On Monday (March 25) country music singer-songwriter Johnny Russell will be honored with a marker on the Mississippi Country Music Trail. The marker unveiling will be held at 10:30 a.m. at 101 East Delta Avenue in Moorhead. Miss. Governor Phil Bryant is scheduled to offer remarks during the event.
John Bright “Johnny” Russell (1940-2001) was born and raised in Moorhead and went on to become a star of the Grand Ole Opry and a popular country recording artist, with such hits as “Catfish John” and “Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer.” He is best remembered as the author of “Act Naturally,” a hit for both Buck Owens and the Beatles that sold over 20 million copies.
Russell was widely seen on TV’s Hee Haw, and he joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1985, quickly becoming a mainstay as an affecting singer and charming comedian—with the jokes often turning on his own notable weight. In 2000, top country artists backed him as he recorded Actin’ Naturally, a collection of his own songs, including “Ain’t You Even Gonna Cry,” which became a standard—and all published by his own company, appropriately named Sunflower County Songs. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001, the year of his untimely death.
Much like the Mississippi Blues Trail, which now garners more than 160 markers, the Mississippi Country Music Trail celebrates Mississippi’s rich heritage of country music legends and chart toppers. The trail will feature a variety of country music artists, including Jimmie Rodgers, Marty Stuart, Mac McAnally, Faith Hill, Charley Pride and others to comprise the first 30 markers across the state.
For more information about the Mississippi Country Music Trail, explore www.mscountrymusictrail.org.
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