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Episode #21005

Jimmie Rodgers Museum

Air date 11/19/09
Host: Walt Grayson
Guest(s): Greg Cartmell

The Jimmie Rodgers museum in Meridian pays tribute to “The Father of Country Music.”  The town is also home to Greg Cartmell a gifted artist and musician.  Country Music takes the stage at scenic Sciple’s Mill in Kemper County. We also trace some of the Mississippi musicians and musical styles who are intertwined with the music of Jimmie Rodgers.  Hundreds of 18th century figures and artifacts of the holy family during the birth of Christ comprise the Bethlehem Tree Exhibit; which is quickly becoming a new holiday tradition at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. 

 

 

Jimmie Rodgers Museum

The Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian, Miss. honors “The Father of Country Music.” 

Born on September 8, 1897 in Meridian, James Charles Rodgers was the youngest of three sons. His mother died when he was very young and he spent the next few years living with relatives until he finally returned to Meridian to stay with his father.

Jimmie's affinity for entertaining came at an early age, and the lure of the road was irresistible to him.  By age 13, he had twice organized and begun traveling shows, only to be brought home by his father.  Mr. Rodgers found Jimmie his first job working on the railroad as a water boy.  Here he was further taught to pick and strum his guitar by rail workers and hobos.  A few years later, he became a brakeman on the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad line running between Meridian and New Orleans.  These early experiences would come to define the two loves of Jimmie’s life: music and the railroad. 

The museum contains some of Jimmie’s clothing and artifacts, original furnishings, old photographs plus hand-written letters.

 

Bethlehem Tree Exhibit

The Bethlehem Tree Exhibit is quickly becoming a new holiday tradition at the Mississippi Museum of Art. This large tree displaying 18th Century Neapolitan nativity figurines is located just inside the main entrance of the museum and open to the public. The exhibit’s curator and museum staff talk of the significance of the exhibit to the people of Mississippi.  On a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Jewel Graeber, of Oxford, Mississippi, was fascinated by an Angel Tree nativity exhibit she saw with her husband.  After seeing the look on the children’s faces who toured the display, she decided that the children of Mississippi needed a similar exhibit and set out to collect nativity scenes for her own display. Several years later the exhibit was completed. Her daughter, Gay Graeber, became the curator of the exhibit and offered it to the Mississippi Museum of Art who welcomed it into their collections.

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Greg Cartmell lived his early life in New England, but when he was asked to help open a fine art gallery in Meridian he fell in love with the South and all that it had to offer.   A professional artist for over 35 years, Greg Cartmell is nationally recognized as one of the country’s foremost landscape painters.   Cartmell’s works are in private and corporate collections throughout the world and he is the recipient of over 300 awards.

A new endeavor of Cartmell’s is a presentation entitled “The Fine Art of Success,” which he presents to various groups across the nation.  His messages of inspiration have inspired people all over the country to go for their dreams.  Cartmell’s presentations are packed with personal stories, motivation, and real life steps for success to overcome fears and create a work of art in life.

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