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"He’s a great example of knowing how much you can do, how much quality you can produce, within a [finite] time period, knowing that life is temporary."
Knoxville’s population—approximately 185,000—is about one-third that of Memphis and Nashville. And while Memphis claims Elvis and Nashville the Grand Ole Opry, Knoxville boasts an unlikely pair of native sons: country singer Kenny Chesney and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.
Just twenty miles south of Nashville, Franklin is an oasis for some of country’s biggest stars (Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, and Keith Urban all have homes here). Yet it has managed to retain its charm, with the National Register of Historic Places naming its main thoroughfare a “Great American Main Street.”
Johnny Baker’s hillbilly accent is as authentic as the moonshine his family has been making for generations, and he uses it to marked effect as he entertains tourists at their Gatlinburg distillery. “We are making coooorn liquor—moonshine,” Baker says, stretching out the vowel to emphasize the appeal of a distillate with a shady, complicated past.