Jim Reeves Memorial"Gentleman" Jim Reeves, famous for his velvet voice, died in a plane crash on July 31, 1964. A life-sized sculpture of the famous singer marks his grave on a one-acre, tree-covered plot of ground three miles east of Carthage on U.S. Highway 79. Thousands of visitors from every state and many foreign countries have visited the site.
In 1967, his favorite dog Cheyenne was buried inside the concrete circle surrounding the grave of his former master just a few feet to one side and to the rear, in just about the same position Cheyenne would have assumed in following his master.
Reeves was born James Travis Reeves in Galloway, Texas, a small rural community near Carthage, Texas. He became known as a crooner because of his warm, velvety voice. His songs were remarkable for their simple elegance highlighted by his rich light baritone voice. Songs such as "He'll Have to Go," "Adios Amigo," "Welcome To My World," and "Am I Losing You" demonstrated this approach. Jim Reeves' Christmas songs have been perennial favorites, including songs such as "Silver Bells," "Blue Christmas," and "An Old Christmas Card."
For many years, Reeves mixed college life with baseball and music. Influenced by such Western swing artists as Jimmie Rodgers and Moon Mullican, as well as popular crooners Bing Crosby, Eddy Arnold and Frank Sinatra, it was not long before he got a foothold into the music industry. For a time, he was a member of Moon Mullican's band and also worked as a DJ and announcer with local radio stations. He made some early, Moon Mullican-style recordings like "Each Beat of my Heart" and "My Heart's Like a Welcome Mat" in the late 1940s/early 1950s.
After an injury cut short his minor-league baseball career with the St. Louis Cardinals' farm system, his musical break came while working as announcer on KWKH Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Singer Sleepy LaBeef could not make it on time for a performance on the Louisiana Hayride, according to former Hayride emcee Frank Page, and Reeves was asked to fill in. (Other accounts—including Reeves himself, in an interview later released on the RCA album "Yours Sincerely"—name Hank Williams as the absentee.) Reeves' singing career was launched.