Two Grammy Award winners will headline the benefit concert at the 2019 Johnny Cash Heritage Festival in the cotton field adjacent to the Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess. The festival is Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 17-19.
Musicians Marty Stuart and Rosanne Cash will perform at the concert that will take place Saturday afternoon, Oct. 19, as the highlight of the three-day festival, themed “Legacy, Love and Music.”
“I am thrilled and delighted that for the third year in a row, the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival will be held on the grounds of the Boyhood Home in Dyess,” said Cash’s daughter Rosanne, who is hosting the event. “This exciting benefit event raises funds to continue our mission of bringing attention to the rich history of my father in the Arkansas Delta and the New Deal-era colony in which he was raised. This year, I am honored to announce that legendary musician Marty Stuart will be joining me in headlining the culminating Saturday concert.”
After successful music events in Arkansas State University’s First National Bank Arena beginning in 2011, the benefit event was expanded to a three-day heritage festival in 2017 and moved to Dyess.
“People from all over the world make a pilgrimage to Dyess, Arkansas, to touch the earth, breathe the air and reach for the spirit of Johnny Cash,” noted Stuart. “Strangely enough, I’ve never been to Dyess. Therefore, I am honored to finally get to go to a place that means so much to me, stand alongside Rosanne, sing songs and tell stories that I have no doubt will be a part of me for the rest of my life.”
The evening music on Thursday and Friday nights in the Dyess Circle, along with the presentations Thursday morning through noon Friday, will be free and open to the general public. The theme for this year’s academic symposium is “Our Musical Genealogy: Country Music and the American Experience.” The ticketed special presentations on Friday afternoon, moderated by Rosanne Cash, provide a new twist in the 2019 festival schedule. Speakers and ticket information for this event will be announced in April, along with the additional performers who will be joining Cash and Stuart on Saturday afternoon.
“Nearly a decade of hard restoration work by Arkansas State University, funded through previous concert proceeds, has paid off with the home’s elevation to the National Register of Historic Places in 2018,” Rosanne Cash said. “I look forward to once again welcoming visitors from all across the world to the little patch of ‘gumbo soil’ in Dyess, Arkansas, to celebrate ‘Legacy, Love and Music.’”
Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums of songs that have earned four Grammy Awards and 11 nominations. Additionally, she has 21 Top 40 hits, including 11 number one singles. Cash also is an author whose four books include the best-selling memoir “Composed,” which the Chicago Tribune called “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Oxford-American, The Nation and many more print and online publications. In addition to regular touring, Cash has partnered in programming collaborations with Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, San Francisco Jazz, Minnesota Orchestra and The Library of Congress.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of her landmark album, The List, which won the Americana Music Award for Best Album of the Year. A critical and commercial success, the album is based on a list of songs her father made for her in 1973, which he called “100 essential country songs,” to teach her about the art of songwriting and educate her about her Southern roots and musical legacy.
Her 2014 album, The River and the Thread, evokes a kaleidoscopic examination of the geographic, emotional, musical and historic landscape of the American South. A collaboration with husband/co-writer/producer and arranger John Leventhal, the album garnered worldwide acclaim and won three Grammy Awards in 2015.
She is currently writing the lyrics for a musical with Leventhal and writer John Weidman.
Marty Stuart is a five-time Grammy winner and platinum recording artist. He is an accomplished performer, producer, writer, photographer, and country music archivist. His career began at age 12 when he started playing mandolin with the bluegrass group, The Sullivan Family. He then moved to Nashville to join Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass at the Grand Ole Opry. After Flatt’s death, Stuart landed a job performing with the Johnny Cash band. After more than six years with Cash, Stuart put together his own band.
Stuart is an eclectic performer, transitioning between honky-tonk, rockabilly, traditional country and bluegrass. He is considered one of country music’s most historically-minded “new” traditionalists, recording and releasing relevant music that honors country’s rich legacy while advancing it into the future.
Rolling Stone magazine named him one of the top country music artists of all time.
His 18th studio album, “Way Out West,” solidifies Stuart’s widespread acclaim as a visionary artist. Released in 2017, National Public Radio praised it as an “album-length paean to the myth and magic of the American West.”
Along with his career as a musician, Stuart is a longtime advocate for the preservation of country music’s rich history. Plans were announced early this year for his Congress of Country Music to be built in his hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi. The project will include a concert venue, museum and the Marty Stuart Center, an educational facility where students can learn about the wide array of available careers in the music industry.
Stuart’s personal collection includes more than 20,000 country music-related artifacts, including the last portrait of Cash (taken by Stuart four days before Cash died). His collection of musical artifacts and photography was exhibited at the Tennessee State Museum in 2007 as “Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey.” The exhibit later appeared at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, and at the Arkansas Old Statehouse Museum. In 2018, Stuart co-curated, along with the Grammy Museum, an exhibit at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Okla., entitled “Marty Stuart’s Way Out West: A Country Music Odyssey.”
Stuart is host of The Marty Stuart Show on cable’s RFD-TV and also hosts a Late Night Jam at The Ryman, a yearly tradition which kicks off the CMA Music Festival.