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

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" »»»
Out Among the Stars CD review - Out Among the Stars
One would think that with all the archival music, reissues and postmortem tributes released on Johnny Cash's behalf, the vaults would have been scraped pretty clean by now, with only scraps left for dedicated completists to feast upon. So it comes as no small surprise to find that the Cash archivists actually uncovered some entire sessions that haven't been unearthed until now. Recorded in the early '80s, "Out Among The Stars" is such a high quality collection that it »»»
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: Carlile warms hearts with empathetic thoughts – Brandi Carlile, dressed festively with a Santa hat, began her mid-week concert set with Joni Mitchell's "River" and closed with the carol "O Holy Night." In between, she sang about an equal measure of old and new songs. And on this first night of a short acoustic tour, Carlile was both in fine spirits and voice.... »»»
Concert Review: Daniels wears out bows, but music endures – After each of the first few songs Charlie Daniels played, his 'fiddle tech (?)' exchanged his bow. Is this because he was playing particularly hard? Perhaps. Whatever the case, Daniels and his five-piece band clearly appeared to be giving it their all during the act's hour-and-a-half set. As it is the Christmas month, Daniels sang a... »»»
Subscribe to Country News Digest Country News Digest      Follow Country Standard Time on twitter CST      Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook CST

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Washburn, Fleck create "Echoes" Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have powerhouse individual talents; each has followed an estimable career path to where they find themselves today: making complex, but spare, records, writing music together and touring with their son Juno. Their new release, "Echoes In The Valley" features mostly songs written by Fleck and Washburn, banjos, Washburn's strong vocals and very little else.... »»»
Hillman bides his time Legends don't come any more legendary than Chris Hillman. The roll call of bands that comprises Hillman's half century in music reads like a wing exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, the Souther Hillman Furay Band, the Desert Rose Band,... »»»
The Cadillac Three creates its "Legacy" William Shakespeare noted a few centuries back that a rose by any other name would be equally aromatic, and that general idea has musical implications as well. The Cadillac Three knows a thing or two about maintaining a sonic identity after a name change;... »»»
With Stanley and Watson, sound isn't elementary Those aware of the late Owsley "Bear" Stanley likely know him for one of two reasons - his pioneering work manufacturing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in San Francisco during the mid-to-late 1960s and his role as an innovative sound engineer. Most notably, Bear worked...... »»»
May shifts gears, directions Headed into 2015, Imelda May was on a hit streak. Her rockabilly career was in full swing, nurtured by the likes of former Squeeze keyboardist Jools Holland and guitar icon Jeff Beck. Her albums routinely topped the charts in her native Ireland.... »»»
Boom CD review - Boom
Walker Hayes has a lot of Sam Hunt in his music, in that he mixes a lot of hip-hop in with his country. Traditionalists will have trouble with his unorthodox approach. Kids, though, raised on just as much Drake as Paisley, will likely eat it up. »»»
From A Room: Volume 2 CD review - From A Room: Volume 2
There is no bigger artist in country music today, perhaps even in American music, than Chris Stapleton. His appeal reaches beyond just the commercial country fans for his gritty bluesy approach. 2015's "Traveller" set a high bar, which was met by this year's release of "From A Room: Volume 1," which won Album of the Year in the 51st CMA Awards.  »»»
Down Home Sessions EP CD review - Down Home Sessions EP

Upon first glance at the track list of Cole Swindell's fourth installment of the "Down Home Sessions" series, one may get the impression that it is a covers EP. It features several chart toppers from other artists, including Luke Bryan's "Roller Coaster" and Thomas Rhett's "Get Me Some Of That." »»»

The Rest of Our Lives CD review - The Rest of Our Lives
The first full album from Tim McGraw and Faith Hill is an inspired effort, even though some of its songwriters may surprise you. The title cut, for instance, features pop ginger Ed Sheeran on its credits, while Meghan Trainor contributed to "Roll the Dice." »»»
Bloodshot Records' 13 Days of Xmas CD review - Bloodshot Records' 13 Days of Xmas
Label holiday albums can sometimes be like office white elephant gift exchanges because there's a little bit of everything on the table. Some stuff you like, while other things may have been better left unwrapped. »»»
Texoma Shore CD review - Texoma Shore
Blake Shelton's 11th studio album finds The Voice advisor in a contented, one might even say homey, frame of mind. The opening track and first single "I'll Name the Dogs" sets the tone. It's a rollicking ode to domesticity that manages to make household chore distribution ("You find the spot and I'll find the money / You be the pretty and I'll be the funny") both romantic and amusing.  »»»