Mississippi Country Music Trail adds marker honoring Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash music marker in Starkville
Johnny Cash music marker in Starkville(City of Starkville)
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 10:31 PM CDT
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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WVUE) - On May 12, 1965 country and rock-n-roll musician Johnny Cash was arrested by the Starkville Police for public drunkenness. Cash would go on to write the song “Starkville City Jail” while reflecting on the experience in the jail cell.

On Wednesday, 56 years to the date, the incident in music history is being commemorated with a marker on the Mississippi Country Music Trail, according to information provided by Paige Hunt, Director of Tourism in Starkville.

On that faithful night, Cash was arrested for public drunkenness after he was found picking flowers at a then-private residence after a show at Mississippi State University. He spent the night at the Oktibbeha County Jail and later wrote the song, “Starkville City Jail.”

“We believe that memorializing his experience was part of what Johnny Cash believed was the beginning of his road to personal redemption,” Mayor Lynn Spruill said. “His career is one of great personal success and sharing of his personal tragedy inspiring hope in others through his music. We are glad to be graced with part of his music history. We are also happy to be able to share in this honor for someone who is iconic in country music.”

Grammy-award-winning artist and Mississippi Country Music Trail Commissioner Marty Stuart said he recalls cutting his neighbor’s yard to earn money to buy “Live at San Quentin” when the song was released.

“I felt honored to live in a state that Johnny Cash had passed through,” Stuart said. “I still feel that way. I’m thrilled we can pay tribute to (him), as well as his colorful story, which will live on for generations to come, on one of the beautiful, historical trail markers.”

The marker, which is number 35 on the trail, is located at the corner of Mississippi 182 and Jackson Street, Hunt said.

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