Drew and Ellie Holcomb have toured the world with their Americana band Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, however Drew says his earliest recollections of cross-country journey got here at the back of a conversion van along with his household. Whereas the Memphis native visited virtually each state within the nation by the point he was in highschool, his household’s annual cross-state street journey to Knoxville and the Smokies stands out in his thoughts.
“Each of my mother and father had been Tennessee grads, so we had a form of standing custom,” Drew Holcomb mentioned. “Each fall, we would drive up there and keep within the mountains for a pair days after which go to Neyland Stadium and see a sport.”
In regards to the collection
This fall, Drew and Ellie took their household on an R.V. street journey of their very own to advertise COVID-safe journey throughout Tennessee. A web series chronicling their 1,600-mile journey premiered final week as a part of “For the Love of Tennessee, Travel Safe,” a brand new marketing campaign from the Tennessee Division of Vacationer Growth. New episodes will debut weekly on YouTube, Instagram and Fb till Nov. 11.
“The largest shock is unquestionably how a lot left there’s for me to see in Tennessee,” Holcomb mentioned. “I’ve lived in each nook of the state. I nonetheless have not even touched all the actually distinctive and delightful locations which might be right here.”
Tennessee’s tourism trade, which generated a report $23 billion in journey spending in 2019, was hit arduous by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to a press release from the state tourism division, journey spending within the state declined 87 % in April.
For Holcomb, too, 2020 has been “the 12 months of the pivot.” Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors launched a brand new album, “Dragons,” in August 2019, however the band hasn’t toured for the reason that pandemic started. Holcomb mentioned that whereas he and Ellie typically convey their children alongside whereas touring with their band, taking a street journey centered completely on spending time with household was a brand new expertise.
“You do not play a variety of concert events at state parks and zoos and museums, so it was cool to do issues that you simply would not have time to do in case you had been touring,” he mentioned. “The Museum of Appalachia was one, for instance, the place I’ve most likely pushed by that exit and seen these billboards so many instances and by no means stopped.”
A part of the Holcomb household’s pivot, in fact, concerned ensuring their travels had been COVID-safe. The journey was centered round out of doors points of interest, just like the Memphis Zoo, Bays Mountain and the Obed River. Canoeing, mountain climbing and campfires are all highlights of the online collection.
“Tennessee has so many locations which might be lovely that you do not have to go indoors all over the place,” Drew mentioned. “We ate exterior, we camped exterior, after which all over the place we went, we tried to put on masks and social distance and abide by the CDC pointers and public well being specialists’ opinions.”
Drew and Ellie’s music offers a soundtrack for the online collection, with 2013 launch “Tennessee” showing in a number of promo clips. The couple wrote two new songs throughout their journey, and the story of these songs is captured for viewers.
“I do not suppose you possibly can actually inform the story of Tennessee with out music, and in order that made it a variety of enjoyable for us as musicians,” Holcomb mentioned. “We nonetheless have the music. We won’t collect in these large teams for concert events, however there’s nonetheless music being made and music being skilled right here within the state.”
The collection’ first episode reveals Drew and Ellie Holcomb writing a tune about Rivers, their two-year-old son. The most recent addition to the Holcomb household was named to honor Tennessee’s most well-known rivers, from the Cumberland to the Tennessee, however one among Drew’s private highlights got here at a river he’d by no means even heard of earlier than the journey.
Extra in music information:On ‘BIG Night at the Museum,’ country music’s precious artifacts get to sing again
“The Obed River, I’d actually inform anyone now, it would be in my prime 5 locations to see within the state,” he mentioned. “I did not even comprehend it existed. I have been right here for 38 years.
“I assumed I knew Tennessee very well — once more, I have been right here my complete life — and I do know Tennessee fairly properly,” Holcomb mentioned. “However there’s so much left to discover. It was a extremely cool alternative for our household to comprehend a lot how a lot we even have right here proper at dwelling.”