The Real Paul Jones

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Discovering Cleveland County, NC

I had a good meeting with historians, folklorists, and a lot of good people for Shelby, NC who are planning the “Earl Scruggs Center: Music and Stories of the Carolina Foothills” to be established in the beautiful old Cleveland County Courthouse there.

One of the special pleasures was meeting Earl Scruggs and his son Gary, but then there were some interesting discoveries about Cleveland County, which were pleasurable in themselves.

Associated with the Scruggs Center will be the Don Gibson Theater. Gibson, who wrote a good number of hits including “I can’t stop loving you,” is buried there in Shelby with a Masonic marker on his memorial.

Also from Shelby are Heavyweight Floyd Patterson, “The Clansman” author Thomas Dixon, B Movie Maker Earl Owensby and NBA star David Thompson.

In foodways, Shelby is truly mysterious. Until recently Shelby hosted an annual Liver Mush Festival as well as a whole food, meatfree, Biblically correct Hallelujah Diet retreat center, Hallelujah Acres. Neither of these should be confused with the Shelby Hamfest, which is not about eats, but about Amateur Radio.

The downtown of Shelby was the first National Register of Historic Places Main Street Community.

Now I need to get down there and check out Cleveland County myself.


  1. I agree! Come on down and we’ll have a beer! Shelby is home to lots of good things, my good self included.
    Just remember that livermush is one word — don’t get too high-falutin’. Also, come see the restored carousel — it’s more than worth the price of the ticket (50 cents :-).

  2. Paul

    6/6/2007 at 10:16 pm

    When I do get down there, I plan to go to Mack’s Liver Mush (note two words here) 6126 McKee Road or their competitor Jenkins Foods which sells both regular and Hot Liver Mush.
    I grew up with Neese’s myself.

  3. Will there be a livermush fest. this year??

  4. Also home to North Carolina Governor Oliver Max Gardner (1929-33)
    Gardner-Webb University
    and Sunset Cemetary
    now please stop the froie gras cruelty
    and support more Piedmont Pate’ (aka Livermush, we gotta change the name, it’s the only way we can really get this fine product into more North Carolinians!)

  5. Paul

    7/12/2007 at 6:39 am

    A similar product from Neese’s is called Liver Pudding. Only a slightly more attractive name for the mash of mystery parts and organs.

    Will there be a livermush fest this year? I’d like to know too.

  6. mary boylan

    9/11/2007 at 11:21 pm

    Is it possible to get Neeses liverpudding outside the state of N. C.? I grew up iin Charlotte but now reside in Florida. Have never been able to fiind it here. Have looked in S.C. to no avail also.

  7. Paul

    9/12/2007 at 5:11 am

    See the Neeses site. Here’s their distribution area and their contact info for ordering.

  8. I was born and raised in Shelby,N.C.. I’m wondering is Mack’s or Jenkins would ship some livermush if i ordered it? I can order Sundrop and Cheerwine on line. Now all I need is Alston Bridges bbq asnd livermush.

  9. The Livermush Festival is usually the last “Spring in Shelby” event of the summer now. Sadly, only lasts for a few hours and very little to do there as opposed to the good old days when we had the Batmobile there and a Transformer walking around…

  10. Evelyn Mckeon

    7/1/2009 at 10:06 am

    Where can I purchase Liver Mush in Decatur, Ga.

  11. Judy Lindsay

    7/6/2009 at 2:10 pm

    I would like to know when the livermush festival is being held. Also, Is it in Shelby or Marion???

  12. Paul

    7/6/2009 at 5:43 pm

    Originally in Shelby, but must recently in Marion. Video about the recent 2009 Fest here Story here

  13. gilda sweezy

    7/17/2009 at 12:15 pm

    I’ve been living in California for 15 years and my son sends me country ham from home All the time. Now I have a real hankering for livermush and Cheerwine. Let me get busy trying to find all this online. You really make me homesick for those good old days.

  14. Paul-
    The grand opening of the Don Gibosn Theatre is November 21, 2009. This theatre is a beautifully renovated 400 seat state-of-the-art concert hall(listening room as some are calling it).

    Come see us. The website for the theatre is

    By the way, the Livermush Festival is Saturday, October 24, 2009 on the square in Shelby. This will be held in conjunction with the 7th annual Art of Sound Festival.

    Plans for the Earl Scruggs Center:Music & Stories of the Carolina Foothills are underway. We anticipate an opening in late 2011.

    Brownie Plaster, chairman
    Destination Cleveland County

  15. a note- a typo in the previous email- Don Gibson

    Our marquee lighting ceremony is October 27,2009 at the theatre. This is the 70th anniversary of the opening of the original State Theater which we have now transformed into the Don Gibson Theatre.

    Ya’ll come. The lights are bright in Cleveland County!

  16. Paul

    10/22/2009 at 9:14 pm

    So good to hear of the good work in Shelby coming to such fruition. I can’t make the Livermush Festival this weekend — the leaves must be beautiful. But I’ll see if I can’t make it next year.
    I do hope to get to the Gibson Theatre but it will prolly be after the opening weekend. Maybe I can get down before the Scruggs Center opening.

  17. Can a person purchase liver mush on line, if so could you help me out with the website.

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