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Johnny Cash

As a child who’s formative musical years were the 1990’s, I dismissed “Country Music” as bubble gum pop, hidden beneath a cowboy hat and a fiddle track.  Billy Ray Cyrus and his mulleted prancing, Garth Brooks becoming Chris Gaines and the hokey and jingoistic anthems following 9/11, only further solidified my opinion.  I had a taste for 60’s country-rock, via my parents and my love for the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, but I never looked to my musical left to see that Country road running parallel.  This all changed in 2002.

Hearing a song that had fed my teenage angst and was there to wrap around me when my heart would break and rage, sung by that craggy, clear and dying voice was a revelation.  And then, the video.  Goddamn, I still cry.  Then and upon every subsequent viewing.  The pain, the joyful images of the virile and manic past.  Who was this man?  I had seen the poster with the middle finger in Spencer’s Gifts.  I had heard “Ring of Fire” and “I Walk the Line”, in passing but had always nodded and moved along.  Now I HAD to know.  I had to know it all.

Johnny led me to Hank.  Hank led to Marty.  Marty led to The Possum.  The Possum led to Tammy, and the rest is history.  I fell hard for Country Music.  And Johnny Cash pushed me through that door.  Happy birthday, Mr. Cash.  And thank you for everything.

I recommend the BBC documentary, “Johnny Cash – The Last Great American” and the A&E documentary, “Johnny Cash’s America (links below)

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  1. […] played, what songs began to tilt my ear toward this obsession?  I touched on this a bit with this post on Johnny Cash’s birthday, but it’s an area that I’d like to explore […]

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