Victoria Miske Biography Assignment – Johnny Cash 1.) Born in 1932 in Arkansas, Johnny grew up in a poor farming community during the Great Depression. At only 3 years old Johnny tucked in the back of a flatbed truck with his mother Carrie, father Ray and his 2 sisters and 2 brothers for a 250-mile ride to one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” relocations in in Mississippi Delta, Colonization Project Number One- called “Dyess”. Johnny was thin, brown-eyed curious boy. Under his father’s strict rules of work, school and sleep, Johnny drew his happiness from his mother’s gospel songs she sang as she did her own work. Johnny’s first friend, Jesse Barnhill introduced Johnny to country music. Jesse and Johnny would share their music with each other and sing together late into the nights. If the two were not working for their father’s in cotton fields, at school, or at church they were signing together as Jesse strummed his guitar. Cash began writing songs at age 12. During high school, he performed frequently on radio station KLGN in Blytheville Arkansas. “All of the Cashes spent the night on the floor in House No. 266, lying on damp coats and blankets. Carrie who played piano, guitar, and fiddle tried softly singing the children asleep, turning once more to the gospel music loved by her grandfather.” (pg. 22) “Three-year-old Johnny shut his eyes. Curled onto his blanket, toes rubbing against Jack’s knees, he tried not to think of panthers in the jungle. Instead, he let the words of the song about the promise land warm him like honey. Maybe the newness in Dyess wasn’t so bad. Maybe his
daddy didn’t have to jump off of trains anymore. And maybe, Johnny told himself, Dyess, with its mud and cold and its bad stump hole – just might be a cross-your-heart promise.” (pg. 23) “I sang through the dark and decided that that kind of music (country) was going to be my magic to take me through the dark places” (pg. 27) 2.) Johnny Cash’s life was extraordinary because he embraced the simple things in life while still living as a world-famous singer. He never forgot where he came from and how his simple roots allowed him to shape his music to truly define himself. Although he fell into the hands of drugs during his time as a star, and lost his faith a few times, The Man in Black was able to do things his way in the music industry and earn almost universal respect from his fans for it. There are not many singers out there today who are able to make it big without following the current trends. Johnny Cash didn’t bother with the trends and new “Rock n Roll” style of the time. He sang his gospel and country music no matter what others said. Always letting his music cut through his listener’s hearts with the true stories of family, love, loss and real American themes. On top of his extraordinary way of living has a famous singer, one can say that his life was extraordinary simply because he was a world-famous singer. Johnny Cash is still remembered as a massive impact on the music industry and people are still discovering his greatness. His legacy
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- Fall '17
- Jack DuBose
- The Bible, Johnny, Johnny Cash, Country music