Johnny Cash: musician, activist, songwriter, a man whose music resonated through the years of his long career across country, music, folk, Americana, rock and roll, rockabilly, and gospel, and whose influence has been felt from Japan to Russia to Ireland to his native Arkansas in the American south, and continues to live on across the world, nine years after his death.
It is to Arkansas, to the town of Dyess, that members Cash’s family will return on February 26th, the eightieth anniversary of his birth, to celebrate ground breaking on the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Project. Under the stewardship of Arkansas State University, the project is intended to be be a permanent tribute to Cash’s early life and that of his family. It will also reflect American life in the south during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. To that end, the university is spearheading the restoration not only of the house in which Cash grew up, but several other historic buildings in Dyess.
In this eightieth year since his birth, Nashville, Tennessee, where he spent much of his music career, will see a new legacy from Johnny Cash, as well. It was announced recently that plans are underway for a Johnny Cash Museum, to be located on Third Avenue South, not far from the Country Music Hall of Fame and a short walk from the historic Ryman Auditorium. It will contain memorabilia from friends, family, and collectors and is, in the words of Johnny and June Carter Cash’s son John Carter Cash, meant to continue the momentum and the spirit of his parents’ lives. The museum in Nashville is expected to open this summer.
Rosanne Cash, herself a professional musician and songwriter, says “ This entire year we celebrate not just [my father’s] roots and history, but the breadth and depth of his artistic legacy, his spirit and authenticity, and the love and rhythm he brought to all our lives which continues to inspire millions of people around the globe.”
To get a taste of that, take a look at this video, a sort of photographic retrospective of Cash’s life, set to the words and music of the song September When It Comes, a song Rosanne wrote and which they sang together on her album Rules of Travel.
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Look back at a selection of some of Cash’s memorable songs, including I Walk the Line, Folsom Prison Blues, Ring of Fire, and others on The Essential Johnny Cash
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