Luxe Beat Magazine MAY 2015 - Page 109

Music a depth and density that could fill any room. Sometimes it felt like thunder. It was never meek or mild. There was no escaping the strength and intensity of his voice and the message he delivered through his music. And much like his boyhood, his songs embraced both the joy and sorrows of life, delivering insights with a stark simplicity that was the essence of the man Johnny Cash. Hemingway safari mural on upper loft of barn office members remember is the piano that belonged to their mother. Like many people who knew hardship, Johnny Cash found solace in music. He picked up his first guitar at the age of 12 and found that music provided him with a foundation. As an adult, he would share with his audiences how growing up in Dyess influenced and inspired many of his songs such as “Five Feet High and Rising.” Cash wrote in his 1997 autobiography: “Back in Arkansas, a way of life produced a certain kind of music.” family, music and religion provided a pillar of strength that lifted them during times of adversity. The Dyess Colony was built in 1934 as part of a federal agricultural resettlement and Works Progress Administration project. It was designed to provide homes and jobs to poor farm families during the Great Depression. After the federal government purchased 16,000 acres, they built 500 farmsteads and provided for a town center that would provide medical care, schooling and even a company store. This would be the largest resettlement community in Arkansas. Indigent families were recruited from all over the state and promised 20 acres, a home and outbuildings. The only catch was that they were expected to repay the government for the farm after they cleared the land for farming. To kick start the process, the government would clear the first two acres. His kind of music was minimalist in structure, yet it came with the tonality power of a booming baritone. Accompanied only by guitar, his words reverberated with While the Dyess Colony Museum and the Cash home are completed and ready for visitors, the overall master plan is still a work in progress. (Still, you should visit the museum as it gives a rare insight into a period of American history that is seldom told.) The Arkansas State University will be developing a heritage tourism site that will include the reconstruction of other buildings at the home site and of a second colony home. This will serve as a visitor center next to the Cash home. Signage will be improved and will mark locations for the church, school, and other facilities. “I’d like to wear a rainbow every day / and tell the world that everything is ok. / But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back. / Until things are brighter, I’m the Man in Black.” Johnny Cash Favorite books of Cash on his bed The Cash family volunteered to be resettled from Kingsland, Arkansas and moved to Dyess in 1935, whereupon, it is said that Carrie Cash (Cash’s mother) broke down and cried when she saw their new home. Her humbling remark was that the family had never had it this good. The family lived in a five-room house while farming 20 acres of cotton and other seasonal crops. All seven children, including Johnny, worked alongside their parents to eke out an existence that was still better than what they had before. They would continue to live in their Dyess