- Tennessee crossroads is made possible in part by, Truist as committed to the communities and people it serves across Tennessee offering in-person and online banking, investment, and other financial services for individuals and businesses more at truist.com Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways, discover Tennessee's adventure, cuisine, history, and more made in Tennessee experiences showcased among these 16 driving trails more at TNTrailsAndByways.com - This time on Tennessee crossroads, we toured the ranch of a country music legend, then sampled some scrumptious barbecue in Brownsville. We'll meet our inspirational artist in Leiper's Fork, and finally have some cheesecake from Clarksville for dessert. Hi everybody I'm Joe Elmore. That's the menu for this edition of Tennessee Crossroads We had originally planned to air our first story spotlighting Loretta Lynn's ranch a few weeks ago, then tragedy struck. Catastrophic rains west of Nashville took a terrible tow in lives, lost and homes destroyed. Well, our hearts go out to all those who were impacted by the storms. Recently, we received word from Loretta's ranch saying they've been working tirelessly to reopen and running the story now would greatly help them get back on their feet. So how could we say no? Laura Faber takes us to the home of the one and only coal miner's daughter. ♪ 'Cause you aint woman enough to take my man ♪ - [Laura] She is one of the original Queens of country music, 24 number one hits, 11 number one albums, Reda Lynn is a music icon. She also owns a town, which has become one of the top tourist attractions in Tennessee. - It's a three-part business, kind of all mashed in together to make one unique giant business here in rural middle Tennessee, where a campground and event center and a tourist attraction, all based around the rental end. - [Laura] Anthony Brutto is the general manager of the Loretta Lynn ranch, which spans more than 3000 acres in Humphreys county. - I've always viewed the ranches, this event, venue, this, this unique place that we can do all sorts of different things. We are at the 40th year for the Amateur National Motocross Championship. We are at the 38th year of our horseback week long trail rides. We're at the 20th year of the MTTR motorcycle Off-road rides the Jeep event that just happened 1200 Jeeps and 3,500 people. You know, they come out and they get to enjoy the property. Like I did like our family did and exactly how Meemaw wants it to happen. - [Laura] Yup. Anthony called Loretta Lynn Meemaw.. He is her grandson. - For me, Loretta Lynn. There are two different versions of Loretta Lynn. They're the same, but they're also different. I have Loretta Lynn as a grandmother, she is just like everybody else's grandmother. When I got in trouble, I would get spanked with the wooden spoon, flyswatter, whatever was in within arm's reach. But when it comes to Loretta Lynn as a stage performer, she is one of the most awarded ladies in country music. She is, I mean, she's won pretty much every award that you can be nominated for, every award that there is. She has everything from Grammys to the presidential medal of freedom. She still to this day is, is rocking out. She's got six decades of music under her belt. She's got 60 studio albums. - [Laura] The 18,000 square foot museum is full of clues about Loretta's life, family photos, her many awards, her gorgeous dresses, some way 30 pounds. You can even walk through her tour bus. - All right, So this was the original bus of my grandmother, of Loretta Lynn. They say that there's about 3 million miles on this bus. - Taylor Lynn is also one of Loretta Lynn's grandchildren an entertainer and ranch ambassador. She tours with Conway Twitty grandson, performing many of the duo songs. - I think that one of the most important things for me in my life is to preserve the legacy of Loretta Lynn, of my grandmother. We have the museum here that, you know, she was a hoarder for a really long time. And Tim Cobb, who is, is her, her right hand has done such a beautiful job with putting this museum together and, and preserving that, you know, she talks about how the whole reason they have the ranch is for the fans, is for the people is, is so that her music can live on and not just her music, but, but what she's done as a woman, as an entertainer, as you know, in women's rights, in just a movement as a truth teller. So absolutely it's, it's one of my most important journeys. - As the story goes, Loretta and her husband Mooney, we're looking for a place to settle in the country and got lost. They stumbled across the waterfall by an old gristmill and up on the hill, a beautiful white house. When they bought the 19th century plantation in 1966, almost the entire town of Hurricane Mills came with it. The towns working post office still resides on her ranch. - When people found out that Loretta Lynn lived out here, though, they started coming to see where Loretta Lynn lived, you know, and, and it started off as people would come and take pictures and you could, you could meet Loretta. She was out gardening. She was out doing stuff. I mean, this was her home. So what she decided to do was give people a place to stay. And it started off a very small campground with some very few cabins. And it's kind of just grown. It's grown to be one of the largest campgrounds in middle Tennessee. - [Laura] One of the newest additions to the ranch is this mural that spans 40 feet showcasing Loretta's legacy from the start to present day. Also on the property includes an exact replica of the home that Loretta grew up in, in butcher holler, Kentucky, 10 people lived in this home and it's exact down to the pages from catalogs and magazines that they use to seal up the walls and ceiling. The property itself is of historic note with many landmarks from the 1800s, the gristmill is one of three buildings on site that sit on the historic register. You could buy everything from baby formula to your coffin here. And it was one of the first hydroelectric plants in Tennessee. - They say that people used to come from miles in horse and buggy to come and see the lights lit up at night. For a short period of time, it powered the town of Waverly. - [Laura] Loretta has since moved out of the grand plantation home into a smaller house, still on the property. But it's changed very little from when she did live there. - Now with Mooney's out there. You see the Wranglers to work shirt and the cowboy hat. That's what you would have seen that man in any given day. - [Laura] From the avocado green bathroom to the kitchen where her old Crisco commercials were filmed to her extensive collection. - I'm gonna tell you real quick, y'all she loved her ride bond lady, but not here. As much as our Avon lady. - [Laura] The boots on the floor in her bedroom were actually worn by Mooney, when they visited the white house. Loretta Lynn's ranch is a special destination created for all of us, combining the outdoor beauty and history of small town, Tennessee, and a snapshot of a superstar's well lived life. - My job is to preserve the legacy of Loretta Lynn Ranch. It's really a blessing and an honor. - I feel so blessed, to be able to, to be the face of, of sort of, of Meemaw's, to be able to step onto her social media, to step on the ranches social media, to say, "hi, I'm the host. Welcome to our ranch." Like, that is not something that I take for granted or that I don't thank God for every day that I get to be out here and stand up and say, "God, this is my family's ranch, and we welcome you and we love you and isn't Mimo awesome" - Thanks Laura. You know it's heartening to learn about the success of a business we've previously visited on Tennessee crossroads, such as the case of Helen's BBQ in Brownsville. This unassuming little place in west Tennessee has earned an international reputation. The secret to it has all to do with change, or as you'll see the lack of it. [Joe] A few miles north of interstate 40, Brownsville is the county seat of Haywood county. In addition to its quaint historic public square, there are other attractions here that make the town worthy of a stock, such as the west Tennessee Delta Heritage Center with museum celebrating everything from cotton to regional music, not to mention the childhood schoolhouse of the queen of rock and roll Tina Turner. Then there's this curious attraction? What is it? Well, it's called the mind field, a structure that began in 1989 by local artists, Billy Trap. It's a collection of steel parts and pieces all painted battleship gray. Strange? Yes, but quite a unique and fascinating side for sure. There's one Brownsville attraction that not only has fans all over the state, it's got a worldwide fan base. I'm talking about Helen's famous barbecue. You might remember seeing Helen Turner's place back in 2008 in a Tennessee crossroads barbecue special called "Smoking" Well, on this recent trip got discovered not much has changed at Helen's BBQ. That is if you don't count her national attention and celebrity status in the world of barbecue. - Well, I wouldn't say a celebrity, but I've been on quite a few shows and quite a few magazines. The first magazine I made was "Saveur" magazine out of New York. - [Joe] Her cooking methods haven't changed, for her it's all about time tested simplicity. - I don't see any secret in it, you know, I don't put any season on the meat. I just make my fire, let the woods burn down, put them shoulders on the pit and just put the fire under the shoulders and just let them cook all day long. - [Joe] And her sauce gets kudos from food critics and fans alike. - You know, I make it myself and everybody loves it and I sell a lot of it. Matter of fact, I got somebody to be here in a few minutes for a gallon of it, a mile and a quarter hot. Everything in here is homemade, peel those potatoes, cook them and make my own potato salad, grate up my cabbage make my own slaw. And I, well, you know, I buy those big gallon can of pork and beans, but I add all my season to that. - [Joe] Helen just may be the only female barbecue cook and proprietor in the state. Although she never stops to relish the distinction. - Well, they tell me I'm pretty much the only female that cook with wood, hickory and oak. - [Joe] Yeah, you use hickory and oak right? - I mix it because you know, the hickory get hot, get really hot. So I mixed the wood, you know to tone it down some - [Joe] Where there's wood and fire there smoke, lots of smoke. You have to wonder how does she endure it? - Ooh! smokey, I've been crying. I've been crying ever since I've been cooking. See what it's doing to me. I don't care how long I've been doing this. It's still making me cry. - I just walked through there and I'm crying. Helen thought about retiring after 25 plus years of hard work in the pit and kitchen. But fortunately she changed her mind when her husband Leonard came on board. - And my husband helped out a lot now, since he retired, he'd been retired now for a year, but him helping me out is wonderful. - [Joe] Since the COVID pandemic, Helen's BBQ has been carry-out-only and business has been brisk, now with so many regulars from the surrounding area why Helen knows what many will order, as soon as they show up. - Some of them do. And sometime I tell them, look, I'm getting old. Now y'all gotta help me out. - Anytime I'm, I'm in close to the area, I always come to Helen's. So it's a, she does a great job for sauce, very unique. And we, we, we really like her product. - Over the years, Helen has filled several notebooks full of signatures and comments from happy customers, literally from all over the world. "I already love you, Helen. Dan from Denmark." This is what truly keeps Helen Turner going. Not so much the money or the notoriety. It's the joy of pleasing people with some of the best barbecue in the south and making new friends from places near and far. - Good to see you. Thank you. - But you know, it gives me the thrill because I get to meet a lot of different people. And I enjoy that. - What you been up to? - Few things have the power to affect us. The white art and literature can, images and words can inspire a greatness cause despair or bring us joy. Recently, Ed Jones met Leiper's Fork artist who combines images and the written word to bring about a sense of peace in the viewer. Here's the story of David Arms. - If I had to sum up my work and one word, it would be hope. People just they're hungry for it. They're longing for it. And I just think that something deep down there's that strong desire for. - [Ed] Hope Springs Eternal from the artwork of David Arms arriving a bit late to the world of painting, the native east Tennessee and made up for lost time. And now uses his talents to share positivity with a world sorely lacking it, but success didn't happen overnight. As a matter of fact, his first work was less about finding peace and more of a way. - To decorate the house, honestly, that one didn't have to meet a whole lot of inspiration. It was years down the road I started being inspired by the things I loved and things meant something to me. - [Ed] You can find many things close to David's heart in and around his gallery in the picture ask Hamlet of Leiper's Fork. - Well, nature's a big, big inspiration. I've loved nature since I was a kid still to this day, I just, I mean, all of it, there are a couple of birds I use for specific reason and one isn't hummingbird. You see those a lot. And you know, I see those as us just perpetual motion, but then the first time I ever saw one light on a lamb, I remember it so clearly. I'd never seen a still hummingbird and it was shocking. It was, I thought, "wow, that is us, we almost don't know what to do when we stop." And then another one is, I use the bobwhite quail a lot. You'll see it on the outside of the gallery. It's almost a logo for me now. That's, it's just a sentimental bird. My dad raised bird dogs and we trained them to point quail. And so they were a part of life there. You heard quail all the time where I was from. I look at them and use them as us, as humans and our busy-ness and taking care of home, building home. It's that, I watch the, I do see us. And, and so really the scenarios are created in paintings are reflecting us. - [Ed] Many of David's works, combine his love of nature with his love of the written word. - Sometimes I'll use a single word just to promote thought it can, that can, one word could stimulate all different thoughts and people, even in short form, they can really stimulate someone's thought, because it's where they are in life of how they're gonna receive a word. One that you'll see is simply, "be still and know." And it's been amazing to me that that is the thing that resonates with people the most, until I really think it through. And I think it's the thing people long for. They really do wish for that, but in this busy-ness, it's hard to make that happen. - [Ed] For David, escaping the busy-ness of modern life is as simple as visiting his gallery, a barn resting, where it was originally constructed more than a century ago. - I'd shown in galleries in numerous states for years, but I always wanted the chance to do it the way I wanted to do it. It wouldn't be a conventional gallery. And then I got a call about this barn being renovated. And I knew when I walked in the door, it was me, and it was questionable whether this would make it through a renovation and then magic started happening. And it truly is a piece of heaven. - [Ed] David son-in-law Blake, manages the gallery, which has become a reflection of the artist himself. - We're humbled by this, most people kind of call it a sanctuary, it's just a, a place where people can hopefully relax from the stress of everyday life, which is intentional, but it's just always humbling to know and see that people actually experienced that. He's always thinking of new things to create other than just artwork, but things created from his artwork. It's kind of become this, what we would consider a lifestyle brand. There's the sign on the gallery that under David Arms reads, "Art, style, living". Those three words kind of sum up the brand as a whole. A lot of people consider it kind of a sanctuary. - I wanted it to be like, instead of walking into a sterile gallery, that when you walk in that door, it's like walking into my living room , we just want people to be, if they want to come sit in the chairs and just take in nature. Sit by the fire, where fires going when the weather allows it. And, but yeah, it's all about feeling more like home than a gallery. - Leiper's Fork is just a unique place. We talk about it often. There's not a lot of places like this left in the country with this unique charm and eclectic. And I mean, we're only 30, 35 minutes from Nashville, depending on traffic, but it feels like you're in a completely different world. - We just want to be something that offers a bright spot, healing spot, whatever for people that, that just need it. We don't have to know why they needed it or anything. It's just, we just feel like that's part of our mission. Our calling here is to provide it. And if we can just be that a moment to breathe in a day, if they walk in this door down discouraged or just overwhelmed by turning on the news, that there can be something to bring a sense of peace and definitely leave them with a sense of hope. Then I would feel like I've done all that I wanted to do. - Thanks Ed. When it comes to topping off a really good meal, there are a few classic desserts that are staples on most menus. Ken Wilshire met a Clarksville couple who truly take the cake, cheesecake that is, when it comes to their passion for sweet treats. - [Ken Wilshire] Cheesecake, just say the word to yourself. Well, for many of us, our minds have been conditioned to sense it's creamy tantalizing texture, and it's a blindly subtle sweetness and dating back to ancient Greece. It's been one of the most popular desserts the world has ever enjoyed. And so it is today. In fact, just visit this tiny little shop, overlooking the Cumberland river in Clarksville. There's usually a line of folks waiting for freshly baked individual cheesecakes. - Hey, y'all have a great day. - [Ken Wilshire] It's called B's Cheesecakes and it's the creation of Bonita and Jim Lacey. - So I actually made mine a whole different. - You see Bonita or Ms. B as she's called, started baking cheesecakes for family meals and events. The demand soon became so great. She left her promising career in industrial quality control to pursue some pretty sweet dreams. - We were actually doing the cheesecakes at the downtown market, about three and a half years on the side. So finally, it got to be where it was more than we could handle. I, you know, was not sleeping at all. So we, we finally decided that it was time for me to quit my job. We came to a time when we had paid our house off. So we were financially ready. We didn't have to go into debt. This became available, so we jumped and haven't looked back since. - [Ken Wilshire] Cheesecake comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors. It's often topped with every conceivable delight and for thousands of years, we've savored at simple richness. Since Ms. B's cheesecakes are baked New York style, that's basically high, dense and firm, it's the creative toppings flavors and presentations that set hers apart from all the rest. - We're upwards to over a hundred flavors now because we play a lot and we tell people we just don't care. We love to play, we love to experiment. And our customers love that. We've got six flavors that stay every day and then the rest of our flavors just roll in and out. And there is no rhyme or reason as to what flavor we have on what day, because I tell people that I worked by a schedule for 28 years and we don't work by a schedule here. We work by whatever we want to come in and bake we'll take suggestions, but everybody watches the menu. The menu gets posted about 10, about 10 o'clock every morning, right before I unlock the doors we post the main new. - [Ken Wilshire] Ms. B creates hundreds of cheesecakes a day for folks who visit from around the country. Her love for baking is obvious, that she has a special place in her heart for taking care of her customers. - She goes to her preschool, just down the road and it's our little treat. So when we, we leave preschool, she'll sit there and say, "cake" so she's, she's one of the Ms. B biggest fans. - And I really don't know what makes it any different. Like I tell people sometimes I just don't even measure. I mean, I can do it with my eyes closed now, but I do it by texture and by feel you, you adjust your ingredients to the batter and it just, it's just delicious. - [Ken Wilshire] Delicious? Well, even the shop full of bobble heads seem to nod in agreement, but what can make her cheesecakes even more tasty? - Do do a maple candy bacon week. My husband candies the bacon with brown sugar and pure maple syrup and it is delicious. - You'll find Ms. B's personal touch and passion for quality control everywhere in the bakery, but it's now B's and she's in control. - When you work in quality, in manufacturing. There is always a problem. There's always something that you have to deal with. There's always something wrong that you have to deal with. That's why there's quality there, you know, to try to fix those issues and you never make people happy. You know, there's always something that you're complaining about. Something is shot at, got to take care of. Here we make people happy every day, every day. And if they're not happy, we will make them happy. - [Ken Wilshire] Well, this culinary artist isn't happy until her works are signed. while it's not a B, it is a counterclockwise swirl of sweetness on a creamy round canvas. It's her quality stamp of approval that this is the best batch of bees cheesecakes ever. Well until the next ones. - I've never, ever looked back. It's a lot of work. There are days when I leave here and we're exhausted and we're tired, but I love it every day. I love every day that I opened up that door with a key that's my own key. So I love it. - Well that about caps off and other addition at Tennessee crossroads. Thanks for joining us. Don't forget about our website, TennesseeCrossroads.org. You can follow us on Facebook and by all means, join me here next week. I'll see you then. - Tennessee Crossroads is made possible in part by Truist is committed to the communities and people it serves across Tennessee offering in-person and online banking, investment, and other financial services for individuals and businesses more at truist.com Discover Tennessee trails and byways, discover Tennessee's adventure, cuisine, history, and more made in Tennessee experiences showcased among these 16 driving trails, more at tntrailsandbyways.com.
October 07, 2021
Season 35 | Episode 12
Laura Faber tours Loretta Lynn's ranch. Joe Elmore makes a return trip to Helen's Bbq in Brownsville. Ed Jones spotlights artist David Arms. Ken Wilshire samples the sweet treats at B's Cheesecakes in Clarksville.