October 18, 2008

Jim Reeves memorial outside Carthage

"Gentleman Jim" Reeves - helped usher in "The Nashville Sound"

jim reeves memorial sign
approaching memorial
"Gentleman Jim" Reeves, famous for his velvet voice, died in a plane crash on July 31, 1964. A life-sized sculpture of the famous singer marks his grave on a one-acre, tree-covered plot of ground three miles east of Carthage on U.S. Highway 79. Thousands of visitors from every state and many foreign countries have visited the site.

In 1967, his favorite dog Cheyenne was buried inside the concrete circle surrounding the grave of his former master just a few feet to one side and to the rear, in just about the same position Cheyenne would have assumed in following his master.

sidewalk guitar
jim reeves memorial guitar sound hole
jim reeves statue
jim reeves statue glowing
If I, a lowly singer, dry one tear or soothe one humble
human heart in pain, then my homely verse to God
is dear and not one stanza has been sung in vain.

texas historical commission plaque for jim reeves memorial
Born in Galloway, James Travis Reeves played professional baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league team until an injury forced him to abandon that career. He became a radio disc jockey and formed a county western band. Joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1955, he became a world famous singer. Known fondly as "Gentleman Jim," Reeves was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1967, three years after he died in a plane crash.

at rest
reeves memorial

"Welcome to My World" - The Jimmy Dean Show, 1964

Performing "I Love You Because" in Oslo, 1964

Jim Reeves Wikipedia entry:

Jim Reeves was born on August 20, 1923, in Galloway, Texas, a small rural community near Carthage. He became known as a crooner because of his warm, velvety voice. His songs were remarkable for their simple elegance highlighted by his rich light baritone voice. Songs such as "He'll Have to Go," "Adios Amigo (song)," "Welcome To My World," and "Am I Losing You" demonstrated this approach. Jim Reeves' Christmas songs have been perennial favorites, including songs such as "Silver Bells," "Blue Christmas," and "An Old Christmas Card".

For many years, Reeves mixed college life with baseball and music. Influenced by such Western swing artists as Jimmie Rodgers and Moon Mullican as well as popular crooners Bing Crosby, Eddy Arnold and Frank Sinatra, it was not long before he got a foothold into the music industry. For a time, he was a member of Moon Mullican's band and also worked as a DJ and announcer with local radio stations. He made some early, Moon Mullican-style recordings like "Each Beat of my Heart" and "My Heart's Like a Welcome Mat" in the late 1940s/early 1950s.

In his earliest RCA Victor recordings, Reeves was still singing in the loud style of his first recordings, a style considered standard for country-western performers at that time. He sought to soften his volume, using a lower pitch and singing with lips nearly touching the microphone, but ran into some resistance at RCA—until in 1957, with the support of his producer Chet Atkins, he used this new style on his version of a demo song of lost love, written from a woman's perspective (and intended for a female singer). "Four Walls" not only took top position on the country charts, but went to number eleven on the popular charts at the same time. Reeves had not only opened the door to wider acceptance for other country singers, but had also helped usher in a new style of country music, using violins and lusher background arrangements, soon called "The Nashville Sound."

Video of memorial

No comments: