Tennessee is synonymous with country music.
This is mostly due to the all-famous Nashville, with its Grand Ole Opry and numerous record labels. Despite Knoxville being more than 180-mile distance from the home of country music, Knoxville brings its own taste of country. One example is the Cotton Eyed Joe.
The Cotton Eyed Joe is a country-themed night club located on Outlet Drive, complete with cowboy bouncers, a rodeo bull and a full menu. Every Sunday, the club holds a "College Night," when those with student IDs can receive free coverage, according to their website.
However, it is not just the lack of cover charge that has attracted students to the Cotton Eyed Joe at the beginning of the week. Sunday nights also feature line dancing lessons, which take place in their indoor pavilion from 7-9 p.m.
"I heard about it from my friends and people I take classes with," said Alexis Jolley, freshman in interior design. "They said it was fun and that I should check it out."
Anna Truong, sophomore in nutrition, is also familiar with the Cotton Eyed Joe's line dancing lessons.
"I had a friend that forced me to go one night and I just ended up loving it," Truong said. "I normally go two times a month, but in the summer I went a lot because I had more time."
First, the instructors call everyone up and teach the dance step-by-step, going over it multiple times to ensure everyone has the steps. Then, the dancers get a chance to put it all together in a slow and fast version of the song. The song choice varies from country classics like "Wagon Wheel" to modern dance tunes like "The Cupid Shuffle."
"My favorite dance is the Cotton Eye Joe," Jolley said.
However, those with a little trouble on their feet shouldn't feel discouraged.
"You have to put yourself out there and look embarrassing for the first few times, but then you finally get it, and it feels awesome," Truong said.
The Cotton Eyed Joe has more to offer than just Sunday night line dancing. They also have many different events and concerts. Thursdays are free karaoke night, and upcoming artists to perform at the Joe include Chris Lane, Black Jack Billy and Chris Hennessee, according to its website.
"Their concerts have such amazing country artists," Truong said. "The venue is really small, so you get really close to the performers. I would recommend going because you can talk to them and get pictures with them."
Jolley emphasized the atmosphere of the Joe as one of the main draws for UT students.
"It's lively, fun and really enjoyable," Jolley said. "I would definitely recommend others go. It's a good experience."
More information about specials, upcoming events and menu at the Joe can be found on its website. You can also visit the Joe's Facebook page for updates on events and photos.