Arkansas Music

Robinson Auditorium Center Music Hall
City of Little Rock

As workers begin to rebuild the interior of Little Rock's Robinson Auditorium, a key goal of the nearly $70 million renovation is to greatly improve its acoustics.

There had long been complaints about how live music sounded in the venue, which is the home of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. There were "dead spots" in the hall where the audience couldn’t properly hear the orchestra or all the instruments. That’s why the facility has been gutted and is being rebuilt inside the existing structure as part of the voter-approved project, funded with a two percent tourism tax.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Work is nearing the halfway point on a nearly $70 million project to renovate Little Rock’s historic Robinson Auditorium.

Nearly everything has now been ripped out, including the stage, balcony, interior walls and floors, leaving little more than the outside shell of the building and its support beams.

Stricklin Family

The music of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys is getting renewed attention with the release this month of a new tribute CD by Asleep at the Wheel, which features guest appearances by many of the most revered names in country music.

Wills was considered co-founder of western swing and had an immense influence through his recordings, radio appearances and live performances.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Fans have long traveled from around the world to see the small farm house in northeast Arkansas that Johnny Cash often talked or sang about.  After years of restoration work, it is now officially open as a musuem. A grand opening ceremony was held Saturday, drawing a large crowd to the town circle in Dyess.

Johnny Cash House
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

After years of fundraising and restoration work, Johnny Cash’s boyhood home in northeast Arkansas will officially open to the public Saturday as a museum.

The country music icon – who died 11 years ago – moved to the house in 1935 when he was three years old.  His family was one of about 500 selected to live in the town of Dyess, which was created during the Great Depression as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. They were sold a piece of farm land at a low price in return for making contributions to the community.

Johnny Cash boyhoood home
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Tickets are available for opening day tours of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home next month. The opening for Arkansas State University's newest Heritage Site is set for Aug. 16.

The event begins with a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Dyess Colony Administration Building. The ceremony itself is free and open to the public and features remarks by the Cash family.

Timed tours of Cash's boyhood home will be offered on the hour, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., for $10 per person.

A soon-to-be-released documentary film looking at music legend Glen Campbell will get an advance screening Thursday in Little Rock. It’s called “Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me” and will be shown at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Ron Robinson Theater.

“Of course Glen Campbell is one of our most famous native sons and to get the opportunity to see this film ahead of audiences across America and the world is a real honor,” said Courtney Pledger, artistic director for the Arkansas Motion Picture Institute.

Country music legend Loretta Lynn is scheduled to perform during the 2014 Johnny Cash Music Festival at Arkansas State University.

ASU said Monday that Lynn will be joined by fellow Country Music Hall of Famers Reba McEntire and Bobby Bare at the event on Aug. 15. Singer and comedian Mark Lowry is to host the event at the Convocation Center on the ASU campus in Jonesboro.

Lynn - considered by many the "Queen of Country Music" - has hits dating back more than 50 years, including the biographical "Coal Miner's Daughter."

Johnny Cash House
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Organizers rehabilitating the Johnny Cash home in Dyess are looking for furnishings that will reflect the time the Cash family lived in the dwelling in the 1930s and '40s.

The first phase of the project is to open in April.

Ruth Hawkins is directing the project through Arkansas Heritage Sites and Arkansas State University at Jonesboro.

The Jonesboro Sun reports Cash's siblings, Joanne and Tommy, described everything they recall from the home and drew pictures from memory.

Rosanne Cash Johnny Cash
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As final work is being completed to open Johnny Cash’s boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas as a museum, his daughter Rosanne Cash came to Little Rock over the weekend for a sold out show and to be honored for her work in helping to restore the small house.

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