Photo Courtesy of Marty Stuart
Now that Marty Stuart has solidified himself in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the country music legend has already set his sights on his next goal—a $32 million project in his hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi.
Stuart, who was recently honored as a member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 alongside Hank Williams, Jr. and Dean Dillon, has chosen Philadelphia to be the home of his Congress of Country Music.
“When you drive across the state line, [the sign] says ‘Birthplace of America’s Music,’ and I’m so proud of that,” Stuart said. “The Congress of Country Music will be a cultural center, performance center, museum space, and educational facility for country music. I call it my ‘Hillbilly Presidential Library,’ so that’s kind of what it is.”
In phase one of the three-phase project, the historic Ellis Theater, which sits in the middle of Philadelphia’s downtown area, will be renovated and turned into a 500-seat venue for concerts and other events.
“This has been Marty’s vision for several years,” Representative Scott Bounds of Philadelphia said. “It will be a place that we cannot only host and have community events, but also with Marty’s extensive networking of country music performers, we can bring them to Philadelphia.”
The second phase will consist of the construction of the museum portion of Stuart’s Congress of Country Music, and according to the Grammy-winning artist, it’s going to be a museum like no other.
“To begin with, I have Johnny Cash’s first black performance suit, a lot of Hank Williams’ handwritten lyrics, his guitar, one of Jimmie Rodgers’ guitars, the briefcase that was in Jimmie Rodgers’ casket when they brought his body home from New York City to Meridian,” Stuart said of what the museum is going to feature. “There’s going to be 20,000 items of that caliber in there.”
The third and final phase is going to tie in the educational facility, which will offer programs similar to those of the Grammy Museum Mississippi, and should be completed by December of 2021.