Entries - Entry Category: Music - Starting with C

Caldwell, Sarah

A member of the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame, Sarah Caldwell was an internationally recognized American opera director, conductor, producer, and impresario. She was known for emphasizing the dramatic elements of opera in her productions with innovative stagings that often included spectacular visual effects. She also was known for performing and staging obscure operas that were performed only rarely because of their difficulty. Sarah Caldwell was born on March 6, 1924, in Maryville, Missouri, but grew up in Fayetteville (Washington County). Her parents divorced when she was young, and her mother—piano teacher Margaret Carrie Caldwell Baker—later married Henry Alexander, who taught political science at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville. Recognized as a child prodigy, she was performing in public on violin …

Caldwell, Walter Garnett “Punky”

Walter Garnett “Punky” Caldwell was a musician who caught the attention of some of the best performers of the rockabilly and early rock and roll era, such as Sonny Burgess and Elvis Presley. Caldwell was known for his accomplishments on saxophone and clarinet. Notably, in the late 1950s, Caldwell played in a racially integrated band. Soon after his career took off, he left Arkansas and toured the United States and Asia. Punky Caldwell was born on October 31, 1929, in Searcy (White County), the son of Arkansas native Charles Eric Caldwell and Kansas native Thelma L. Alexander Caldwell. Caldwell was large from the start (he was more than 300 pounds as an adult), weighing nearly thirteen pounds as a newborn. …

Camp, Shawn

aka: Darrel DeShawn Camp
Shawn Camp is a singer, musician, songwriter, and record producer based in Nashville, Tennessee. His musical styles include bluegrass, country, and Americana. Shawn Camp was born Darrel DeShawn Camp on August 29, 1966, to Darrell Camp, who was an iron worker, and Betty Dickens Camp, a beautician. He was raised in Perryville (Perry County) until 1982, when his family moved to Bryant (Saline County), where he graduated from high school in 1984. His parents’ home was a gathering place for local musicians, and the family also attended bluegrass festivals, where jam sessions with young and old “pickers” were a regular occurrence. Camp started learning to play guitar at age five, mandolin at seven, and fiddle at fifteen. While he was …

Campbell, Glen

aka: Glen Travis Campbell
Glen Travis Campbell was a commercially successful and critically acclaimed entertainer whose career lasted more than fifty years. As a guitarist, Campbell appeared on recordings by a diverse range of artists, including Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. As a singer and solo artist, Campbell sold millions of recordings and earned many awards. He also starred in films and hosted his own television programs. Glen Campbell was born on April 22, 1936, in the Billstown community, near Delight (Pike County). He was one of twelve children born to the farming family of Carrie Dell Stone Campbell and John Wesley Campbell. Many of his relatives were musicians, and young Campbell soon developed an interest in singing and playing. He received his first …

Carter, William Neal (Bill)

Bill Carter is a lawyer, former Secret Service agent, music manager and promoter, and author. He is best known for being the Rolling Stones’ lawyer who facilitated the release of two band members from custody when they were arrested in 1975 while traveling through Fordyce (Dallas County). Carter has also managed country singers Tanya Tucker and Reba McEntire. In 2013, Carter was added to the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame. William Neal (Bill) Carter was born on January 19, 1936, in Rector (Clay County) to Henry Gaston Carter and Essie Faye Richardson Carter. Carter’s father was a farmer, and the family had little money when he was growing up. Carter spent time in the cotton fields as a youth and …

Cash, Johnny

aka: J. R. Cash
Johnny Cash was a world-renowned singer/songwriter of country music. With his deep, rich voice and often dark, often uplifting lyrics, he created a body of work that will be heard and remembered for generations to come. J. R. Cash was born on February 26, 1932, in Kingsland (Cleveland County) to Ray and Carrie Cash. He had six siblings: Roy, Louise, Jack, Reba, Joanne, and Tommy. In 1935, the family moved to Dyess (Mississippi County), where they lived modestly and worked the land. The tragic death of Jack Cash in a 1944 sawmill accident haunted young J. R. for the remainder of his life. His mother introduced him to the guitar, and the local Church of God introduced him to music. …

Cash, Tommy

Tommy Cash is a musician and the younger brother of country music legend Johnny Cash. Although he was raised in Arkansas, he got his musical start in Tennessee—first in Memphis and later as part of the Nashville establishment. Often employing the familiar country music themes of Christianity, the blue-collar lifestyle, and patriotism, he has had numerous hit albums and songs throughout his career, among them the singles “Six White Horses,” “Rise and Shine,” and “One Song Away.” He continues to play music and give interviews about his career and life in the Cash family. Tommy Cash was born on April 5, 1940, in Dyess (Mississippi County) to Ray and Carrie Cash, both of whom were Arkansas natives; he was the youngest …

Cate Brothers Band

The Cate Brothers, identical twins Earl and Ernie (born Ernest), once exemplified the country-style rock and roll that flourished in the Ozark Mountains area of northwestern Arkansas, before adding rhythm and blues (R&B), soul, and funk to their approach in a distinctly unpretentious way. The Cates were born in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1942 and grew up in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties). Although not born to a musical family, the Cates taught themselves how to play their instruments and were heavily influenced during their teenage years by Ronnie Hawkins, whose ever-changing band, the Hawks, was at that time composed of the personnel who eventually became famous as Bob Dylan’s backup ensemble, the Band: pianist Richard Manuel, keyboardist Garth Hudson, …

Cates, Opal Taft (Opie)

Opie Cates was a popular bandleader, musician, and radio personality, known as one of the great clarinetists of the swing era (mid-1930s–mid-1940s). He was a familiar presence on radio in the 1940s, at one time appearing weekly on four different shows. By Cates’s own reckoning, his audience numbered over thirty-five million listeners. Some believe that the character of Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show was named after Opie Cates. Opal Taft Cates was born on October 10, 1909, in Clinton (Van Buren County). His parents, Abb Cates and Sarah Jacobs Cates, were farmers. Abb Cates died in 1914, Sarah Cates married Lee Andrew Reaves (or Reeves) in 1916. The blended family, which included several Reaves step-siblings and a younger …

Classical Music and Opera

Although Arkansas is generally better known for its blues, gospel, folk, country, and rock and roll performers, classical and opera music have deep roots in Arkansas history and culture, often appearing in interesting ways in unusual places. Internationally famous Arkansan composers of classical music include Scott Joplin, Florence Beatrice Smith Price, William Grant Still, and Conlon Nancarrow. Sarah Caldwell, who grew up in Fayetteville (Washington County), was a longtime opera director in Boston, Massachusetts, and the first woman to conduct an opera at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Arkansas has been home to opera singers Mary Lewis, Barbara Hendricks, Susan Dunn, Marjorie Lawrence, Mary McCormic, Robert McFerrin Sr., and William Warfield. Classical music figures prominently in academic music degree …

Cotton, Carolina

aka: Helen Hagstrom
Helen Hagstrom is best known for her country and western swing music and yodeling, as well as her appearances in numerous television specials, radio programs, and films under the name of Carolina Cotton. Nicknamed “The Yodeling Blonde Bombshell,” Hagstrom was an entertainer and teacher throughout her life. Helen Hagstrom was born on October 20, 1925, in Cash (Craighead County), where her parents, Fred and Helen Hagstrom, and maternal grandparents had a farm, growing many crops, including cotton and peanuts. During the Great Depression, Hagstrom’s father moved his wife and two daughters to San Francisco, California. Hagstrom began performing in traveling stage shows with the O’Neille Sisters Kiddie Revue. Then, after regularly visiting KYA Radio to watch Dude Martin’s Roundup Gang …

Country Music

While the precise origins of country and western music are not entirely clear, it is thought to have its roots in traditional folk music of the British Isles. Once this particular sound was brought by British immigrants to the United States, country music began to change as it was blended with the music of immigrants from other places, as well as with traditional religious hymns and the music of African slaves predominantly residing in the southern United States. Arkansas has had a firm place in the history of country music from its very beginnings in the United States, and the state has been the birthplace of many well-known country artists, as well as particular style variations of country music. While …

Cramer, Floyd

Pianist Floyd Cramer was one of the creators of what became known as the “Nashville sound,” a style often seen as a forerunner of the slick, upscale pop/rock that emerged in Nashville, Tennessee, in the 1990s. Cramer released fifty solo albums, had a classic hit in the song “Last Date” in 1960, and accompanied Elvis Presley on such rock and roll hits as “Heartbreak Hotel.” He was a longtime friend of producer and guitar virtuoso Chet Atkins and performed with other music luminaries, including Patsy Cline, Eddy Arnold, the Everly Brothers, Perry Como, and Roy Orbison. In the 1980s, he recorded a hit version of the theme from the Dallas TV series. Born on October 27, 1933, in Campti, Louisiana, …

Crumpler, Denver Dale

When singer Denver Dale Crumpler became a member of Hovie Lister and the Statesmen Quartet of Atlanta, Georgia, in 1953, his Irish tenor voice completed what many experts in the Southern gospel music field have termed “The Perfect Quartet.” By then, the Statesmen had formed a team with the famed Blackwood Brothers Quartet of Memphis, Tennessee, and were performing 250–300 concerts per year across the United States. Shortly after Crumpler’s arrival, the Statesmen signed a recording contract with RCA-Victor, as well as a contract with Nabisco as the sponsor of a syndicated television show eventually to be seen on about 150 television stations around the nation. Denver Dale Crumpler was born on August 17, 1912, in Village (Columbia County), near …