Jackson on my Mind

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  01.15.08 | 11:06 AM ET

Photo by dbking via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Speaking of how confusing geography can be, I’ve been planning a big road trip in the South in March, and I’m hoping to hit some major music history landmarks along the way. Memphis is a no-brainer, but I’d like to see some lesser-known sites too, and even places where there may not be anything concrete to see, but where the name still means something to me. I thought Jackson could be one of those places—you know, the Jackson town that Johnny Cash and June Carter sing about?

It turns out that no less than 20 American states boast a town called Jackson, eight of them in the South alone, and the contestants from Mississippi and Tennessee both claim the song as their own. Making matters even worse, apparently this Canadian is not only clueless about America’s geography, but its history, too: I have to admit that I had never even heard of Andrew Jackson before this week. (Though at least I know that none of the Jacksons is the capital of France. Or Europe.)

So can anyone help a foreigner out? Which Jackson is the one where Johnny was planning to mess around on poor June?

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

5 Comments for Jackson on my Mind

brad daly 01.15.08 | 1:09 PM ET

I’ve always assumed it was Jackson, Mississippi, referred to in the Johnny Cash song, but I don’t really have any evidence to back that up.

While you’re down here, be sure to spend some time in the Mississippi Delta and hit a few juke joints and barbeque and soul food restaurants.  Tunica Mississippi is a weird place to visit, with huge casinos next door to shotgun shacks.  Oh, and Graceland Too, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, is not to be missed.  It’s a shrine to Elvis, run by a rabid and none-too-sane fan, open 24 hours.  Muscle Shoals, Alabama, was an important location in the music industry in the 1960s and 70s and is the location of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, but, unfortunately, there’s precious little else there.

TambourineMan 01.16.08 | 9:55 PM ET

Good question. Always thought it was Mississippi, too. But I looked through some books here at home and can’t find anything.

Eva, you are taking my dream trip. Can you swing by LA on the way and pick me up?

Eva Holland 01.17.08 | 8:24 AM ET

Thanks for the tips, Brad! Muscle Shoals was definitely on my list, but I hadn’t heard of the others before.

TambourineMan - I’d love to. LA is pretty close to New Orleans, right? Just a quick dash across Texas?

The Jackson mystery continues for now, I guess… Complicating matters, I looked up the song’s writers - one is from New York and one is from West Virginia. I may just have to pull over and pose in front of the “Welcome” sign for both.

Road Trip Lover 01.17.08 | 9:31 AM ET

Never heard of Andrew Jackson either but your road trip should be fun!

TambourineMan 01.17.08 | 1:51 PM ET

Eva wrote: “Just a quick dash across Texas?”


If you’re in the market for a guide book, LP has one called Lonely Planet Road Trip: Blues & BBQ. Don’t know if it’s any good, but I do know it exists.

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.