7. Birthplace of Country Music Legends

Ever heard of Sam and Kirk McGee?

The legendary country-music duo was born in southeastern Williamson County in the 1890s. According to the Encyclopedia of Country Music, as a teenager, Sam picked up slide-guitar and other blues techniques from African-American railroad workers and street musicians in the county, and he and Kirk adapted blues and ragtime styles to the string band format.

The brothers were prolific— first appearing on the Grand Ole Opry stage in 1926 and performing together for the next 50 years, until Sam died. Kirk continued playing until his death in 1983.

Sam typically played guitar and Kirk usually played banjo or fiddle. After a year at the Opry, they joined Uncle Dave Macon’s the Fruit Jar Drinkers. In the 1930s, they played with a string band known as the Dixieliners and in the 1940s played with Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys, among other acts.

They saw a resurgence in the 50s and 60s with the rise of folk music, playing on college campuses and festivals.