Johnny Cash’s hometown plans to become ‘socially responsible Graceland’

From The Guardian:

With its white leather sofas, fake fur upholstery and green shag-pile carpet that lines even the ceiling of the legendary “Jungle Room”, nobody could accuse Elvis Presley‘s home, Graceland, of being in good taste. But it certainly pulls the crowds: more than 600,000 visitors flock to the Memphis mansion every year.

Fifty miles away, across the Mississippi river in Arkansas, a beat-up, Depression-era farming community is hoping to emulate that success. The starting point for the tiny settlement of Dyess’s ambitions could not be further from Elvis’s opulent home – a delapidated, single-storey wooden farmstead, located along a dirt road on the edge of town.

But it has a secret ingredient: a music legend of its own. Johnny Cash, the Man in Black, spent his childhood in that house, living in Dyess from 1934 through to the 50s. Now, nearly a decade after his death, Cash’s family home is being returned to its original state as the anchor attraction of a $10m tourist project on the back of the singer’s global celebrity.

There will, however, be one major difference from the Elvis mansion. Just as Dyess was born out of a social experiment to give people hit by the Depression, like Cash’s parents, a second chance, the hope is that the Cash connection will give the entire town and its population of 500 a fresh start, transforming the dusty delapidated streets into a living museum of the era. Or as the people behind the plan call it, a “socially responsible Graceland”.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Guardian