If you totally spaced and forgot to attend the grand opening of the Grammy Museum of Mississippi in Cleveland, originally proposed for early this fall, don't worry. There's always next year.
Earlier this month, the museum’s board of directors announced that the state-of-the-art, 27,000-square-foot facility on the campus of Delta State University would not be ready for visitors in September as expected. By Tuesday, Sept. 22, they had settled on its new grand-opening weekend, March 5 and 6, 2016.
“The intricate details of the exhibits themselves are very complex and involve multiple-process phases from start to finish,” Lucy Janoush, president of the Grammy Museum Mississippi Board of Directors, said in a press release. “In order to make this project the showcase it should be, consultants and contractors need more time to finish the exhibit.”
Plans for the Grammy Museum Mississippi, the first satellite site of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, began in 2009, when Mayor Billy Nowell and the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce approached Allan Hammons of Hammon & Associates advertising firm about developing a music museum akin to the B. B. King Museum in Indianola, which Hammons helped design and coordinate as its interim executive director.
Hammons eventually led the charge in approaching the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences about building a sister site to the Los Angeles Grammy Museum, which opened in 2008.
For more information on the museum's process from concept to near-completion, read the Jackson Free Press’ cover story, "Follow the Gold-Record Road: Creating the Grammy Museum Mississippi," from March 18, 2015.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Steve Earle is the latest voice to join the flag debate, though his voice comes in the form of a good-old-fashioned protest song. On the track, titled "Mississippi, It's Time," the Virginia-born musician denounces the Confederate battle emblem's position on the Mississippi state flag, which has been a point of contention yet again following a white-supremacist gunman's slaying of nine African Americans at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., on June 17.
“I grew up in the South and lived there until I was 50, and I know that I’m not the only southerner who never believed for one second that the Confederate battle flag is symbolic of anything but racism in anything like a modern context,” Steve Earle said in a press release. “This is about giving those southerners a voice.”
Earle and his band, the Dukes, release the song for download on iTunes this Friday, Sept. 11, with all proceeds going to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The lyrics feature a number of powerful and to-the-point phrases, such as, Mississippi, don't you reckon it's time that the flag came down because the world turned 'round? We can't move ahead if we're looking behind," and "I wish I was in a land that never held a soul in bondage ever. I wouldn't have to drag these chains behind. Mississippi, it's time."
Near the track's close, though, Earle trades any semblance of metaphor for blunt outrage: "What the hell, Mississippi? Mississippi, you're out of your mind. Mississippi, God d***, even Alabama and South Carolina (have) come across the line."
As people from without and within the state push for the removal of the Confederate flag—and the dark ideals it represents—the decision ultimately rests with state lawmakers who can't seem to come to an agreement.
Earle, a pupil of famed songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, has had countless hits on the country music charts, both from his own releases, such as his debut record, 1986's "Guitar Town," and from hits for legends like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Emmylou Harris.
Visit Southern Poverty Law Center's website to listen to "Mississippi, It's Time."