Dolphin/Shark Presents: Knoxville: A Scruffy Little Mixtape

As I put together the songs that make up this collection, I realized that most of the songs about my hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee fall into exactly three categories:

  • Songs about traveling to Knoxville
  • Songs about committing serious crimes in Knoxville
  • Songs about traveling to Knoxville and committing serious crimes in Knoxville

Of the 19 songs in this collection (two tracks are spoken word), 11 fit into one of the above categories. What’s really surprising about this is that Knoxville is in neither a tourist mecca nor a particularly crime-plagued city. I’ve racked my brain and I really can’t explain it. There’s nothing to explain this trend. Instead, I just made a helpful Venn diagram to illustrate it.


Click here for a larger version.

ANYWAY, this mixtape collects all of the songs with major lyrical references to Knoxville that I could track down. It’s not a musical history of the city (HINT HINT FUTURE PROJECT) so much as it’s a chronicle of the Scruffy Little City’s (tiny) place in popular culture. In addition to the songs below and the cover art above, I’ve also included a broadside that I created for an Appalachian literature class using Nikki Giovanni’s poem “Knoxville, TN” and an image of Knoxville from the turn of the 20th century. The download link is below the tracklist, and I hope you enjoy your musical visit to my hometown (and that you don’t get murdered, apparently).

  1. Nikki Giovanni - “Knoxville, TN”
  2. Leola Manning - “Satan Is Busy In Knoxville”
  3. The Louvin Brothers - “Knoxville Girl”
  4. Roy Acuff - “Tennessee Engine (No. 9)”
  5. Mark Knopfler - “Daddy’s Gone To Knoxville”
  6. Hank Williams, Jr. - “Knoxville Courthouse Blues”
  7. Robert Mitchum - “The Ballad of Thunder Road”
  8. Hank Snow - “I’ve Been Everywhere”
  9. Ronnie Milsap - “Smoky Mountain Rain”
  10. Knoxville Morning - “Knoxville Morning”
  11. Trummors - “Knoxville, TN”
  12. Steve Earle - “Copperhead Road”
  13. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - “Knoxville Girl”
  14. Milhouse Van Houten, Bart Simpson, Nelson Muntz, and Martin Prince - “Knoxville! Knoxville! Knoxville!”
  15. Mr. Mack - “Where You From (Da 865)”
  16. Lil Bit - “K-Blocc (feat. Hourglass & JL)”
  17. Three 6 Mafia - “Ridin Spinners (feat. Lil Flip)”
  18. DJ Jazzy Jeff - “Charmed Life”
  19. Leontyne Price - “Knoxville - Summer of 1915, for high voice & orchestra (rev. for voice & chamber orchestra), Op. 24”
  20. Eleanor Steber - “Knoxville - Summer of 1915, for high voice & orchestra (rev. for voice & chamber orchestra), Op. 24”
  21. The Osborne Brothers - “Rocky Top”



PS: We’re all really sorry about Hank Williams Sr, Mark Linkous, and Rachmaninoff.


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