Take a road trip down High way no.19 on the Tina Turner Highway
For Tina Turner fans, and anyone who jumps up to dance the Nutbush at a party, the tiny Tennessee town of Nutbush is a great addition to any Deep South road trip.
The Nutbush is more than a song. Nestled in Tennessee cotton country, it is also a town, and one that is best known as the birthplace of the “Queen of Rock and Roll”, Tina Turner.
After driving down the “highway number nineteen” immortalized in Turner’s hit song, Nutbush City Limits, tourists find themselves in the town itself – Nutbush, Tennessee.
With a population of around 300, the town of Nutbush is small. It has also seen better days, with a few ramshackled buildings to be found. But for some tourists, this only adds to this Tennessee town’s charm.
Tina Turner, or Anna Mae Bullock, as she was known at the time, was born in Nutbush, and spent some of her childhood years in the town. Unfortunately, Turner’s Nutbush home no longer exists, nor do some of the buildings she sings about in her classic track.
The Nutbush Grocery and Deli is the only store that is now open in town, but tourists can still visit one of Nutbush’s two church houses. Turner sang in the choirs for both the Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church and the Spring Hill Baptist church, both of which still stand to this day. Some of Turner’s family members are buried in the two cemeteries.
The Tina Turner Highway Drives Through Nutbush City Limits
In 2001, part of the Highway Number 19 that features in Turner’s song, was renamed the Tina Turner Highway in her honor. The Tina Turner Highway runs from Nutbush to nearby Brownsville, and features road signs that are worth featuring in a happy snap.
Unfortunately one sign that tourists are unable to take a photo with is the “Nutbush City Limits” one that many would expect. In fact, Nutbush is an unincorporated town, and so does not have any real city limits to speak of. That said, there is a “Nutbush – Unincorporated” sign on the highway to include in the photo album.
After taking the chance to visit Nutbush, and walk around the streets Tina Turner grew up in, road trippers can then enjoy a drive through the cotton fields of the Mississippi River valley.
Pictures by Thomas Machnitzki