VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - He's a big star in Nashville who's never forgotten his roots in Vancleave. And on Tuesday afternoon, Paul Overstreet returned to the small community where he grew up for the unveiling of a highway marker honoring his distinguished career.
Overstreet enjoyed success as a country artist, but he's best known for his song writing talent. He's written dozens of hits for artists like Randy Travis, George Jones, The Judds and Kenny Chesney.
But that fame hasn't gone to his head. Polite applause greeted Overstreet, who arrived at his old high school's gazebo wearing his trademark cowboy hat.
Jackson County supervisor Manly Barton grew up with Paul Overstreet and recalls his guitar playing on the banks of Bluff Creek.
"Playing his guitar down there, doing Elvis impressions and all kinds of stuff. Paul is a great guy and he has represented Vancleave well. And has done very, very well in his career. And we're all just extremely proud of him," said a smiling Barton.
Overstreet told the crowd he remembered playing football in Barton's front yard. He shared a story about Manly Barton running smack into a pine tree and knocking himself out.
The hometown-boy-made-good is proud of his small town roots and upbringing.
"It's a humbling thing to have an event like this go on, especially while you're still alive," said Overstreet, to a chuckle from the appreciative crowd.
The musically talented man proved he is also blessed with a sense of humor.
"And the other thing I thought about, I don't know how many beer bottles will hit that sign," he said, while breaking into a laugh.
With his daddy William in the front row, the singer-songwriter called Vancleave one of the "greatest places in the world to grow up."
"Some fun times down here. Camping out and just hanging out on the creek. And all the different things you see and you learn down here growing up. And a lot of it shows up in your songs. You can write songs about the things that happen when you grow up. I've got a lot of information that I haven't even written about yet. Waiting on some of the people to pass away so I can write about it," he said, smiling.
As his son helped unveil the Mississippi County Music Trail marker along the highway, William Overstreet reminisced about visiting his son in Nashville years ago, and discussing his success.
"He said, 'They're still making deposits to my account.' I said, well if you get tired of them making 'em to your account, send 'em down my way and I'll make some mine!" said the elder Overstreet.
Several of Paul Overstreet's six children are involved in the music or entertainment industry. He joked about the recent fame of his son, Chord Overstreet, who has a role on the hit TV show, "Glee."