Mark Twain Words & Music CD

Mark Twain: Words & Music   ~   A bluegrass benefit for the Mark Twain Museum...

Mark Twain Words & MusicMark Twain CD Disc OneMark Twain CD bookletMark Twain fiddle


Mark Twain: Words & Music combines spoken word and music to tell the life story of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. It was created to commemorate 2010 – The Year of Mark Twain– and was produced by Grammy award-winning producer/musician/singer/songwriter Carl Jackson who also wrote some original music for the project and recorded one of his compositions ("Safe Water"). The double-CD was released on Mailboat Records, September 21, 2011.

LISTEN to excerpts of the CD here!

Order yours today
, and enjoy a tale well told... and sung!

Check out the star-studded cast and play-list below. Story segments are followed by a corresponding song. Together, these tracks tell Twain's life - the good parts, the bad parts, the funny parts, and the parts that will make you cry...

1. “Hello yourself, and see how you like it…”
Jimmy Buffett, Clint Eastwood, Garrison Keillor

1. “Don’t scrunch up like that, Huckleberry…”
Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett

2. When Halley Came to Jackson ~ Emmylou Harris
2. Huck Finn Blues ~ Brad Paisley

3. “Hannibal, Missouri, where my boyhood was spent…”
Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett

3. “The crows would gather on the railing and talk about me…”
Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood

4. Better Times a’ Comin’ ~
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

4. Indian Crow ~ Marty Raybon

5. “He agreed to teach me the Mississippi River…”
Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett

5. “So wounded, so broken-hearted…”
Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood

6. Run Mississippi ~ Rhonda Vincent

6. Love is On Our Side ~ Val Storey

7. “Several years of variegated vagabondizing…”
Clint Eastwood, Garrison Keillor, Jimmy Buffett

7. “Wheresoevershe was, there was Eden…”
Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood

8. A Cowboy in His Soul ~ Bradley Walker

8. I Know You By Heart ~ Vince Gill

9. “It liberates the vandal to travel…”
Clint Eastwood, Garrison Keillor, Jimmy Buffett

9. “My conscience got to stirring me up hotter than ever…”
Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett

10. Safe Water ~ Carl Jackson

10. Ink ~ Joe Diffie

11. “You ain’t ever to love anybody but me…”
Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood

11. “The report of my death was an exaggeration…”
Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Buffett

12. I Wandered by a Brookside ~ The Church Sisters

12. Comet Ride ~ Ricky Skaggs

13. “It was a mighty nice family…”
Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood, Angela Lovell

13. "The truth, mainly..."
Garrison Keillor, Jimmy Buffett

14. Beautiful Dreamer ~ Sheryl Crow

Huck Finn: Jimmy Buffett; Narrator: Garrison Keillor;
Mark Twain:
Clint Eastwood; Susy Clemens: Angela Lovell

Producer: Carl Jackson          Executive Producers: Carl Jackson and Cindy Lovell

Read the L.A. Times Review

Radio Stations - Download the tracks at

YouTube Video (with excerpts)

Bob Edwards interviews Cindy Lovell on his SiriusXM program: Part 1 and Part 2 (30 min. total)

Read Cindy's "miracle" story on The Huffington Post

Teachers! Here is a free unit to download that addresses the Common Core State Standards using the CD to integrate curriculum (grades 5-12, can be modified).

Digital Downloads

Digital downloads are available on Amazon (although purchasing the CD directly from our online store generates more revenue for the museum). A digital booklet with lyrics and narrative is available here.

Mark Twain CD on Facebook

The story behind the CD

Cindy Lovell, executive director of the Museum, met Carl Jackson when the two were kids. Cindy lived in Pennsylvania, and Carl lived in Mississippi. Carl was playing banjo with Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys, a top bluegrass band that toured the country. Cindy and Carl became friends and pen-pals. In a few years, Carl found himself playing with Glen Campbell. They lost touch, but Carl's career in music continued to soar.  In 2003 he produced Livin', Lovin', Losin': Songs of the Louvin Brothers as a tribute to Charlie and Ira Louvin. The CD won two Grammy awards in 2004 and became Cindy's favorite CD. She was trying to think of an innovative way to commemorate The Year of Mark Twain in 2010 when she came up with the idea for this project. 

Although she hadn't seen or spoken with Carl in more than 30 years, she phoned him in 2007 and pitched the idea for the project. Carl loved it, and they began planning, meeting in person again for the first time in December 2009. Carl's vast musical experiences and friendships resulted in an all-star cast of musicians, singers, and songwriters. These talented performers donated their talents to the cause in support of the museum. Cindy contacted some pretty special friends who donated funds to pay for studio time, engineering, etc. After hundreds of hours of phone conversations, traveling, brainstorming, listening to songs, and considering every possible idea, the result of this enduring friendship and "Twain-spiration" is a double-CD (that includes a 40-page booklet containing all of the narrative and song lyrics) of Mark Twain's life - from birth to death - in a completely unique format. 


Mark Twain CD Carl Cindy Garrison
Mark Twain CD Paisley Lovell Jackson
Carl Jackson, Cindy Lovell, and Garrison Keillor
at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
Brad Paisley, Cindy Lovell, and Carl Jackson at
Station West Studio in Nashville.
 Mark Twain CD Cindy and Rhonda VincentMark Twain CD
 Cindy Lovell and Rhonda Vincent meet up at a
Missouri bluegrass festival.
It was a pretty exciting day at the Museum
when the first CDs arrived!
Mark Twain CD Brad Brad Carl
 Church Sisters
 Brad Paisley, Bradley Walker, and Carl Jackson
take a break between recording sessions.
 The Church Sisters add their voices to
the CD with "I Wandered By A Brookside."
 Mark Twain CD launchMark Twain CD Donors
Carl Jackson accepts the key to the city of
Hannibal, MO at the CD reception at the museum.
 Keith, Heather & Bob (back row)
Tom, Herb, Joan, Carl, Bruce, & Cheryl
Our wonderful donors who made sure we could
cover the costs to make this historical project!
Carl Jackson and Val Storey  Priscilla Houliston & Carl Jackson
Carl Jackson and Val Storey at the reception.
Warning: Val's song is a real tearjerker.
Priscilla Houliston & Carl Jackson
co-wrote "Run Mississippi"
The International Academy of the Visual Arts awarded Poole
the 2012 Communicator Award of Distinction for
their design of the CD's cover and 40-page booklet of liner
notes in the category of Public Service/Pro Bono-Marketing/
Promotion. Special thanks to Sheena Kendrick and Sally
Poole for their time, creativity, and energy!

What are you waiting for? ORDER YOURS NOW!
The perfect gift for anyone who loves Mark Twain, a good story, and great music!

Mark Twain: Words & Music CD Cover

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