground, restrooms, picnic tables with grills and a boat-launching ramp with courtesy float.

The area is for day-use and features a picnic shelter available for reserva- tions, a playground, rest rooms, picnic tables with grills, an accessible fishing trail with pier and a launching ramp with courtesy float. Take Highway 49 across the Cumber- land River and turn left on River Road to reach Brush Creek Recreation Area.

Located 11 miles northwest of Ashland City, the right bank is a day-use area that provides picnic shelters that may be reserved. The area also features numerous indi- vidual picnic tables with grills, a beach with sand (no life guard on duty), boat launching ramps, playgrounds, volley- ball courts, a softball field and public restrooms.

kayak waterski Bird Watch Walk


Photos courtesy of Phoenix Thornburg

Golf Courses

Dry Creek Trail Races With 3 Distance Options Ashland City, TN 37015

Nashville National Golf Links 1725 New Hope Road Joelton, TN 37080 615.746.0400 marathon/dry-creek-trail-races

Sycamore Hollow Golf 1 Fairway Lane Ashland City, TN 37015 615.246.8144

Foggy Bottom Canoe 1270 Hwy. 70

Kingston Springs, TN 37082

Mound Bottom Archeological Site

Adventureworks Zipline 1300 Narrows of The Harpeth Road

1301-1399 Cedar Hill Road Kingston Springs, TN 37082

Kingston Springs, TN 37082

Narrows of the Harpeth 1640 Cedar Hill Road Kingston Springs, TN 37082 Riverbluff Triathlon Riverbluff Park Ashland City, TN 37015 riverbluff-triathlon.html

Canoe Music City 1203 Hwy. 70 Kingston Springs, TN 37082 Ashland City Disc Golf 233 Tennessee Waltz Parkway Ashland City, TN 37015 615.792.7553

Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail


Feel Valued.

At Hampton, it’s the extra care we put into everything that’s going to make your stay extra awesome. You’ll find it at our free hot breakfast. And you’ll see it in the personalities of our team members who use their individual styles of hospitality to make you feel extra special.

Hampton Inn by Hilton Pleasant View 2606 Highway 49 East, Pleasant View, TN 37146 615.894.9910 |

1 800 hampton

© 2018 Hilton.

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Ashland City Birdsong Lodge 1306 Hwy. 49 615.906.6465 Bluff Creek Farms 2211 Hwy. 49 615.474-5665

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Kingston Springs

Hayshed Farms 615.337.1529

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Penuel Ridge Retreat Center 1440 Sams Creek Road 615.792.3734

Your place in the country.

All-Inclusive Glamping Packages on Turnbull Creek Event Venue for Weddings, Birthday Parties, Festivals Seasonal Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers and Berries

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What's Old is New

Originally from Ashland City, the Pick- ard Family became a very popular music act, retaining their popularity through numerous changes in public taste from the late 1920s through the early 1950s. The repertoire of Obed Pickard and the family band included songs such as the plaintive "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie," ‘She'll Be Co- min' Round the Mountain," "The Old Gray Horse," and "Hand Me Down My Walkin' Cane." The founder of the group, Obed “Dad” Pickard has been noted as the first sing- ing star of the Grand Ole Opry. Pickard was the first artist to become a vocal star in the modern sense of the term. Dad Pickard first played on WSM Nash- ville in May 1926, and within a few years, he became nationally known as the leader of the singing Pickard fam- ily. The Pickards were the first group to use their Opry appearances as a springboard to a wider national career

and in doing so set the pace for many Opry performers of later years.

The Pickard Family musical group pictured: Obed "Dad" Pickard, "Mom" Pickard, Obed Jr. (Bubb), and Ruth. Little sister Ann was killed when her brother's gun accidently fired. Ashland City in Cheatham County is proud to be the historical home of Obed Pickard. Though Obed is buried in Los Angeles, many Pickard family members are at rest in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Ashland City. “Red” Barry, best known for his role as Red Ryder in the successful 1940s film series, "Adventures of Red Ryder.” In January 1949, the Pickards starred in a musical program broadcast over Los Angeles television station KNBH, Channel 4 (now known as KNBC). Obed “Dad” Pickard passed away five years later on September 24, 1954, though his family continued to record and per- form through at least late 1957.

The Pickard family auditioned for NBC in Buffalo. Obed’s comedy songs im- pressed the NBC scout, and they soon signed a 40-week contract to appear in a new program called “The Cabin Door.” The newspapers in Nashville wrote long, glowing accounts of their triumph. The act next worked for the In- terwoven Stocking Company and were called the Interwoven Entertainers. The next year found them in Chicago doing “The Farm and Home Hour" for NBC, and Obed played a dramatic role in a play about a miner and his family. But in 1931, Mrs. Pickard became ill, and the group returned to Tennessee. Census records indicate the family was living in Los Angeles in 1940. Obed ap- peared as “Rocky,” a stage coach driver, in the 1940 Republic Pictures western, "Frontier Vengeance," starring Donald


Chonda Pierce

International, WorldVision, Food for the Hungry and Feed The Children.

“Chonda Pierce: Stand-Up for Families.” The show is a family- friendly comedy series designed to encourage entire fam- ilies to watch television together. Pierce got her start working at Opryland Theme Park in Nashville where she per- formed as “Grand Ole Opry” star Minnie Pearl. Pierce recalls being a terrible danc- er and being told by her boss to “find a new talent.” In order to keep her job, she memorized three pages of jokes and went on to impersonate Minnie Pearl for six years. After deciding to pursue com- edy full time, she recorded “Second Row, Piano Side,” a collection drawing materi- al from her childhood growing up as the daughter of a preacher in South Carolina. Pierce’s material resonated with people from all walks of life, and she credits her southern upbringing both for her warped sense of humor and her solid roots. From there, Pierce turned her gift of sto- rytelling into a successful comedic ca- reer, selling more comedy DVD’s than any other female comedian. In addition to her 10 successful DVDs to date, she has also authored eight books and ap- pears at venues big and small throughout the United States. Pierce received five Daytime Emmy nominations for her work co-hosting talk show “Aspiring Women” on the Total Living Network and her first television special, “This Ain’t Prettyville!” on the CMT Network. Pierce is a frequent guest on the famed Grand Ole Opry and has served as host of the Inspirational Country Mu- sic Awards and Christian Music Hall of Fame Awards and also co-hosted the GMA Dove Awards in 2012. She has also appeared on "Entertainment Tonight," “The View,” “Fox News Channel,” “Wanda Sykes,” “Hallmark Home and Family” and her comedy is regularly featured on XM and Sirius satellite radio. In 2006, she helped found Branches Re- covery Center in Murfreesboro, TN, which offers counseling and treatment to those with depression, anxiety, addiction, re- gardless of their ability to pay. She has also raised millions of dollars for inter- national relief organizations Compassion

Cheatham County Connection Pierce moved from the Myrtle Beach, SC area to Cheatham County with her family when she was 15. She is a champion of the county and in recent years has per- formed free shows at Cheatham County Central High School for the annual Steak Dinner and Auction. Funds raised are used to enhance the educational experi- ence of all CCCHS students. Pierce is also a talented singer, songwrit- er and musician. Her music can be found on Amazon, iHeart Radio and other on- line music portals. The (RIAA) Recording Industry Associa- tion of America has named Pierce the most awarded female comic in history. She recently starred in an upcoming ma- jor motion picture filmed in Cheatham County.

Emmy®-nominated and best-selling co- median Chonda Pierce , or “the country comic” as Billboard Magazine dubbed her, has been making audiences laugh for more than two decades with her win- ning combination of fierce wit and south- ern charm. A stand-up comedian, televi- sion hostess, author and actress, Pierce has channeled her life experiences into positivity, bringing laughter to audiences around the country. In October 2015, Pierce took her hu- mor to the big screen with her first film “Chonda Pierce: Laughing In The Dark,” based on her personal struggle to over- come depression. “Laughing In The Dark” opened October 27, 2015 to 858 screens. Chonda’s next documentary movie, “Chonda Pierce: Enough” chronicled Chonda’s continuing story of struggle, survival and faith. The film is an uplifting and inspirational answer to the internal and emotional struggles faced by many women. “Enough” opened April 25, 2017 to 1,510 screens. In 2016, Chonda’s stand-up comedy se- ries debuted on the Dove Channel, called

Chonda Pierce at the Ryman Auditorium Photos courtesy of Chonda Pierce



Gerald Greer

area. In 2019, he was elected council- man to represent Ward 2 of Ashland City. When not performing Greer can be found on his Ashland City farm (Robin Hood Ranch) with his many dogs, hors- es, miniature donkeys, pot belly pigs and tending his beehives.  He also en- joys spending time tending his flower and herb gardens.

Gerald Greer has been a member of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra since the beginning of the 1991-1992 season.  Previously, he held principal positions with the Savannah Sympho- ny and the Charleston Symphony. He served as Acting Concertmaster of the Nashville Symphony for the inaugural season in Schermerhorn Symphony Center, 2006-2007, and again for the 2010-2011 season. Other Concertmas- ter appointments have been with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra (Charleston, SC); Festival dei Due Mondi (Spoleto, Italy); Solisti Carolina and Amy Grant's "Tennessee Christmas" tour with the Nashville Symphony in 1999 and 2001, where he was a featured soloist for the nationwide tour. Greer graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts where he was a student of Elaine Lee Richey , winner of the Walter F. Naum- berg Competition in 1958.   Greer has appeared as soloist with the Nashville Symphony, The Charleston Symphony and the Savannah Sympho- ny. Locally, he has performed with the Belmont Camerata and in Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music facul- ty recitals where he was an Adjunct Art- ist Teacher of Violin from 1997-2011.  

As a studio musician, Greer has played on multiple GRAMMY award-winning recordings. His discography credits cover a wide range of artists including Amy Grant , Vince Gill , Garth Brooks , Trisha Yearwood , Johnny Mathis , Sheryl Crow , Michael Bublé , Carrie Underwood and Bruce Springsteen . 

Cheatham County Connection

Greer loves Cheatham County, is very civic minded and is actively involved in helping preserve the rich history of the

Photos courtesy of Gerald Greer and the Nashville Symphony.


Jake Owen

Joshua Ryan Owen, better known as Jake Owen , was born on August 28, 1981, in Vero Beach, FL. Owen grew up focused on a career as a professional golfer. He attended Florida State Uni- versity and was a member of the golf team. After a waterskiing accident he bagged the golf clubs and picked up a guitar, which led him to begin songwrit- ing. Eventually, he moved to Nashville. While opening a savings account at a bank in Nashville, Owen talked with the teller, mentioning he was a singer and songwriter. She asked him if he had any recordings, and he gave her a CD of his songs, which she passed on to the Warner/Chappell Music publishing company. He was signed to RCA in 2006, releas- ing his debut studio album Startin’ With Me , which produced three singles that reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Since then, Owen has released six studio albums and one compilation album, resulting in 18 singles, eight of which became No. 1 hits. Owen’s first single “Yee Haw” quickly rose to No. 16 on the charts in the sum- mer of 2016. His second single, the title track, “Startin’ With Me” spent 35 weeks on the charts and soared to No. 6, giving him his first top 10 song. Cheatham County Connection Owen's latest album, Greetings From Jake , was released on March 29, 2019. The album has three singles; “I was Jack (You were Diane)”, “Down to the Honkytonk”, and “Homemade.” “Homemade” is a tribute to his current hometown of Kingston Springs, TN. Jake filmed the music video in Kings- ton Springs featuring the incredible community and the fantastic people that make it a special place to live.

“Like a lot of others, I moved to the beautiful state of Tennessee to chase a dream," Owen said. "I grew up in a small town in Florida, and Kingston Springs exemplifies what I love about a small-town life. Great people. Great culture. Great values. I built my forever home here and I look forward to raising my children in such a beautiful com- munity.”

Photos courtesy of Jake Owen


Brian White & Karyn Williams

Cheatham County Connection White and Williams moved to Cheatham County in July of 2017, and both agree it was one of the best decisions they’ve ever made. “We had been out this way visiting and having dinner with friends quite a bit, and I’m so glad we finally decided to make this our permanent home,” White said. “We lived closer to Nashville, and were tired of all the hecticness. Plus, who wouldn’t love a visit to Golly G’s ice cream!?” “Driving home feels like a big deep breath now,” Karyn said. “We’ve discov- ered that when you live in Cheatham County, you’re surrounded by friends.” Williams is a gifted songwriter with cuts in the contemporary christian music and country markets. Her first No. 1 song was in 2013 with “He’s Already There” recorded by Darin & Brooke Aldridge .  She is also the author of the highly ac- claimed book "The Takeaway," which she co-wrote with her dad. "Enough" and "Unashamed." Karyn made her Grand Ole Opry debut in De- cember of 2014 at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

studio behind the console producing records.  White is married to Christian recording artist Karyn Williams , who has her own powerful success story. Williams is the eldest daughter of Orlando Magic Se- nior Vice President & Founder Pat Wil- liams. Her international family includes 19 children, 14 of which are adopted from all over the world. After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in broadcast jour- nalism, Williams headed to Nashville to pursue a career in music. In the fall of 2011, she signed a major-label record deal with Inpop Records and proceed- ed to record 3 albums: "Only You" re- leased in 2012, "Letting Go of Perfect" in 2015, and "Blame It On The Hope" in 2018. These albums have included du- ets with Michael Tait (Newsboys), Dan- ny Gokey , and Third Day’s Mac Powell . Williams toured for five years with Christian comedian Chonda Pierce on the "Still Laughing" Tour. She has also toured with Mandisa , Third Day , and will be hitting the road with Michael W. Smith this year on the “35 Years of Friends” tour. She recently appeared in her first movie, "The Power of the Air, " which was released in 2018, and she can be seen in Chonda Pierce's movies

Brian White initially found success as a touring artist signed with a major record deal and as a songwriter. He fronted the Christian rock band “Brian White & Justice” for 15 years, record- ing five projects.  As a songwriter, his songs have earned him sixteen No. 1 songs; two Dove Awards for Song of The Year ( Michael English ”Holding Out Hope To You” &  The Martins' “The Promise”); SESAC Country Song of The Year; Billboard’s Most Played Song of The Year ( Rodney Atkins ) “Watching You”); as well as ACM and CMA nomi- nations. Recently, "Watching You" was listed No. 37 in Billboard Magazine’s "100 Greatest Country Songs Of All Time" and also topped the chart as "The Most Played Country Song of The Decade.” White has experienced success in the country, Christian and pop markets with songs recorded by Rascal Flatts , Trace Adkins , Jason Aldean , Gary Al- lan , Rodney Atkins , The Swon Broth- ers , Steve Holy , Earl Scruggs , Terri Clark , Kix Brooks , Blackhawk , Danny Gokey , Mandisa , Point of Grace , Ava- lon , Sir Cliff Richard , and many more. His songs have also been recorded by international artists in Canada, Austra- lia, Russia, and the U.K.  When he's off the road, he can be found playing a writers-in-the-round or in the

Photos courtesy of Brian White and Karyn Williams


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