So the big news is, of course, that Johnny Cash died yesterday. I say ‘of course’ because here in Austin you would think that besides the UT football game, Johnny Cash is the only thing Texans listen to–his death is felt far and wide here. He’s one of those few musicians that seemed to transcend every generation and genre, and for someone of his league made a rather funny fan club of my generation. When I was getting into music, punks, new-wavers, rocknrollers, folk artists and djs all loved him. He’s a generation older than my parents, and one of the few who of those guys who had something to offer us. An authentic voice. And one of true spirituality, too. When Johnny sang about Jesus, it was never ironically, although it sounded like it was, which is what we like about it. But deep down inside, we knew he was singing about real angels, not just metaphorical ones. And I believe him. Even on his last few records, he took the ironic songs–songs of real hurt and postmodern anxiety, and turned them around to transparent cries of the heart. In this way he brought dignity to to the artists–paying them the highest compliment, while lifting Trent REznor’s anger to a crying prayer, Beck’s clever clownishness into a prodigal’s swan song, Depeche Mode’s exaggerated Christian symbolism into a sermon: “Reach out and touch faith,” as we all heard Dave Gahan sing a million times, but in Johnny’s rusty heartbreaky way, we are urged to DO it now.
if you have a decent connection and some speakers you can listen to his last album… remarkable… get your tissues…. at netscape.