Paul Overstreet of Vancleave honored with Jackson County’s first Mississippi Country Music Trail marker

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Country music star Paul Overstreet is seen outside Vancleave High School on June 7, 2011, where he was awarded the Jackson County Mississippi Country Music Trail first marker.

VANCLEAVE – Less than a week after Elvis Presley joined the dozen artists honored with markers on the Mississippi Country Music Trail, Vancleave’s Paul Overstreet became Jackson County’s first marker recipient in a ceremony Tuesday .

The beacons, researched and placed by the Mississippi Development Authority, were first unveiled in 2010 and have honored music pioneers such as Conway Twitty, Faith Hill, Jimmie Rodgers and Marty Stuart.

Overstreet has earned his mark with a career spanning over 30 years both recording his own songs and writing several big hits for George Jones, Randy Travis and The Judds.

Originally from Newton, Mississippi, Overstreet grew up in Vancleave before moving to Nashville to begin his career in country music. and “Forever and Ever Amen”, which was recorded by Randy Travis, was Song of the Year for the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music in 1987.

District 1 supervisor Manly Barton – who grew up with Overstreet and delivered his mother’s greetings on Tuesday – recalled sitting by a nearby stream when Overstreet was in high school, listening to him play songs by Elvis Presley.

“We had a great time,” Barton told the crowd of around 50, before the Overstreet marker unveiling.

“Paul is a good guy and represented Vancleave well,” he said. “He has been very, very successful in his career and we are all extremely proud of him.

“I couldn’t be more tickled than having a Paul Overstreet sign here on the highway.”

The winner was equally complimentary about his adopted hometown, saying, “It was one of the best places in the world to grow up.”

“It’s a community that has always been great, and I know it will only get bigger over time,” said Overstreet. Then he ironically downplayed the lasting effect of his marker, instead highlighting his emerging legacy as a father.

“Pretty soon that sign will probably be insignificant because, as you all know, my son Chord is on the ‘Glee’ TV show,” he said. He thought he would soon be known only as “the father of Chord Overstreet”.

Let this be true, Overstreet said the Gulf Coast’s contribution to the arts is an undeniable legacy that will continue into the future.

“I am really proud of the Gulf Coast,” he said. “We have some really amazing artists who have developed their work here… and it’s just starting to be recognized.

“It’s really fun to learn these things.”


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