AMT @ Mountain City, TN
Downtown Mountain City: Enjoy a walk through the beautiful downtown area whose history with music runs as deep as the hills. Follow a series of murals that tell the story of Johnson County's rich musical heritage.

Historic Mural Art
"Musical Mural Mile"
Featured Mural: "The Capture of Tom Dooley"
Mountain City, TN

Exit BR Parkway MilePost: 294

  Lead Artist: Cristy Dunn
Trail Member/Sponsor: Johnson County Center for the Arts

Featured Mural Description

   Featured Mural - "Birth of a Ballad:
   The Capture of Tom Dooley"

   (Mural shown above)
    This mural depicts the capture of the The infamous outlaw, Tom Dooley, who was captured in Johnson County, on the banks of Doe Creek. Blind Fiddler G.B. Grayson recorded the earliest version of The Ballad of Tom Dooley back in 1929. This mural, painted by Cristy Dunn, depicts Colonel Grayson with a rock in one hand and a pistol in the other. The legend is that he arrested Dooley with the rock and held the pistol on the North Carolina posse to keep them from hanging him on the spot. He made sure Dooley got home safely for a fair trial. The man painted on the brick is beloved fiddle player and nephew of Colonel Grayson, Frank Grayson.
  Location: 101 Old South Church Street
  Artist: Cristy Dunn

Mural Mile Map  

Mural Mention #1
Location: 301 W. Main Street
   Description #1 - First Sunrise
    First Sunrise Mural in Honor of Fred, Price, Clint Howard and Sons is installed at 301 West Main Street. Fiddlin' Fred Price and Clint Howard formed a group with Clarence "Tom" Ashley and were discovered by Folklorist Ralph Rinzler. They knew a young guitar picker named Doc Watson, who was playing on the streets in Boone and together the group hit the road. Among their many show dates were the University of California, the Pete Seegar Show, the Newport Folk Festival, and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Clint and Fred later formed a band with their sons and recorded The Ballad of Finley Preston, which tells the story of the last legal hanging in Tennessee. The hanging took place on the old courthouse lawn, which you can see from the mural site.
  Location: 301 West Main Street
  Artist: Cristy Dunn

Mural Mention #2
Location: 247 West Main Street
   Description #2
    - Black Smoke a Risin' and it Surely is a Train

    Everybody loves train songs, and they found their way into the repertoire of Johnson County's musicians. Train 45 was one of G.B. Grayson's biggest hits. Doc Watson, Fred Price and Clint Howard recorded New River Train. In his younger days, Clarence "Tom" Ashley and G.B. Grayson spent a lot of time buskin' at train stations and in the Coal Fields.
  Location: 247 West Main Street
  Artist: Temple Reece

Mural Mention #3
Location: 127 College Street
   Description #3 - 1925 Fiddler's Convention
    This mural was painted by more than twenty community members of all ages in a community workshop led by Artist, Cristy Dunn. The 1925 Fiddler's Convention was a watershed in the development of early country music. It was the first of the big conventions and the $50 gold piece put up by Buster Brown shoe company ensured that every noteworthy fiddler in the Southeast made the trip. The press of the crowd at the Old High School (now Heritage Hall) auditorium was so large, they were afraid the floor would fall through and opened the courthouse and Elementary School for overflow.
  Location: 127 College Street
  Artists: Community members

Mural Mention #5
Location: 100 West Main Street
   Description #5 - House of the Rising Sun
    Johnson County Musician Clarence "Tom" Ashley first recorded House of the Rising Sun back in 1928.
  Location: 100 West Main Street
  Artists: Andy Wright and Michael Eggers

Mural Mention #6
Location: 100 W. Main Street
   Description #6 - Amazing Grace
    Clarence "Tom" Ashley popularized the beloved hymn Amazing Grace during the Folk Revival of the 1960s. This mural features Clinton Chapel Church, a local treasure.
  Location: 100 West Main Street
  Artists: Judith Preston Burnham, Pam Aldridge Steinke, and Nancie Svensen

Mural Mention #7
Location: 100 W. Main Street
   Description #7 - If It Hadn't a Been for Grayson,
   I'd a Been in Tennessee

    This mural depicts Tom Dooley playing his fiddle on his way to being hanged. The infamous outlaw was captured in Johnson County and G.B. Grayson recorded the now famous ballad.
  Location: 100 West Main Street
  Artists: Karen Rose and LeAnna Garrett

Mural Mention #8
Location: 100 W. Main Street
   Description #8 - The Ballad of Finley Preston
    Finley Preston was the last person legally hanged in Tennessee. This Appalachian murder ballad recorded by Clint Howard, Fred Price and Sons and produced by Folklorist, Joe Wilson tells his story.
  Location: 100 West Main Street
  Artists: Bob and Pam Patterson and Ginny McCormick

Mural Mention #9
Location: 100 W. Main Street
   Description #9 - Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's
    This was one of the most influential albums in the folk revival and Doc Watson's first recording. It was inducted into the National Recording Registry in 2013 along with Simon and Garfunkle's The Sound of Silence and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.
  Location: 100 West Main Street
  Artists: Cristy Dunn, Tommi Mayo, and Theresa White

Mural Mention #10
Location: 100 W. Main Street
   Description #10 - Train 45
    Now a standard of Old Time and Country music, this was one of Blind Fiddler, G.B. Grayson's most popular recordings. "You ought'a been uptown, you could hear that train go down. You could hear the whistle blow one hundred miles."
  Location: 100 West Main Street

Mural Mention #11
Location: 100 Depot Street
   Description #11 - The Original Mountain Minstrel
    This mural depicts early country music legend, Clarence "Tom" Ashley playing music for his pony. Ashley's influence on early country music cannot be overstated. He called his signature clawhammer tuning "Sawmill Key" or "Lassy Makin' key" and his unique sound influenced a whole generation of folk musicians, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Jerry Garcia.
  Location: 100 Depot Street

Featured Artist Bio: Cristy Dunn

     Cristy Dunn in her own words:      My paintings and murals tell the stories of Makers and of the power of the Arts to uplift the human spirit. I create traditional oil portraits, using the timeless techniques of the Old Masters. I often incorporate silver leaf, which adds an ethereal element. Glazes create light filled surfaces. When someone sees my work I want them to feel a connection to the sacredness within us all.

     The strongest influences on my work have always been close to home. These influences include sounds and imagery from the Old Time Music that permeated my childhood and the woods and forests that still surround my home. My grandfather was a Fiddler, and his music held the power to transform the greatest of life's hardships. Somehow, through his music, he taught me the same. I began to paint at a very young age. I remember being swept away by the process of creating when the adversity of life became nearly unbearable.

     My current body of work features Makers, their tools, and their processes. Birds and Butterflies often find their way into my paintings. These winged creatures symbolize the metaphorical flight we embark upon as artists, as we are swept away from the cares of life and into a state of Creative Flow.

     In addition to works in Oil and Silver Leaf on panel, I created a series of murals to honor and preserve the heritage of Old Time Music and Arts in my community. These murals, installed throughout downtown Mountain City, depict legends of Old Time Music from Johnson County, including GB Grayson, who first recorded the Ballad of Tom Dooley and Clarence Tom Ashley. The murals sparked a revival of interest in the history and music of Johnson County and inspired Long Journey Home, a musical heritage festival. The murals tell our community's collective story and celebrate a rich heritage that was nearly forgotten. Learn more at

Copyright © Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, Inc non-profit 2016-2099

     Mural News

     AMT @ Mountain City, TN

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     AMT @ Mountain City, TN


    comment by: Gloria
Love, love, love ❤ all the art we saw and experienced while in Asheville!!Laura

    comment by: Lois
Brilliant way to allow visitors to enjoy the sites and sounds that Asheville has to offer.

    comment by: Rebecca&Susan
We just loved all of the murals in Asheville! Asheville is a fun vibrant interesting town!

    comment by: Catherine Wilson
    (Asheville, NC)

As a member of Carolina Street Mural group, I learned about The Appalachian Mural Trail! After reviewing your web page. I planned my road trips to locate the trail murals, reflect on them and photograph memories of my trip!

    comment by: Tammy Compton
    (Fort Myers, Florida)

Love it! We went looking to take selfies with 3 and found over 20 murals!

    comment by: Angie Trapp
    (Concord, NC)

Beautiful mural in Sparta, one of my favorite places! 😊❤️

    comment by: Debra
    (Falls Church City, VA)

Thanks for letting me know! What a great project!
It added cool stops to my visit and I love seeing art and the artist was around that day to meet.

    comment by: Cristy (Mountain City, TN)
We have been getting much more traffic around our murals, and a lot of it is due to the publicity from your organization!
Thank you!
We will unveil our newest (and largest) mural on September 4th.

    comment by: Cindy Hedrick Day
It's beautiful! Thank you!!!!
Awesome! You made my day! Love love love it!.
I saw the email re the Mural Trail special in process of being made. Can't wait to see it. We are working to finish our projects, exhibit changes, etc. Who knew it would take so long! But, it's soon finished!!!
Looking forward to seeing this!
Thank you again!!!

    comment by: Marcie Toomey
This is our second visit to Holy Trinity.. we always leave blessed and humbled ❤️

    comment by: Chelsea
Thank you so much for the quick response! I received my shirt and thoroughly enjoyed the trail! Thank you for all of the hard work put into this project!

    comment by: Debbie Dillion
Just came across your website and it is great! I plan to look for these murals in my travels. A phone app would be awesome.

    comment by: Carol
Lincolnton, NC, is loaded with murals! And I love them all!

    comment by: Barry & Cindy Beaulieu
we got to see the Fresco in W. Jefferson NC and is amazing ... we were on our two wheeler the Voyager... nature declares there is a God... everywhere you look... thanking ya'll so very very much...

    comment by: Vickie Sealock
    (Welcome Center Manager)

I love what you folks are doing. Several years ago we went to Exeter California to see their Mural trail. We spent hours in this little town looking at the murals and trying to find the hidden objects in each. We talked with the towns people, had lunch, shopped in the shops. I love the mural trails, and yours is going to be one of the best. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

    comment by: Liz
Art is everywhere in Asheville! This gorgeous mural of Dolly Parton by Gus Cutty is the newest mural you'll see in town. Gus created the mural with spray paint in 3 days. See it for yourself at Beauty Parade on Haywood Rd in West Asheville.

    comment by: Karen
Roanoke murals are awesome to see... love the mural with girl floating in air... the poetry one was neat!

    comment by: Big Tom
This is great mural art, will be remembered a long time...

    comment by: Bob
This is very expansive mural, covers many walls inside the cradle building. Beautiful art mural, a must see!

    comment by: Dolly
Love the big murals!!!

    comment by: Lisa Patten
I love the mural trail. It's like seeing a gift at Christmas!

    comment by: Ann Barbare
Beautiful mural of Maggie Valley

    comment by: Jennifer
Love your mural artwork! The local references, the depiction of marvelous, beautiful, and colorful nature - landscapes, birds, animals, butterflies, and glorious flowers - invites close study and is very engaging!

    comment by: Carol
Looks like progress being made! Can't wait to see the mural at Joeys.

    comment by: anonymous
Can't wait to see this beautiful mural art in person at Joey's Pancake House

    comment by: Amy
I love your little sneak-a-peek view. Need more...

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     AMT @ Mountain City, TN

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