Arkansas Music

Rosanne Cash Johnny Cash
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As final work is being completed to open Johnny Cash’s boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas as a museum, his daughter Rosanne Cash came to Little Rock over the weekend for a sold out show and to be honored for her work in helping to restore the small house.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Little Rock city leaders kicked off a campaign Tuesday to get citizens excited about helping to fund a $68 million renovation and expansion project at Robinson Center Music Hall.

The event was held on the steps of the auditorium, with Mayor Mark Stodola and other city leaders promoting a December 10 special election to vote on whether to use an existing two percent advertising and promotion tax to finance the additions.

Former Mayor Jim Dailey reminded those in attendance of the building’s historical significance.

A new book now on sale looks at the history of music in Arkansas.

Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music was put together by the same folks responsible for the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.

It features profiles of well known Arkansas natives like Johnny Cash, Al Green, Levon Helm and Glen Campbell, as well as lessor known, but significant musicians like southern gothic artist Tav Falco and the sombrero-wearing couple Elton and Betty White, who were known for their graphic sexual lyrics.

Concert To Raise Money For Johnny Cash's Boyhood Home

Aug 16, 2013
Johnny Cash boyhoood home
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

On Saturday, Vince Gill will headline the 3rd annual Johnny Cash Music Festival in Jonesboro, Arkansas.  Cash's siblings Tommy and Joanne Cash, the Gatlin Brothers and others will also be performing.

Proceeds will go toward the restoration of Cash’s boyhood home in the east Arkansas town of Dyess. The town's administration building and an old movie theater will also be restored to tell the history of the Dyess Colony, which was created during the Great Depression as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's new deal.

A new business venture in North Little Rock and Memphis seeks to change current norms in the recording industry.

Music mogul Al Bell grew up in Arkansas and later became chairman of Stax Records and president of Motown Records.

Bell says he is once again working with authentic artists who no longer fit into conventional categories

Music Industry Figure To Give Little Rock Lecture

May 23, 2013

Longtime music industry figure and Arkansas native Bill Carter is set for a speaking engagement in Little Rock.

Carter is to speak June 5 as part of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies' Legacies and Lunch series. Carter grew up in Rector and built his career as an attorney and agent for popular music stars.

The Rolling Stones summoned Carter for help after an arrest in Arkansas, and he represented Reba McEntire at the start of her career.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, in partnership with the Thea Foundation, is launched the Stringed Instrument Drive.

It is aimed at collecting gently used violins and monetary donations to bring classical music back into the schools in Little Rock and North Little Rock

Paul Leopoulos, Executive Director of the Thea Foundation, says music can help children achieve academically and boost their confidence.

Winthrop Rockefeller Collection

The late Johnny Cash was well known for his prison concerts, but this weekend the BBC will air a special looking at one lesser-known prison show that helped spur reform in Arkansas.  You can listen to the show here.

The international broadcaster sent a reporter from London to Arkansas to research the performance at Cummins Prison in 1969.

Johnny Cash boyhoood home
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

On what would have been Johnny Cash's 80th birthday, dozens of family members joined hundreds of fans and residents in the east Arkansas town of Dyess Sunday to formally mark the beginning of work to restore his boyhood home.

"This project has been in the making for several years and I never thought that it would actually come to fruition," said daughter Rosanne Cash, who led the ceremony at the Dyess Community Center. "We never foresaw that it would take on this kind of life."

George Takei
Malcolm Glover / KUAR News

Actor and activist George Takei, best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, is in Little Rock this week to perform with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

While the orchestra plays, Takei will narrate A Survivor from Warsaw, a piece written by Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg in 1947. As narrator, Takei takes on the persona of Jewish concentration camp survivor.

Johnny Cash Festival
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A sold out show at Arkansas State University raised more than $310,000 for the restoration of the boyhood home of music legend Johnny Cash in the east Arkansas town of Dyess.

Four generations of the Cash family, including daughter Rosanne Cash, son-in-law Rodney Crowell and son John Carter Cash were on hand to pay homage to Cash, as were many of his longtime friends like Kris Kristofferson.

Johnny Cash
Columbia/ Legacy Records

More than seven years after the death of Arkansas-native Johnny Cash, a new collection has just been released of rare, vintage recordings.

As FM 89's Michael Hibblen reports, “Bootleg II: From Memphis to Hollywood” spans the first 15 years of Cash's music career, and includes his first radio broadcast, when Cash and the Tennessee Two got a weekly show on West Memphis station KWEM.

Michael Hibblen

The radio program Beaker Street, which debuted 45 years ago playing progressive rock on Little Rock powerhouse KAAY-AM 1090 and had regular listeners around the country, could be coming to an end.  It's being canceled by its current broadcast home, KKPT-FM, The Point 94.1.

Things haven't changed much over the decades.  Listeners of Beaker Street still hear records fade out, strange background sounds come up and then the mellow voice of Clyde Clifford. But while doing his show Sunday, Clifford acknowledged the end is coming, at least at the show's current home. 

The Pied Piper of Arkansas

Jul 28, 2009
William “Woodpecker” Worden
Malcolm Glover

William "Woodpecker" Worden is a modern-day Pied Piper, but instead of leading local children astray, his flute playing and music mentoring helps many youngsters realize their untapped potential.

Pages