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Located in front of the Choctaw Indian Museum on the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indian reservation.
Born in Louisville in 1953, Carl Jackson played banjo here as a boy, and by age fourteen was backing Jim & Jesse on the Grand Ole Opry. By the age of twenty he had established a versatile career as a recording vocalist, instrumentalist, songwriter, and record producer in bluegrass and mainstream country music that made him one of the most sought after contributors and collaborators in both genres well into the twenty-first century.
The son of a Sledge sharecropper, Charley Frank Pride first won notice as a singer when music was just a sideline to his early baseball career. Taking a shot at what seemed an unlikely career in Nashville, he went on to record fifty-two Top Ten singles, twenty-eight of them No. 1 hits.
Meridian's Jimmie Rodgers Day festivals of the 1950s, the first held May 26,1953, became known as National Country Music Days, marking a turning point in the nation's enthusiasm for country music. Stars and fans from every country music style, from old-time hillbilly to pop balladry and rockabilly, came together in this celebration of music that was to win fans around the world.
Elsie Williamson McWilliams (1896-1985), the sister of Jimmie Rodgers's second wife Carrie, wrote or contributed to music and lyrics for thirty-nine of the songs that Rodgers performed or recorded, although she never received full credit for her work. A Meridian housewife, mother, and Sunday school music teacher, she became the first woman to sustain a successful career as a country songwriter and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979.
Raised on country here in Tupelo, first introduced as “The Hillbilly Cat,” then by RCA Victor as “the hottest new name in country music,” Elvis Presley’s revolutionary musical mix always had country as a key ingredient. Appearing on the country charts over 50 times, Presley’s music pushed traditional country towards the modernizing Nashville Sound, which followed the pop, if not the rock ‘n roll path he’d fashioned. Elvis would record the country songs he loved throughout his career.
A Liberty native, Jerry Clower (1926-1998) brought his colorful, observant, comic stories of southern life—developed as a sales tool as he worked as a fertilizer salesman—to live shows, recordings, television, bestselling books, and, for over twenty-five years beginning in 1973, Grand Ole Opry broadcasts. He became one of the most successful and acclaimed country comedians of all time.
Singing winningly, with storytelling clarity and physicality, of the real lives and fondest dreams of his down home audience, with varied musical backing that ranged from his own solitary guitar to rural pickers, horns, and Hawaiian bands, in just five years as a star before his early death in 1933, Jimmie Rodgers placed a defining stamp on what country music would be. Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame simply calls Meridian’s Singing Brakeman “The Man Who Started It All.”
The "Father of Country Music" is immortalized in this collection of memorabilia located in his hometown.
Lyman Corbitt “Mac” McAnally, Jr., grew up in Belmont, where he sang and played piano at the Belmont First Baptist Church before becoming a session musician and songwriter at the age of fifteen. McAnally wrote and recorded hit songs, their insightful lyrics expanding the range of country music and powerfully evoking the flavor of southern life. He was also a producer and an award-winning guitar player in Nashville from the 1970s into the twenty-first century.
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