Michael Twitty and
at Little Nashville Opry
by Tamela Meredith Partridge
Michael Twitty and Tommy Cash will bring a duo headlining “Musical Memories of Conway Twitty and Johnny Cash” tribute show to The Little Nashville Opry on Saturday, July 21, at 7:00 p.m.
“I was very close to my father,” says Michael Twitty, the oldest son of late rock and country legend, Conway Twitty. “And I thought his music and legacy should live on. So I came up with the idea of the ‘Memories of Conway’ show. Not to imitate him, but to share his music and behind-the-scenes stories of his life with the fans.”
Conway Twitty, whose real name was Harold Lloyd Jenkins, passed away in 1993 of an abdominal aneurysm. He left behind a musical catalog containing 55 number one records, including the pop chart smash, “It’s Only Make Believe,” and the country favorites, “Hello, Darlin’,” “You’ve Never Been this Far Before,” and “Happy Birthday, Darlin’.”
“It’s amazing how dad, a barefooted country boy from Friars Point, Mississippi, grew up to be one of the best loved musical artists the world has ever seen,” Twitty says. “And as proud as I am of all dad’s musical accomplishments, I am one hundred times more proud to be the son of Harold Lloyd Jenkins, the man. Because dad truly was one of the most loving, kind, and caring people I’ve ever known.”
Conway Twitty’s music continues to inspire through the “Memories of Conway” show.
“My first tour in ’72 was with dad and Loretta Lynn,” Twitty says. “I eventually pulled away from touring with dad in order to develop my own style. I learned a lot touring with dad, which is a tradition. I hope to pass down to my son Tre, who has his own country music solo career. We have a t-shirt the fans love that has pictures of dad, myself, and Tre with the slogan, ‘Three generations of Twitty’s….The legend lives on.’”
Even though Twitty is an established entertainer in his own right, he states the success of the “Memories of Conway” show revolves around the subject matter at hand.
“Time permitting, we always sign autographs and meet with the fans after the show,” Michael says. ”It’s nice, because the fans listen to my stories of dad during the show and they return the favor by sharing their memories of him with me after the show. It’s a magical time. I never get tired of people telling me how much they loved my father. Never.”
The ”Musical Memories of Conway Twitty and Johnny Cash” tribute show is a fun and family-oriented show for both the audience and performer.
“Michael and I will do our own separate tribute shows at The Little Nashville Opry,” Tommy Cash says. “Our main goal is that people leave the show feeling entertained. Which stems back from advice my brother, Johnny, told me a long time ago, ‘If you’re going to be a singer, for the price of a ticket, you really owe the audience a good show.’ I never forgot that.”
Tommy Cash, a Dyess Colony, Arkansas, native, was the youngest of seven children born to parents Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash.
Cash and his older brother by eight years, Johnny, worked alongside their parents and siblings farming 20 acres of cotton and other seasonal crops in Dyess Colony. Cash spent his childhood soaking up a variety of musical influences ranging from his mother’s folk songs and hymns to the work songs from the fields and nearby railroad yards.
“I was a happy child growing up in northeast Arkansas,” Cash says. “We were poor, but we were rich in the things that mattered. We had plenty of food, love, and Christian values—many of which have stayed with me throughout my adult life and career.”
Cash, who formed his first band in high school, remained in Dyess Colony until his graduation. Enlisting in the Army, Cash was shipped to Frankfurt, Germany, where he deejayed an American Forces Radio Network show, “Stickbuddy Jamboree.”
After his discharge, Cash returned stateside and worked a variety of jobs while trying to break into the music business. Obtaining a record deal in 1965, Cash has released numerous country hits including, “Six White Horses,” “Rise and Shine,” “One Song Away,” “So this Is Love,” “That Certain One,” “I Recall a Gypsy Woman,” and “She Met a Stranger, I Met a Train.”
Besides his own successful solo career, Cash also enjoys performing the tribute show to his late brother, Johnny, who passed away in 2003 from diabetes complications. Johnny’s musical legacy encompasses 14 Billboard number one singles including, ”I Walk The Line,” “Ring of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” and the Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson collaboration, “Highwaymen.”
“There are a lot of people doing Johnny Cash tribute shows,” Cash says. “But I feel that our show is the only truly authentic tribute show because he was my brother. I knew him, and things about him, that no one else would without benefit of that family affection and bond.”
You can learn more about Michael Twitty and Tommy Cash through their websites <www.michaeltwitty.com> and <www.tommycash.com>.
The Opry’s website is