Arkansas Stories in Song
Jim Hightower, born and raised in N.E. Texas, never forgot the tales and history that comprise his East Texas roots, and that's what he writes and sings about. Jim loves the old-fashioned themes of hard times and lost loves that enrich country ballads. Jim has written and recorded such beautiful ballads as: 'Ballad of Diamond Bessie' which tells about the mysterious murder of Bessie Moore, once the belle of Jefferson, Texas..., 'Ballad of Cullen Baker' who, after the War for Southern Independence, deserted the army and took up outlawing...hiding out in the Sulphur River bottoms, and many other original ballads that reflect his East Texas heritage. Jim's ballads have been featured on area television and many radio stations. He has made numerous personal appearances. Jim's maternal Grandfather Dave Cloninger was born in 1874 at Galla Rock in Pope County, Arkansas. The Cloninger family moved to Yell County when Dave was a teenager. He married Missouri Harris at Gravelly, Arkansas in 1900 and they lived on the Cloninger farm until they moved to Texas in 1903. Dave put Missouri and baby (Jim's aunt Violet) on the train at Ola, Arkansas and hitched a team of mules to a wagon and headed for Texas. It took about a week to drive from just north of Gravelly to a little farm he bought just north of Winfield, Texas. Jim was born in 1935 close to his Grandpa's farm in Texas and grew up listening to stories of Arkansas. Old Grandpa would tell of his young days in Yell County---- fishing on Fourche River-- going to Danville or Dardanelle in the wagon (2 days to Dardanelle)-- all about Petit Jean Mountain (and believe it or not), this mountain was in Yell County---- So you can see why Jim fell in love with Arkansas In his latest C/D 'Arkansas Stories in Song' he has included Arkansas legends: 'The Ballad of Petit Jean'....The young French girl who disguised herself as a boy and followed her lover to the New World...... 'Rich Mountain Angel'.... A story of a little girl who froze to death, while trying to gather firewood on Rich Mountain in the 1800's. She was the first to be buried in 'Pioneer Cemetery' just west of Queen Wilhelmina Lodge on Hi-way 88 'Yell County'..... Some of the stories his Grandfather told him of his childhood days in Arkansas 'Arkansas'..... Jim tells of his love for the hills & valleys of Arkansas 'Snipe Hunt'...... Every country boy has been taken on one--- Jim says he held a sack for 2 hours one night 'Rockin' and Rollin' in Nashville'... The good country music has gone to 'The Ozarks' 'The Picture'...Jim wrote this song Sept. 12, 2001- About a young girl on the street in New York City, holding her mother's picture, (after 9-11) hoping someone had seen her.