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Symposium Schedule Set for Johnny Cash Heritage Festival


JONESBORO – A schedule of topics that explore “The Ties that Bind” has been set for the academic symposium at the three-day 2018 Johnny Cash Heritage Festival, Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 18-20, in Dyess. All sessions will be held at the visitors center in the Dyess Colony Circle and are free and open to the public.

Proposals and presenters for the festival theme were selected by representatives of the Arkansas State University Heritage Sites and The Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home. They will join featured speaker John Alexander, author of the recently released biography of Johnny Cash that explores the music legend’s life through his songs.

“We are excited about the lineup of speakers for this year’s symposium,” said Dr. Adam Long, director of the festival symposium. “Their presentations will cover a variety of topics on the theme ‘The Ties that Bind,’ and we believe that this variety will appeal to the diverse interests of our attendees. We are particularly excited about our keynote speaker, John Alexander. His discographic biography of Johnny Cash gives new insight on the man and his music.”

The “ties” embrace history factors such as the Great Depression, the New Deal and agricultural programs that brought colonists together; 
the cultural touchstones that tied Dyess to other communities or to the 1930s-40s; influence such as the impact of earlier artists or contemporaries on Johnny Cash, or the influence of Johnny Cash on contemporaries or later artists; and preservation of New Deal colonies or the stories of colonists through restoration projects, oral histories and museums.

Here is the schedule for the 2018 festival:

Thursday, Oct. 18
12 p.m. — Screening and Discussion of “O Brother Where Art Thou.”
Moderator – Dr. Heath Carpenter (Harding University)

2:30 p.m.  — Screening and Discussion of Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison
Moderator – Michael Streissguth (Le Moyne College)

Friday, Oct. 19
9 a.m. — Ties of Childhood:  Johnny Cash’s Early Musical Influences
Moderator – Dr. Adam Long (Arkansas State University Heritage Sites)

Gospel Hymns and The Grand Ole Opry: The Music That Influenced John R. Cash (Christian Stanfield – Memphis, Tenn.)

10 a.m. — Reflections of Johnny Cash in Popular Culture
Moderator – Dr. Catherine Calloway (Arkansas State University)

Measuring Johnny Cash’s Portrayal of the Inmate Experience: A Comparison of Cash’s “I Got Stripes” and Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice(Jessica Kelleher – Le Moyne College)

Johnny Cash’s Use of Pathos: A Comparative Study (Leo Scarseletta – Le Moyne College)

Cash Fully Loaded: Perspectives on Johnny Cash’s “Drive On” and Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” (Lauren Zazzaro – Le Moyne College)

11 a.m. — Ties Beyond Dyess:  Little Rock, San Antonio, and Beyond
Moderator – Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch (Arkansas State University)

The Dyess Colony Project and Arkansas’s Tradition of Localism (Dr. Revis Edmonds – Old State House Museum)

Johnny Cash in San Antonio: 1950 and 1954 (Dr. Daniel Long – St. Mary’s University)

1 p.m. — Memories of a Lifetime
Moderators – Dr. Ed Salo and Dr. Mike Bowman (Arkansas State University)

An Update on the Memories of a Lifetime Project (Students from Bentonville High School EAST Labs with Ben Manatt, Director)

2 p.m. — Shared Voices:  Johnny Cash and His Contemporaries
Moderator – Dr. Deborah Chappel Traylor (Arkansas State University)

Johnny and Barbara – Hardscrabble Days, Success on the Charts. Connected by Delta Childhoods, Two Voices with A Shared Heritage (Anthony Childress, Arkansas State University)

Petty Cash: Ties that Bind with a Southern Accent (LaDawn Fuhr, Arkansas State University)

3 p.m. — Keynote – John Alexander, author of The Man in Song: A Discographic Biography of Johnny Cash
Moderator – Dr. Carl Cates, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Communication, Arkansas State University

4 p.m. — Book Signing

The Johnny Cash Heritage Festival will feature other activities in addition to the academic panels, including free regional music concerts from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 18-19, in the Dyess Circle and a world-class ticketed concert on Saturday afternoon in the field adjacent to the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home.

The concert features award-winning singer/songwriter Jamey Johnson; Grammy record-holder Alison Krauss; Grammy Award-winning record producer, singer-songwriter, author and festival host John Carter Cash; and pop/soul/country artist Ana Cristina Cash.

All reserved seating at the Saturday afternoon concert will be $100 plus applicable fees, and general admission seats are $35 plus fees. 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.

The Johnny Cash Heritage Festival is licensed through the John R. Cash Revocable Trust.

John Alexander
John Alexander — Keynote presenter at 2018 Johnny Cash Heritage Festival symposium