The fourth annual Johnny Cash Music Festival at Arkansas State University on Friday (August 15th) was a history-making event as the sold-out concert at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro featured performances from a trio of Country Music Hall of Fame members: Reba McEntire, Loretta Lynn and Bobby Bare. The nearly-four-hour show was highlighted by Lynn and Bare’s first-ever performance together of “God Bless America Again,” which the latter wrote and the former recorded in 1976 with Conway Twitty.
On Saturday, fans flocked to nearby Dyess, Arkansas for the grand opening of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home. Members of the Cash family were in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, unveiling the restoration of the structure that was home to the Cashes from 1935 until 1953.
“If Dad walked into the house today, he would have been overcome,” said Rosanne Cash, Johnny’s eldest daughter, at the dedication ceremony for the five-room home that has been newly furnished with retrieved family items and donations.
“Many people approach me about starting Johnny Cash projects and I usually say no,” she explained during a press conference. “But, in talking to Dr. Ruth Hawkins and Arkansas State University, I realized several things and one is that my children need to know their family legacy. It’s so beautiful.”
Others in attendance included Johnny’s sister Joanne Cash Yates, and his brother, Tommy Cash. Joanne cut the leaf garland ribbon to declare the home officially opened, and family members sang “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” joined by the many guests in attendance.
Restoration work on the boyhood home project began in 2009.