Sign up for newsletter
 

Rosanne Cash headlines Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Fest

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 – Rosanne Cash will headline the second annual Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival in the Mississippi city where her father was arrested more than 40 years ago.

Paying tribute to the Man in Black's life through redemption and flowers on Oct. 17-19, Cash's friends, family and fans will honor his life and legacy. The festival will feature music, guest speakers, a charity auction and a symbolic pardon of Cash's crime of "pickin' flowers" in the small northeastern Mississippi town of Starkville, home of Mississippi State University.

Cash was arrested for public drunkenness in Starkville on May 11, 1965, after performing at the university. Cash gave his own version of the incident through the song, "Starkville City Jail," on the "Live in San Quentin" album, recorded a few years later at California's San Quentin State Prison. In his 1997 autobiography, "Cash," the entertainer wrote about how he never spent time incarcerated in prison but did spend seven nights in seven different jails for minor misdemeanor offenses.

"Those weren't very educational experiences, but I do remember learning in Starkville, Mississippi, that trying to kick the bars out of a jail cell isn't a good idea," wrote Cash, who died from diabetes complications in 2003.

Rosanne Cash said the arc of her dad's life "was the story of redemption. Even when it didn't totally pan out, he still believed in redemption." Johnny Cash's life was filled with struggles with alcohol and amphetamine abuse, straining his relationships with family and friends. He eventually contained his addiction, but never forgot how it hurt people close to him.

"There were so many difficult, even devastating, events in his life that he bore and assimilated, without blaming others," Rosanne said in a recent interview. "Starkville is the perfect little microcosm of that larger story."

Marshall Grant, Cash's original bassist and former tour manager, helped organize the festival. He said if Cash was alive, he would be proud of the festival paying tribute to his less than perfect life. "For everything he did, something good seemed to come out of it," Grant said. "Starkville is a good example."

rant will speak during the festival about his experiences with Cash as a member of his band, the Tennessee Two, and architect of Cash's trademark "boom-chicka-boom" sound.

Also featured at the festival will be Billy Joe Shaver, Cash's longtime friend and legendary country music songwriter who wrote many of Cash's songs, including "Old Chunk of Coal," which Cash sang daily when he spent time at the Betty Ford Center for drug and alcohol treatment. Shaver said he still feels Cash's presence around him.

"I can almost call on to him," Shaver said before a recent concert. "He's still a good friend."

Johnny Cash sang in the song, "Man in Black," that he wore the color black for the poor, the downtrodden and those without a voice in society. The festival will give partial proceeds to the Starkville Boys and Girls Club and the Palmer Home for Children, a local home for kids without a place to live, said festival organizer Robbie Ward. "We hope to carry on Cash's spirit of charity through the festival," Ward said.

Along with sponsors, the festival supports itself by selling merchandise, including posters and a black T-shirt with Johnny Cash on the back and the words, "Pardon me, I'm pickin' flowers," on the front.

A few weeks before the festival, Nashville-based photographer Alan Messer will hold a photo exhibition in Starkville titled "Cash and Flowers," showcasing the Man in Black through 30 years of images, along with photos of flowers the photographer has grown. The festival will also include a charity auction, 5-K run, jail tour and a Sunday gospel service.

Mayor Dan Camp, who will help issue the pardons, said he welcomes visitors to the city. "We want Johnny Cash fans to think of Starkville as their second home," Camp said.

More news

CD reviews

She Remembers Everything CD review - She Remembers Everything
Rosanne Cash's "She Remembers Everything" kicks off with "The Only Thing Worth Fighting For," which features the opening line, "Waking up is harder than it seems." This admission foreshadows a mostly joyless collection of songs. (If) she remembers everything, well, here's to forgetting. Another entry, "8 Gods of Harlem," comes along two songs later and features Kris Kristofferson and Elvis Costello helping Cash sing about a boy killed by gun violence. »»»
Koncert v Praze (In Prague-Live) CD review - Koncert v Praze (In Prague-Live)
Johnny Cash's live set was released on vinyl in Czechoslovakia in 1983. U.S. fans became aware of "Koncert v Praze (In Prague-Live)" when it was issued in the U.S. as part of the deluxe box set "Johnny Cash: The Complete Columbia Album Collection" in 2012. This marks the first time it was released as a single CD Recorded on-stage in Czechoslovakia in April 1978, - one of two recent reissues by the label of foreign concerts (the other was a Denmark show in December »»»
Man In Black: Live in Denmark 1971 CD review - Man In Black: Live in Denmark 1971
Like many icons who have since departed the planet, Johnny Cash left behind a legacy that continues to flourish - in the songs he left behind, in their interpretation by others and in the man's own recordings, which still sound as fresh and vital as they were when first released. This vintage concert offers a case in point. Recorded at the peak of his prowess, it finds him replaying his classic hits - "A Boy Named Sue," "Folsom Prison Blues," "I Walk the Line" »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Turner pleases the traditionalists – Josh Turner is a hard-working citizen, a man of faith and a loyal father and husband. He also happens to be one of the youngest members inducted to the Grand Ole Opry. In short, he is the embodiment of country music's champion of the everyman. This night was special for him. He was celebrating an anniversary with his wife and his 18th with his label MCA.... »»»
Concert Review: Not much really changes for LaFarge – Just one look at the stage made it clear that this was not going to be a typical night with Pokey LaFarge. There were only a few guitars to be seen, which meant that LaFarge was going it alone. "I've been touring for years with a band," LaFarge told perhaps a few hundred people before he had even played a note.... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time  Subscribe to Country News Digest  Follow Country Standard Time on twitter  Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook 

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Willis, Robison spin "Beautiful Lie" Eleven years ago, Kelly stepped away from music. She had just finished touring on 2007's exquisite "Translated From Love" and felt the angst of being a travelling musician with family at home. At that point, Willis and her husband, musician/producer Bruce Robison,... »»»
Chip Kinman celebrates brother, career on "Sounds Like Music" For a brief moment last summer, the news of Tony Kinman's death was, if not greatly exaggerated, then at least fortuitously premature. The roots rock icon, known for his work in The Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird and Cowboy Nation with his younger brother Chip, had been diagnosed with cancer in March 2018,... »»»
Shiflett learns "Hard Lessons" Until recently, Chris Shiflett took a somewhat obsessive/compulsive approach to his music career. For the past two decades, Shiflett has been the primary guitar foil for Dave Grohl in Foo Fighters; early in his tenure, Shiflett was so self-deprecatingly... »»»
White embraces "The Hurting Kind" John Paul White, to paraphrase a Steve Earle song, may just be one of the last of the hardcore troubadours. By 'troubadour,' we mean one of those guys that lives to write great songs - more specifically, great country songs - and then get these songs into the ears of folks that... »»»
Bingham gets personal with "American Love Song"...again A lot of the early reviews for "American Love Song," Ryan Bingham's latest set of raucous and reflective Americana brilliance, have characterized it as the singer/ songwriter's most personal album to date.... »»»
Onward CD review - Onward
Veteran Texas artist Stoney Larue has been through a lot in 20 years of touring and recording and puts that experience to good use on his first release since 2015's "Just Us." "Onward" enlists veteran Nashville producer and songwriter Gary Nicholson  »»»
Redemption 10: Live at Blue Rock CD review - Redemption 10: Live at Blue Rock
Houston-based singer-songwriter and former lawyer Libby Koch celebrates the 10th anniversary of her first album, "Redemption," by releasing a full band, live audience setting for what was originally a solo acoustic album.  »»»
Live From the Ryman CD review - Live From the Ryman
The very best way - the only way, really - to see Old Crow Medicine Show is live. Like its namesake, the medicine shows of old that were part preaching, part snake oil sales pitches, part old time music and pure entertainment, »»»
Fire & Brimstone CD review - Fire & Brimstone
It would be easy (and lazy journalism) to write about how much Brantley Gilbert's music is un-country. You need only isolate the drum parts for most of these latest songs to confirm this is primarily a rock recording  »»»
Sunshine is Free CD review - Sunshine is Free
Monica Rizzio's second album, "Sunshine Is Free," emblematic of its title, ushers in bright country music, with roots touches but generally gliding in melodic, uplifting country territory. Put this in your player when you need a smile or two. »»»
Seems Like Tears Ago CD review - Seems Like Tears Ago
If the first few strains of Jason James' "Seems Like Tears Ago" remind you of George Jones, then that's exactly what Jason James intended as he channels the traditional country greats on these 10 original tunes. They are the kind of three-minute »»»