Music legend Clarence “Tom” Ashley has been honored by the State of Tennessee with a new “Tennessee Music Pathways” marker in downtown Mountain City.

The marker is in front of the Tom Ashley Mural located at the corner of Donnelly Street and South Church Street, and was officially unveiled Tuesday.

The event also marked the launch of the "Musical Heritage Mural Mile,” a new walking tour throughout downtown Mountain City. The self-guided mural tour connects folks to a storied history of authentic Appalachian music including Clarence “Tom” Ashley, Blind Fiddler G.B. Grayson, who first recorded the Ballad of Tom Dooley, plus Fred Price and Clint Howard, who introduced the young Doc Watson to the world. All murals are the work of local Johnson County Tennessee artists.

Clarence “Tom” Ashley was a performer, an artist, and a showman who spent 30 years traveling with a medicine show where he played clawhammer banjo, sang, and performed as a comedian. For two years, he traveled with a young fiddler named Roy Acuff. Ashley was the first to record the legendary "House of the Rising Sun," a song he learned from his grandfather, Enoch. Later, he influenced a whole generation of folk music of the 1950’s and 60’s including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jean Ritchie, and Doc Watson.

You can get more information and a downloadable map online at