Monday, June 30, 2008

Tennessee's Official Rockabilly Highway

Tennessee now has an official Rockabilly Highway, thanks to efforts of those in the state legislature.

On Friday, officials unveiled the signs which will now mark a 55-mile stretch of Highway 45, from Mississippi to Interstate 40. State Representative Jimmy Eldridge of Jackson is here in the photo showing off the new sign along with Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame representative Henry Harrison in this photo from the Jackson Sun. Their story on the event is here.

A few years ago I was doing business in that part of TN and MS, and recalled stories I had heard of how in the late 1940s and through the 1950s the area was full of honky tonks and clubs where legendary musicians made history - folks like Elvis and Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash, and many others whose names faded into the past. Today, the music is so popular, our state has dueling Hall of Fames (one is the International, mentioned above, and the other is the non-hyphenated, non-international version which is based in Nashville).

One of the performers who found fame on the road and the radio back in the day was Janis Martin, also known at the time as the Female Elvis. She passed away last September, but was performing right up until the end and the following clip is from 2006 as she offers a little rock history and wails on her guitar.

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