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Author Topic: Can anyone identify the freeway on this album cover?  (Read 2100 times)

KCRoadFan

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Can anyone identify the freeway on this album cover?
« on: September 10, 2021, 08:03:55 PM »



This image is the back cover of Strangers Almanac, a 1997 album by Whiskeytown, an alternative-country band based out of Raleigh, NC. As you can see, there is a picture of an unspecified interstate highway somewhere in the US, presumably in the South. Ever since I first picked up the CD case, I had wondered where exactly that freeway might be.

As you can see if you look closely, in the far background there appears to be an exit sign BGS, but it's too small to make out anything on it. Closer to the camera, there are a couple blue services signs, and the one in the foreground has a tab with the exit number on it. At one time when I picked up the CD case, I looked closely at the picture and seemed to make out that the exit number was 117. Assuming that to be the case, I then looked in my The Next Exit book to find exits with that number in the band's native state of North Carolina, as well as in neighboring states.

From my research, I found that, while NC has no interstates with an Exit 117, there is an exit with that number in neighboring Tennessee, on I-65 near the town of Portland, just south of the Kentucky line. What's more, I'm pretty certain that that is, in fact, where the photo for the album cover was taken. The exit is just 30 miles north of Nashville, where (according to the album's Wikipedia article) the band recorded the album - one could easily imagine, between recording sessions, one of the band members going on a little jaunt to find a good picture to put on the album cover. In fact, when I looked on Street View at the northbound approach to the exit, I saw a scene that almost exactly matched what I saw on the album cover - minus the rock outcropping, that is. (Link to the Street View image is here.)

Is there anyone else who can verify this? (Preferably someone who has listened to the album, and/or lived in the region in the late '90s.) I'm interested in finding out - I've been rather curious about it.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 08:14:41 PM by KCRoadFan »
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hbelkins

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Re: Can anyone identify the freeway on this album cover?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2021, 09:08:17 PM »

Not I-65 in Tennessee. It's still two lanes. This is a three-lane road.
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KCRoadFan

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Re: Can anyone identify the freeway on this album cover?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2021, 09:27:13 PM »

Well, my other theory was that it could be I-75 in Georgia. At the time the album came out in 1997, the exit numbers in Georgia were still sequential - what was Exit 117 then (which would be Exit 271 today) is in Kennesaw, in the north suburbs of Atlanta. Might the picture have been taken there? A three-lane freeway would be more likely in such a location.
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tdindy88

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Re: Can anyone identify the freeway on this album cover?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2021, 09:33:44 PM »

Not I-65 in Tennessee. It's still two lanes. This is a three-lane road.

I'm surprised you didn't consider your own state. This is I-65 southbound around Shepardsville, Kentucky.

This link should confirm it: https://goo.gl/maps/jgSojaa2YT6CsZCa6
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Re: Can anyone identify the freeway on this album cover?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2021, 09:58:24 PM »

I'm sure that I-75 in GA at what was exit 117, was indeed a six-lane freeway in 1997. However, I agree with the above post that that's not where the photo is from. The blue logo signs in Georgia have never used an exit tab (and back then the regular green signs didn't use tabs either), so that to me is a hint that it's not Georgia.
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KCRoadFan

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Re: Can anyone identify the freeway on this album cover?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2021, 11:59:03 PM »

Not I-65 in Tennessee. It's still two lanes. This is a three-lane road.

I'm surprised you didn't consider your own state. This is I-65 southbound around Shepardsville, Kentucky.

This link should confirm it: https://goo.gl/maps/jgSojaa2YT6CsZCa6

Well, at least I got my first guess right, as far as the interstate and the exit number. Just a little bit off on the state :-;

I looked at the Street View link. Interesting to see that the same blue sign is still around two decades later!
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hbelkins

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Re: Can anyone identify the freeway on this album cover?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2021, 09:53:40 PM »

Not I-65 in Tennessee. It's still two lanes. This is a three-lane road.

I'm surprised you didn't consider your own state. This is I-65 southbound around Shepardsville, Kentucky.

This link should confirm it: https://goo.gl/maps/jgSojaa2YT6CsZCa6

Well, at least I got my first guess right, as far as the interstate and the exit number. Just a little bit off on the state :-;

I looked at the Street View link. Interesting to see that the same blue sign is still around two decades later!

I still have my doubts. Street View doesn't show the mountains in the background or the BGS that are visible in the album cover. It also doesn't show the blue services sign in the distance.

I'm very familiar with Shepherdsville, as I have two uncles and two first cousins who live there. I've used the exit from southbound I-65 to KY 44 many times.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Can anyone identify the freeway on this album cover?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2021, 11:04:05 PM »

Not I-65 in Tennessee. It's still two lanes. This is a three-lane road.

I'm surprised you didn't consider your own state. This is I-65 southbound around Shepardsville, Kentucky.

This link should confirm it: https://goo.gl/maps/jgSojaa2YT6CsZCa6

Well, at least I got my first guess right, as far as the interstate and the exit number. Just a little bit off on the state :-;

I looked at the Street View link. Interesting to see that the same blue sign is still around two decades later!

I still have my doubts. Street View doesn't show the mountains in the background or the BGS that are visible in the album cover. It also doesn't show the blue services sign in the distance.

I'm very familiar with Shepherdsville, as I have two uncles and two first cousins who live there. I've used the exit from southbound I-65 to KY 44 many times.

Same image, zoomed in.  https://goo.gl/maps/AaCLgPWTDxkshS8P6   Mountains are visible.  BGS is visible.  The blue service sign is hidden by a truck.  Advance the GSV vehicle down the road slightly, and the blue sign is now visible.

The only thing different really is 30 years of tree and weed growth.  If you look at the 2011 GSV, you can see just how much tree growth has occurred in the 8 years between the 2011 & 2019 GSVs.
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Re: Can anyone identify the freeway on this album cover?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2021, 10:43:51 AM »

Not I-65 in Tennessee. It's still two lanes. This is a three-lane road.

I'm surprised you didn't consider your own state. This is I-65 southbound around Shepardsville, Kentucky.

This link should confirm it: https://goo.gl/maps/jgSojaa2YT6CsZCa6

Nice job!  I was going to guess I-24 somewhere between Chattanooga and Nashville.
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