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Famous Faces Past and Present in Sumner County, Tennessee

April 13, 2020

Famous faces have been spotted in Sumner County, Tennessee, both in the past and present. Take a look at the list below to see what famous faces have been seen in Sumner County!

Johnny & June Carter Cash

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash called Hendersonville, Tennessee, home from 1968 until they passed in 2003. The Cash family lived in a custom Braxton Dixon-designed house overlooking Old Hickory Lake. Johnny’s management offices were located at 700 E. Main St. in Hendersonville along with June’s antique store, which was relocated back to Madison and restored back to its roots as Amqui Station. The Cash couple was laid to rest together at Hendersonville Memory Gardens.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s family relocated to Hendersonville, Tennessee, so the young songstress could be close to nearby Nashville. The Swift family lived on Old Hickory Lake; Taylor attended Ellis Middle School and Hendersonville High School until her fame skyrocketed, leading to homeschooling for the country sensation. Her younger brother, Austin, attended Pope John Paul II in Hendersonville. Swift has made several donations to various Hendersonville organizations since hitting stardom.

Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison, the “Oh, Pretty Woman” singer, resided in Hendersonville beginning in the 1960s and later enjoyed living in a home that overlooked Old Hickory Lake next door to Johnny Cash. Tragically in 1966, Orbison and his first wife, Claudette, were in a motorcycle accident in nearby Gallatin; Claudette did not survive. Just two years later, there was a house fire at the Orbison home while Orbison was on tour in England; the fire resulted in the loss of Orbison’s two sons, Roy Jr. and Anthony. His youngest son Wesley was saved by Roy’s parents. Orbison built another home in Hendersonville with his second wife, Barbara, where he lived until his death in 1988 at age 52. Orbison was laid to rest in Los Angeles, California. 

Conway Twitty

Conway Twitty opened his estate, Twitty City, in Hendersonville in 1982, much to the excitement of locals and visitors. Although he also lived in Twitty City, the “Hello Darlin'” singer welcomed guests and performed shows in the theater on his property. Twitty generously donated to various organizations in Sumner County throughout his time in Hendersonville until his death in 1993. Today his property is owned by TBN and the variety show Huckabee is hosted there weekly. A road running through Drakes Creek Park in Hendersonville was renamed Conway Twitty Lane in 2020. Twitty was laid to rest in Gallatin under his given name, Harold Jenkins. 

Marty Stuart & Connie Smith

Marty Stuart and Connie Smith have both had incredible singer/songwriter careers that led to the lights of Music City. Stuart and Smith have connected with many country superstars throughout their career and Stuart was close with Johnny Cash, even living next door to the legend in Hendersonville for many years. Stuart is also a talented photographer whose works were on display at Hendersonville’s Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center in 2018. 

Ricky Skaggs

Hendersonville resident Ricky Skaggs is a world-renowned bluegrass musician, singer/songwriter, producer, and composer. Skaggs began his career with the late Keith Whitley, who was a local to the area, and Skaggs ultimately made a name for himself in the industry, often performing with his band Kentucky Thunder. In 2018 Skaggs was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and in 2019 he headlined the Hendersonville Hometown Jam.

Thomas Rhett

Thomas Rhett, son of country singer/songwriter Rhett Akins, moved with his family as a young boy to Hendersonville due to its proximity to Nashville. Rhett was raised on Center Point Road, a main thoroughfare through the city, and his 2019 album “Center Point Road” reflected on his memories of growing up in his hometown, Hendersonville. 

Jean Shepard

Jean Shepard, a resident of Hendersonville for many decades, skyrocketed to fame after her hit duet with Ferlin Husky, “Dear John” took off on the charts. Shepard was first married to Hank Shaw Hawkins until he died in a plane crash in 1968; she later married Roy Orbison’s tour bus driver and former band member, Benny Birchfield. Shepard died in 2016 and was laid to rest at Hendersonville Memory Gardens and her marker is a wonderful eye-catching purple, mimicking her bright life. At the time of her death, Shepard had become the first woman to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 60 consecutive years. 

Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters

Mother Maybelle Carter and The Carter Sisters are credited as “founders” of the country music genre. Mother Maybelle was multi-talented as were her daughters June (who later married Johnny Cash), Helen, and Anita, and they traveled to perform, often touring with Cash. Mother Maybelle, her husband Ezra, and daughters June, Helen, and Anita previously lived in Hendersonville and were all laid to rest at Hendersonville Memory Gardens. 

Jamey Johnson

Country artist and Hendersonville resident Jamey Johnson has made a name for himself as both a singer and songwriter. He has co-written singles for artists such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Strait, Trace Adkins, and more; Johnson has been nominated 11 times for Grammy awards. In 2019, he headlined the Hendersonville Hometown Jam. 

Jim & Jesse McReynolds

The Virginia bluegrass brothers Jim & Jesse McReynolds rose to fame for their picking and singing skills; their father even played at the legendary Bristol Sessions in 1927. In 1964, the brothers were invited to join the Grand Ole Opry and the two moved to Gallatin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. Jim passed away in 2003 and was laid to rest in Virginia; Jesse still lives in Gallatin and plays at the Grand Ole Opry occasionally!

Sheb Wooley

Sheb Wooley was the voice behind 1958’s popular song “Purple People Eater.” Later beginning in the late 1960s, Wooley joined the cast of HeeHaw as Ben Colder. He resided in Hendersonville until his death in 2003 and was laid to rest at Hendersonville Memory Gardens. 

For a bonus video, click below to learn more about how Wooley was also credited as being the voice behind the famous “Wilhelm Scream” that has been featured in over 400 films!  

Kelly Clarkson

The first American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson moved to Hendersonville in 2013 after marrying husband Brandon Blackstock; Blackstock is the former stepson of Reba McEntire, who lived in nearby Wilson County. After McEntire split from ex-husband Narval Blackstock, Clarkson put her waterfront home on Old Hickory Lake on the market in 2017. 

Diplo

Diplo is a DJ, songwriter, and record producer who works under various other project names including Major Lazer, LSD, Jack Ü, and Silk City. Diplo (aka Wesley Pentz) lived in Hendersonville and attended Hendersonville High School before heading to college in Florida and rising to stardom.

William Lee Golden

William Lee Golden, member of the famed group The Oak Ridge Boys, lives in a historic house on the banks of Station Camp Creek in Hendersonville. On his personal social media accounts, Golden often posts beautiful pictures from his property in Sumner County. 

Duane Allen

Duane Allen, who is also a member of The Oak Ridge Boys, relaxes on his 72-acre farm in Hendersonville when he’s not on the road with his popular music group. On Allen’s website he said that his farm has an array of animals, including burros! 

Rockland Road

Rockland Road is a phenomenal generational band; Oak Ridge Boy Duane Allen’s daughter Jamie Martin not only inherited some amazing musical talent, but her four children did, too! Jamie, her Grammy-winning husband Paul Martin formerly of the band Exile, and their children combined their talents to form the family band, Rockland Road (formerly Martin Family Circus). The Hendersonville-based musical family often tours the country performing at various events.  

Loretta Lynn

Although Loretta Lynn is famously associated with her Hurricane Mills ranch, previously she lived in Goodlettsville at a place called Madison Creek Farms. While living on her Sumner County farm, Lynn wrote her hit, “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin.” Today Lynn’s daughter Peggy Lynn Marchetti manages and lives at Madison Creek Farms.  

Peggy Lynn Marchetti

Peggy Lynn Marchetti is the daughter of Loretta Lynn who made a name for herself as a singer while part of the sister-duo The Lynns. She currently resides in Sumner County at Madison Creek Farms with her husband Mark Marchetti, who is also an accomplished songwriter. Together they manage Madison Creek Farms producing organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers for purchase. The farm can also be rented for events. 

Ronnie McDowell

Veteran Ronnie McDowell, who was raised in Portland, Tennessee, wrote his smash hit, “The King is Gone,” in 1977 after the shocking death of Elvis Presley. McDowell has an incredible music career that keeps him busy, but when he’s back home in Sumner County he can also be found putting his talents as an artist to use by creating wonderful, detailed paintings that are for sale. 

Dana Williams

Dana Williams, member of the famed country group Diamond Rio, has been a Hendersonville resident for many years. In fact, he even served as the grand marshal of the 2017 Hendersonville Christmas Parade! Williams also currently hosts The Dana Williams Show on Radio ReHab from his home studio. 

Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden is a race car driver who was raised in Hendersonville. His family traveled extensively when he was younger to help him pursue his love of racing. Newgarden took home 1st place at the IndyCar Series as part of Team Penske in both 2017 and 2019. He is still active in the Nashville area and married there in 2018. Fun fact: Newgarden is also talented in both ping pong and gaming! 

Tennys Sandgren

Perhaps it was no surprise that Gallatin resident Tennys Sandgren, who was named for his Swedish great-grandfather, would live up to the English meaning of his name by becoming a tennis professional! He was raised in Gallatin and attended the University of Tennessee for two years before turning pro in 2011. 

Luther Perkins

Rockabilly Hall of Fame member Luther Perkins toured with Johnny Cash in the 50s and 60s, forming the band the Tennessee Three with him. Perkins iconic “boom-chicka-boom” style of playing on the guitar cemented him as a music legend. Sadly in 1968 after a day of fishing on Old Hickory Lake, Perkins returned to his Hendersonville home and fell asleep with a lit cigarette that started a fire. Perkins sustained injuries from the fire and passed away two days later. He was laid to rest at Hendersonville Memory Gardens.

Bob Luman

Texas native Bob Luman was influential in the rockabilly scene that swept the nation in the 1950s. His hit “Let’s Think About Living” made the Top 10 and Luman eventually became a regular on the Grand Ole Opry. He lived in Hendersonville and was later inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Tragically, Luman passed away in 1978 at age 41 and he was laid to rest at Hendersonville Memory Gardens. 

Jeff Jarrett

Jeff Jarrett, or “Double J,” a Hendersonville native and resident, is a third-generation wrestling professional who started working for his father Jerry Jarrett’s Continental Wrestling Association in 1986. Jarrett later rose to fame as “Double J” in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF later WWE). Jarrett has a multi-faceted career in the wrestling industry apart from his stage persona; he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018. 

Ferlin Husky

Ferlin Husky had a long, successful career as a country singer whose style shined in the many country genres. He was most known for his hits, “Gone” and “Wings of a Dove.” Husky was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He passed away in 2011 in Westmoreland, Tennessee, and was laid to rest at Hendersonville Memory Gardens. 

Bonus video: Husky and Jean Shepard quickly rose to stardom after their popular duet, “Dear John,” that skyrocketed on the music charts. 

Gary Allan

Country star Gary Allan released his first record in 1996 and continued to produce #1 hits like “Man to Man,” “Tough Little Boys,” “Nothing On but the Radio,” and “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain).” Other popular Allan songs include “Watching Airplanes” and “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful,” to name a few. Allan lives in Hendersonville and creates his own jewelry pieces that are for sale. 

Golden Tate III

Golden Tate III was born and raised in Hendersonville, attending local high school Pope John Paul II, where he gained attention for his incredible talent on the football field. He played football at the University of Notre Dame and in 2010 he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL. As of 2019, Tate was a member of the NFL’s New York Giants. 

Bucky Covington

Former Sumner County resident and country artist Bucky Covington made it to the Top 10 in American Idol’s 2006 season, signing with Lyric Street Records after the show. He has had several hits, including his popular “A Different World.” Today Covington and his identical twin brother, Rocky, co-own Covington Collision Center in Gallatin and Bethpage. 

Clark Beckham

Clark Beckham, singer/songwriter and musician, gained fame during his time on the 2015 season of American Idol. After his time on the show, he signed with Quincy Jones Management. Beckham grew up in White House, Tennessee, which is partially located in Sumner County. 

Jim Varney

Jim Varney was an actor and comedian most recognizable for his franchise role of Ernest P. Worell. The Kentucky native lived in White House, Tennessee, and had a vibrant career throughout his life. He played Jed Clampett in 1993’s The Beverly Hillbillies and he voiced Slinky the Dog in Toy Story and Toy Story 2. Varney passed away in 2000 at age 50 and was laid to rest in Kentucky. 

Johnny Maddox

Born and raised in Gallatin, Johnny Maddox was a world-renowned ragtime piano player whose first record was with Dot Records, also out of Gallatin; Maddox was also the first artist that Dot Records signed. Maddox traveled extensively throughout his life demonstrating his phenomenal abilities on the piano. Maddox also owned the largest collection of historic sheet music in the world. He passed away in 2018 and was laid to rest in the historic Gallatin City Cemetery. 

Joanne Cash

Joanne Cash, sister of Johnny Cash, made a name for herself in the music industry as she worked at her brother Johnny’s recording studio/offices in Hendersonville in the 1960s. She sang on the Grand Ole Opry in the 1970s as part of the “Grand Ole Gospel Time” show. Cash married Dr. Harry Yates and together they started the Nashville Cowboy Church in Nashville, where Joanne often sings during service. Cash still books engagements where she shares her music, her family’s stories, and her faith. In 2019 Cash and her album Unbroken were winners at the Arkansas CMA Awards for Inspirational Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Music Video of the Year. When asked why most of the Cash family moved to Hendersonville, Cash said it was the country when the family moved there and that it was a peaceful retreat away from Nashville. 

Tommy Cash

Hendersonville resident Tommy Cash, brother of Johnny and Joanne Cash, was a musician in his own right. In the 1960s Cash played with Hank Williams, Jr., and secured a record deal for himself. He had several songs released into the 1970s including the hits “Six White Horses,” “One Song Away,” and “Rise and Shine.” Cash continued to make music into the 2000s. Throughout his career, Cash made several music appearances with his brother, Johnny, and today does speaking engagements sharing stories of the Cash family.  

Kimberley Locke

Gallatin’s own Kimberley Locke placed third in the 2003 season of American Idol. She later started her own entertainment company, I AM Entertainment, and has released several singles. Most recently Locke has co-hosted Dr. and the Diva with Dr. Steve Salvatore. Locke returned to Gallatin in 2017 to headline the Gallatin Eclipse Encounter. 

Ed Sheeran

If you were in Hendersonville in 2013 and thought you spotted British singer/songwriter and musician Ed Sheeran, you probably did! Sheeran lived on Old Hickory Lake in 2013 while he worked on material for his 2014 album, “X.” At all of his most recent concerts in Nashville, Sheeran has told the crowd how much he enjoyed living in Hendersonville! 

Ray Underhill

Professional skateboarder Ray Underhill was raised in Sumner County before moving to California in the mid-1980s. He created the Bones Brigade with Tony Hawk, Stacy Peralta, Mike McGill, and Steve Caballero. Sadly, Underhill passed away in 2008 at age 45. Gallatin unveiled a mural of Underhill in 2018 that pays homage to Underhill’s title as the first professional skateboarder from Middle Tennessee. 

Merle Kilgore

Although Merle Kilgore had a career as a country music singer, his skills as a songwriter propelled him to great success. He wrote “Johnny Reb” sung by Johnny Horton. In 1963, Kilgore and June Carter co-wrote the massive hit, “Ring of Fire,” that was popularized by Johnny Cash, Carter’s future husband. Kilgore also served as Cash’s best man when Cash married Carter in 1968. Later in life Kilgore was head of Hank Williams, Jr. Enterprises and he successfully managed other Nashville artists. Kilgore passed away in 2005 and was laid to rest at Hendersonville Memory Gardens near the Cash family. 

Max Boren Axton

Mae Boren Axton was a Nashville institution and in 1955 she co-wrote one of Elvis Presley’s biggest hits, “Heartbreak Hotel.” Axton continued to work with recognizable names like Mel Tillis, Reba McEntire, Willie Nelson, Blake Shelton, and more. Many of them can be seen here discussing their love for Axton. Axton passed away in Hendersonville in 1997 and was laid to rest at Hendersonville Memory Gardens. 

Charlie Walker

Texas native Charlie Walker was a popular DJ in San Antonio in the 1950s and he was known for his honky-tonk songs, “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down,” “Who Will Buy the Wine?” and more. Walker joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1967 and was also a member of the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame. He passed away in 2008 in Hendersonville and was laid to rest at Hendersonville Memory Gardens. 

Garth Brooks

In 1987 a young Garth Brooks was trying to break out in the Nashville country music scene. He moved from Oklahoma to Hendersonville to pursue his music dream, which proved to be a great success! Today Brooks lives in nearby Goodlettsville, not too far from where he started in Tennessee! 

Chris Henderson

Mississippi native Chris Henderson found fame as the guitarist for 3 Doors Down, widely known for their smash hit, “Kryptonite.” Henderson relocated to Hendersonville where he lives when he isn’t on the road with 3 Doors Down. Henderson also works as a music producer and songwriter. 

Barbara Mandrell

Before living at her Fontanel estate in Nashville, Barbara Mandrell called Gallatin home from from 1976 until Fontanel was completed in 1988. During her time in Gallatin where she lived on Old Hickory Lake, Mandrell had several chart topping hits like, “One of a Kind Pair of Fools,” “Only A Lonely Heart Knows,” and “Happy Birthday Dear Heartache.” She is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, although Mandrell retired from performing in 1997. 

Jalen Hurd

Jalen Hurd grew up in Hendersonville and attended Beech High School, where his football talents attracted the attention of major scouts. After graduating from Beech in 2014, Hurd attended the University of Tennessee before transferring to Baylor University in 2017. In the 2019 NFL Draft held in Nashville, Hurd was drafted to the San Francisco 49ers. 

Ben Briley

American Idol contestant and Gallatin native Ben Briley placed 11th in the 2014 season of the show. Briley grew up in a musical family and he can play 12 instruments! As a child, Briley helped create Brothers and Sisters Day in Tennessee, which inspired President George W. Bush to declare June 2, 2001, as National Child’s Day. Briley still resides in Gallatin and is active in his singing and songwriting career. 

Owen Bradley

Owen Bradley, a native of Westmoreland, Tennessee, was one of the most influential people in the Nashville sound and rockabilly style of country music. Bradley and his brother Harold started Quonset Hut Studio in the late 1950s on what is now Music Row in Nashville. Bradley was a musician and music producer who worked with some of the biggest names in the industry from Patsy Cline to Conway Twitty. A life-size bronze statue of Bradley sitting at a piano can be found in Music Circle in Music Row. He was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame. Bradley passed away in 1998 and was laid to rest in Nashville. 

Is someone missing from this list? Let us know by sending us an email at info@visitsumnertn.com

For more information, contact Visit Sumner TN by either stopping in at 2310 Nashville Pike, Gallatin, TN 37066, by calling (888) 301-7886, or by emailing info@visitsumnertn.com 

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