Bill Monroe (“Father of Bluegrass”)
Bill Monroe was born in Beaver Dam, Kentucky where today you can visit his birthplace and step back in time with a guided tour at the beautifully restored Monroe Family Home and boyhood home of Bill Monroe. While in Beaver Dam hop on over to Rosine, Kentucky where you can see a replica of “Uncle Pen’s” Cabin, where Bill Monroe first learned to play music. This rural mini-museum will take you deep into the roots of Bluegrass music. You can also visit the Rosine Barn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, where Bill was known to perform and take in a free jamboree any Friday night! Then complete your visit to Rosine at the famous Rosine Cemetery where you pay your respects at the Bill Monroe and “Uncle Pen” gravesites.
W.C. Handy (“Father of Blues”)
W.C. Handy, known as “the Father of Blues” spent 10 years of his life in Henderson, Kentucky. Handy wrote that Henderson was where he “learned to appreciate the music of my people” and “then the blues were born.” The city of Henderson celebrates the life and legacy of Handy each year at the W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival. This festival has become one the largest free music festivals in the nation and regularly makes the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Summer events for the entire Southeast portion of the U.S.!
U.S. 23 is a designated National Scenic Byway honouring country music entertainers who were born or lived along Route 23. The U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum was opened in April 2005, and is located next to the Paintsville Visitor’s Center off the Paintsville exit of U.S. 23. The Museum offers fans an opportunity to see displays created to honour many of the country music entertainers who consider U.S. 23 their home, such as Billy Ray Cyrus (Born in Flatwoods, Greenup County, Kentucky); The Judds (Born in Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky); Ricky Skaggs (Born in Blaine, Lawrence County, Kentucky); Crystal Gayle (Born in Butcher Hollow, Johnson County, Kentucky); Loretta Lynn (Born in Butcher Hollow, Johnson County, Kentucky) and many others.