Friday, March 23, 2007

It Was Right.

Tonight, I was surprised that my kids joined me for the two-plus hours of Walk the Line, which I've been waiting to see since it was released. They were riveted despite the lack of special effects. the real life story of that era in music, and in country music, was completely new to them. My daughter, for as many shows as she's been to, was really fascinated by this world with Sam Phillips and the Opry and the little shows and driving through the night on a bus to your next show.

Regardless of your musical taste, it's an incredible human story. Not human triumph, not tragedy. Just human.

Johnny Cash grew up poor in an angry family and June Carter grew up in a family with what you might call some pretty high expectations. The two of them brougth some pretty fierce emotions into play, from two very different worlds. June grew up surrounded with music, in the family that can really claim to have laid the foundation for modern country music. Johnny grew up in the shadow of a father who really cared nothing for music. For both of them, music was their passion, and it was this underlying passion that made it impossible for the two of them not to be together.

There was a little bit of head scratching going on here in the living room as my children could see the gravitational pull between Johnny and June. But over the course of the film they began to see and understand what it was really about.

It's about being understood, and forming a partnership down where you can't even see it. You don't even know it's happening. All you know is, that person might be the worst person on earth but you both know something more together than you do separately, and so you're kind of stuck with each other. That's just how it is. And that's how it was that these two individuals came together and lived out the life they were supposed to live together.

And yes, for the record now, the Carter Family saved Johnny Cash's butt, and so all you Johnny Cash fans better be getting right with Wildwood Flower and Gold Watch and Chain and all that.

I'm going to play this video for my children tomorrow. That's Johnny Cash at the Carter Family Fold (as its known) in Virginia; I believe that's Jeannette Carter who keeps the place open and keeps the legacy of her family's contributions alive. This is purportedly Johnny's last performance, in June 2003, not too long before he died.

I had thought that he outlived June by at least a year.

It was only four months.


At March 24, 2007 5:08 AM, Blogger MichaelBains said...

JC is one of those guys I could never Not like. lol No matter how unreceptive to country music I had been through most of my life.

I think it's just cuz he's always presented his self and not some hoaked up persona when he plays, and he was never afraid to cover Anything, no matter how different it might sound.

Thx for sharin' that 'Tube. It was sad but really cool to have seen him essentially saying Goodbye.

At March 24, 2007 8:48 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hey Mr. B,
Thanks. I always did like Johnny Cash, too. He had his own sound, and did some pretty crazy things with it.

I enjoyed the flick much more than I thought I would, and got to skipping around the Nets this morning with my kids listening and watching some more -- JR had a few Sesame Street gigs too. And there are some beautiful Carter-Cash versions of Carter Family songs out there.

Another American treasure, for sure.

At March 24, 2007 3:39 PM, Blogger Women on the Verge said...

I always loved that Man in Black...


At March 25, 2007 4:35 PM, Blogger Blueberry said...

He truly transcended genre and became someone completely in his own class. Nobody doesn't like Johnny Cash.

At March 27, 2007 10:01 PM, Blogger My Boring Best said...

This man's music was like a soundtrack to my childhood. He was always playing in our house.

To be honest, I cannot think of a moment in my life where I didn't like Johnny Cash and his music. He always made me feel "happy."

This video is so heart-warming and heart-breaking for me. I loved that guy.

...always will.

At March 27, 2007 10:09 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hey MBB, thank you so much for stopping by. What an interesting little slice! I can definitely see your folks as Cash people.

Blueberry's right, he really did sort of create his own niche. He was just JR Cash, you know?

Thank God for June (must be the name)-- she turned him around good and got us a lot more before it was over.

Thanks for dropping by. I miss you, creep.

At March 27, 2007 10:34 PM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

Sometimes we look back at our lives and wonder why on earth we ended up with the people we did. Sometimes they stick and sometimes, thankfully, they don't. Good or bad, the ones that count are the ones that know you inside and out and love you anyway.

Much love,
Shameless Agitator


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