JONESBORO The third annual Johnny Cash Music Festival, held at the Convocation Center at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro on Saturday night served up nearly four hours of solid country entertainment.
The show, paying tribute to the late country music legend and Arkansas native Johnny Cash, kicked off at 7 p.m. This year?s event was emceed by Cash's younger brother Tommy and also included performances by his younger sister Joanne Cash Yates of Nashville.
Headlining the tribute to the Man in Black was country star Vince Gill who was joined by Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers and Jimmy Fortune of the Statler Brothers.
Tommy Cash began the show with a rousing version of his brother's famous "Ring of Fire" and was then joined onstage by his sister Joanne who sang "I Still Miss Someone," a song recorded by their brother Johnny and written by their nephew Roy Cash, who was in the audience this evening.
Tommy and Joanne then joined forces to sing a duet, "Jackson" a song made famous by Johnny and his wife June Carter Cash.
Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, who peaked in popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, then performed 13 songs including their hits "All the Gold in California" and "Broken Lady."
Next up, Jimmy Fortune took the front part of the stage with a fiddle player and steel guitarist joining him.
Fortune, tenor singer for the Statler Brothers for 21 years beginning in the early 1980s before the other members of the group retired in 2002. During his set of 10 songs he performed Statler Brother favorites including "Flowers on the Wall" and three others he penned, "Elizabeth," "Too Much on My Heart" and "My Only Love."
The show's headliner, Vince Gill, took the stage at 9:30. Gill, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, in 2007, has won 20 Grammys, more than another other male Country music artist, and 18 County Music Association awards. Frontman for Pure Prairie League in the 1970s, beginning as a solo artist in 1983.
Performing for 50 minutes, Gill gave the audience 14 songs ranging from his hits "When I Call Your Name," "Look at Us," and "Go Rest High on That Mountain."
Concluding the show at 10:45, all performers returned to the stage to sing Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and "Amazing Grace."
The festival, first held in August, last year moved to October but returned to August for this year's event, which raises funds for the restoration of Cash's boyhood home and other landmarks in nearby Dyess and also provides for scholarships for Arkansas State University students.