The State of Tennessee in the United States is sometimes referred to as "the three States of Tennessee," because of its three distinct regions, East, Middle and West.
East Tennessee is home to the "hillbilly" stereotype many people think about as seen on popular television. The stretch east of the Cumberland Plateau through the Tri-cities and Bristol counts as East Tennessee for most people and is defined by its mountains, rolling hills and valleys.
East Tennessee is where you'll find people who speak with a twangy, musical accent, and dialect reminiscent of Canterbury Old English. The Great Smoky Mountains Park and nearby Dollywood, and the city of Knoxville, former capital of Tennessee and host of the 1983 World's Fair are all nestled in East Tennessee, too.
Because of her mountains, early East Tennessee farming was largely limited to single family operations, and thus, there were not as many slave-holding large plantations as one finds in other Southern states.
In fact, during the Civil War, East Tennessee sided with the Northern Union states, and
attempted to secede from the rest of Tennessee, announcing itself as the Free State of Franklin.
Andrew Johnson came from East Tennessee, and understanding the ills of forced servitude, having been an indentured servant himself as a young man, attempted to give newly freed slaves the right to vote during his U.S. Presidency, much to the dismay of his fellow politicians, who impeached him.
Middle Tennessee is home to Nashville Music City U.S.A and has become a cosmopolitan city, especially in the past 5 years.
Several major Interstate Highways and large rivers converge in Nashville, making it an age old trading port and commerce center.
Mostly flat, farmable land made Middle Tennessee home to slaveholding plantations back in those days and found her on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Today, Nashville is the State Capital of Tennessee and is a booming "It City" with Tech and Health Care companies largely leading the charge.
Middle Tennessee is usually considered to be the area west of the Cumberland Plateau through the outside suburbs of Nashville headed West on Interstate 40.
U.S. President James K. Polk's residence is in Middle Tennessee, and U.S. President Andrew Jackson's Hermitage also is found there.
Of course many musical attractions are located in or around Nashville, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Musician's Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame where my dad is an inducted member.
Moving westward to West Tennessee, the landscape and atmosphere changes once again to a blues soaked, river port on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi River.
History laden Memphis, the primary city in West Tennessee bears evidence of her racial-musical intermingling within the walls of Sun Records, original record label that signed Elvis Presley with his blended rock-a-billy sound.
Graceland, Elvis's mansion is located here, and brings tourists from around the globe to see The King of Rock & Roll's jet planes, gold piano and automobiles on display at his home and museum.
Beale Street boasts the finest blues music venues along a strip of bars and clubs, and a giant glass pyramid sits on the edge of town, current home of a mega Bass Pro shop, all located in Memphis.
West Tennessee is also famous for her Tennessee Walking Horses especially around Shelbyville.
All three parts of Tennessee have fine educational institutions, museums and state parks, and each has its distinctive characteristic foods, music and culture.
Any visitor to the United States would find plenty of variety to explore traveling the 9 hour automobile ride from one end of Tennessee to the other through the "three states of Tennessee.
Amanda Colleen Williams is an awarded songwriter and music publisher with songs on albums certified at 17 million sales by the Recording Industry Association of America®, including "She's Tired of Boys" written with Garth Brooks, and a U.S. Department of State Exchange Program Arts Envoy IPR pilot.