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John Carter Cash Continues Father’s Legacy Through Festival


JONESBORO – It’s no accident that John Carter Cash invited acclaimed musical artists Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss to perform at the 2018 Johnny Cash Heritage Festival, Oct. 18-20, in Dyess. He knows they understand and respect the legacy that has sprung from his father’s words and music. And, being an essential part of the event strengthens his own spiritual connection to Johnny Cash.

John Carter is a Grammy Award-winning record producer, singer-songwriter and author who has been involved in music his entire life. The son of Johnny and June Carter Cash and the grandson of Maybelle Carter, he carries on the family tradition of creativity and music.

John Carter will serve as host for this year’s heritage festival and plans to alternate each year with sister Rosanne. He is one of the highlighted entertainers along with Johnson, Krauss and Cash’s wife Ana Cristina Cash who will perform during the benefit concert, Saturday, Oct. 20, in the cotton field beside the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home. The highlight of the three-day festival is from noon to 5 p.m.

“I am very excited to be part of the festival this year,” John Carter said. “There will be some momentous musical surprises, and I believe history will be made once again in the fertile beautiful land of Northeast Arkansas.”

Serving as the festival host and one of the artists allows him the opportunity to return to the restored Johnny Cash boyhood home where his dad’s legend began and continue spreading the story of one of the most gifted and celebrated singer-songwriters in the history of the music industry.  

When John Carter read poetry, prose and letters written by his father, he knew the words needed to be put to music. He set out to create a reflective album of 16 tracks featuring the previously unknown and unpublished musings by his father set to music and sung by some of the world’s most influential contemporary artists. The resulting album, “Johnny Cash: The Music: Forever Words,” was released in April. Both Johnson and Krauss are among the performers on the recording.

The album also includes two of the headliners who performed at the 2017 Johnny Cash Heritage Festival, Kris Kristofferson and Rosanne Cash. Portions of the music videos they recorded for the new album were filmed during this festival.

John Carter is a co-producer who recorded the album at the Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tenn., the same studio where his father recorded years ago.

Throughout the last two decades, John Carter has produced recordings for many high-profile artists. He has won five Grammy Awards as a producer and been nominated 12 times. Two of his Grammy wins are for albums by his mother, June Carter Cash. He is also an acclaimed performer himself and recently released his own newest album, “We Must Believe in Magic.”

The Johnny Cash Heritage Festival events take place in the cotton fields surrounding the Johnny Cash Boyhood home which was added to the National Register of Historic Places May 4, and in the Dyess Colony Circle. After music events in Arkansas State University’s First National Bank Arena from 2011-14, a new festival format was established in 2017.

The festival now extends beyond music to feature world-renowned artists on the main stage and local musicians on smaller stages in the colony center, as well as educational presentations, exhibits and local crafts. The academic theme for the festival is “The Ties That Bind.”

Tickets for the concert are on sale at the Arkansas State University Box Office, First National Bank Arena, (lower red entrance), 217 Olympic Drive. To purchase online, visit the festival website, JohnnyCashHeritageFestival.com, and click on “Buy Tickets,” or contact the box office at (870) 972-2781 or (800) 745-3000. With the exception of the concert, all other festival events are free.

The festival is coordinated through Arkansas State University Heritage Sites and the Heritage Studies Ph.D. program and is licensed through the John R. Cash Revocable Trust. Presenting sponsors include the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and the Judd Hill Foundation. 

John Carter Cash
John Carter Cash