The Story Behind “Jones County Jubilee” and the “Free State of Jones”

Lost River Stories

Here’s how a lost story from the Leaf River swamp in southeast Mississippi turned into my song, “Jones County Jubilee.” The song’s roots are in a trip to Jones County, Mississippi in summer 1993 with my wife, Victoria E. Bynum, author of Free State of Jones. This was our second summer trip to Jones County. At that time, she was in the early stages of research for her 2001 book that led to a major Hollywood movie in 2016 starring Matt McConaughey. Without her book and our research trips, I never would have written the song. On that second trip, I was driving our little 1989 Mercury Tracer, searching for the old Mason Creek homestead site of Albert and Mason Knight, Newton Knight’s parents, when I spotted a guy in his truck out in a field. I pulled over and suggested that Vikki get out of the car and…

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3 replies »

  1. Greg, Thank you so much for this sweet gift! Let me tell you that it made my day and how much I appreciate it. I also love the album cover! I’ve lost count of the times I’ve listen to them already. I recognized the Mudcat Album cover right away having seen them numerous times as a child. Give that lovely Bynum girl you married my love. Can’t think of a couple more suited to be hitched together. Brenda

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    • Brenda, we always look forward to hearing from you, and it’s great knowing you’ve been listening to the Mudcats since childhood! Tell me, do you live in Jones County? If so, I hope we met some of your folks while excavating the Free State of Jones. We were practically newlyweds when the above trip took place, so that was the beginning of a long marriage in which research trips together literally became our vacations!



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