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Johnny Cash,s  Other Country Music Awards 

Cash Honored at  Americana Awards

NASHVILLE ,  Tenn. (AP) - The notion that something has gone wrong with country music got heavyweight support this weekend from Johnny Cash and Emmylou Harris.

Both were honored Friday night at the Americana Awards Show, and each made it clear they feel more at home on the margins of the industry - where they feel its real heart is.

The Americana Music Association's first awards show promoted a rawer, less flashy version of country than the music of Shania Twain and other mainstream  Nashville stars.

``There might not be millions and millions of people out there who understand it, but there are people out there who hunger for something more,'' Harris said as she accepted a lifetime achievement award.

The highlight of the night was a rare appearance by the 70-year-old Cash, who has had health setbacks in recent years including diabetes and bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis.

He was honored with the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award, for ``shining a light on issues that otherwise go unseen.''

Cash recited a patriotic poem, ``That Ragged Old Flag,'' and performed with his wife, June Carter Cash. At first frail, he seemed to gain strength from performing again.

``Thank you very much, folks,'' Cash said during one of three long standing ovations.


Voted the Most Programmed Male Country Vocalist in The Cash Box Disk Jockey


Given on behalf of the Automatic Music Industry of America; gold figure holding a record album reading "The Cash Box Award

Cash praised for his humanity 

Activism, not music, earns a country legend honors on this night Heralded for the social activism and humanity within so many of his genre-altering, culture-quaking songs, Country Music Hall of Famer Johnny Cash walked to a microphone last night at downtown  Nashville 's Hilton Suites Hotel ballroom and received the inaugural Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award. was presented by  Freedom Forum First Amendment  Center  founder John Seigenthaler. 

The occasion was the fledgling Americana Music Awards Show, an event designed to celebrate the purveyors of rootsy, often-twangy music that exists outside the boundaries of the contemporary commercial country music world. But the roomful of supposed musical outsiders reserved the night's most enthusiastic reception for country stalwart Cash, 70, whose iconic artistry transcends stylistic borders. 

After listening to Seigenthaler praise him as ''the advocate of the poor and the powerless'' who challenged societal norms by making ''music that reminded us of what we would rather forget,'' Cash thanked the audience, then opted to forego an acceptance speech in favor of reciting an updated version of his 1974 song-poem, Ragged Old Flag

''She's getting threadbare and wearing thin/ But she's in good shape for the shape she's in,'' he said, delivering the patriotic lines with the shaking hands and husky voice of an older man but with the darting, impassioned eyes of a young zealot. '' 'Cause she's been through the fire before/ And I believe she can take a whole lot more.'' 

Cash's appearance along with a two-song, show-concluding set with wife June Carter Cash and a bevy of musical relatives was the highlight of what proved an endearing evening, a night in which music often thought ''unmarketable'' and ''difficult'' was cheered and endorsed. 

Singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale took home two of the four ''yearly'' awards, for Song and Artist of the Year. His She's Looking At Me, recorded with Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, earned the Song designation after voting from the 900-member Americana Music Association. 

Lauderdale's Artist prize likely took quantity into account along with quality: the North Carolina-born, Nashville-based performer's past annum included two new albums, a heavy touring schedule and a critically acclaimed stint in a play about Tammy Wynette (he starred in the role of George Jones). 

''I'm very humbled by this, because the people in this room are the ones I've listened to and looked up to,'' Lauderdale said backstage. ''We've all had a tough row to hoe.'' 

While the 3-year-old   Americana  organization has spent much time and effort attempting to define a nebulous ''style'' of music, the awards show chose to rejoice rather than classify. Husband and wife team Buddy & Julie Miller won the Best Album trophy for a self-titled album that used folk, country, rock and pop sounds capes. 

''I don't think about what it is,'' Miller said. ''I just know the music I like. That's probably the way people who listen to it want it.'' 

The evening's other yearly prize went to Jerry Douglas, named best instrumentalist for his Dobro work. 

Besides Cash's citation, four Lifetime Achievement Awards were handed out. O Brother, Where Art Thou? producer T Bone Burnett won for Lifetime Executive, legendary songsmith and performer Billy Joe Shaver was named Lifetime Songwriter, departed Texan Doug Sahm was named the President's Award winner and Emmylou Harris received the Lifetime Performer trophy. 

''There was a time when a lot of us felt like we were the only weird people who liked this kind of music,'' Harris said, standing behind a podium shaped like an old microphone. ''Now, I can see all of you out there.'' 

Later, Harris said, ''It's like, before we had a party at home, and now we have to get a larger place for it.'' 

After the awards were handed out, June Carter Cash strode into the spotlight, with family members including daughter Carlene Carter (who has recently moved back to   Nashville  ), niece Lorrie Carter, granddaughter Tiffany Anastasia Lowe and, of course, husband Cash. 

After a rendition of The Original Carter Family's mournful Sinking In The Lonesome Sea, the familial mass lightened up for the finale: a romp through Temptation (first recorded by Bing Crosby) that found Cash charming his wife with lyrics like ''As the mud hole tempts the mosquito/ That's how you tempt me.'' 

Instrumentalist winner Douglas was hard-pressed for words to describe his reaction to the Cash/Carter confab. 

''It was incredible,'' he said, forgetting the trophy in his hands while relishing thoughts of what he'd seen and heard. ''It was like a space trip or something. Like going to the moon. No, it was way farther out than that.'' 


Voted Best Country Male Vocalist of the Year in The Cash Box Juke Box Operators


  Americana  Winners 

The following is a complete list of winners of the First Annual Americana Music Awards: 

Instrumentalist of the Year: Jerry Douglas 

Lifetime Executive: T Bone Burnett 

Song of the Year: She's Looking At Me (Jim Lauderdale, Ralph Stanley & The   Clinch  Mountain  Boys) 

Lifetime Songwriter: Billy Joe Shaver 

Album of the Year: Buddy & Julie Miller (self-titled) 

Spirit of  Americana  (given by the Americana Music Association in conjunction with the  First Amendment Center ): Johnny Cash

Artist of the Year: Jim Lauderdale

President's Award: Doug Sahm

Lifetime Performer: Emmylou Harris


NEW YORK, Aug. 25 This week's MTV Video Music Awards, celebrating a medium that usually oozes youth and invincibility, would seem like the last place to celebrate a somber video with a frail, 71-year-old Johnny Cash

The MTV Video Awards Will Air This Thursday At 8:00 PM On The MTV Cable Network

       ''If you watch what's on MTV, you don't see anything like this,'' Rubin said. ''You won't see anything from any artist in Johnny's age range and you won't see anything with this kind of serious content. It really sticks out like a sore thumb.''
       MTV won't say how many times the video actually aired on the network; Rubin said he's heard it was played six times one for each video music award nomination.
       It has, however, gotten much more exposure than Romanek expected on outlets like CMT and MTV2.
       Romanek's original idea was to film Cash on a Los Angeles soundstage packed with memorabilia from the singer's career. The artifacts would gradually disappear until Cash appeared alone at the song's end.
       Yet Cash wasn't healthy enough to make the trip, so the director brought his crew to Cash's home, not knowing what he'd find. One stroke of luck was finding the shuttered and decaying House of Cash Museum five minutes from the singer's home. It was used in the video, too.
       He never expected to make such a powerful reflection on aging and mortality.
       ''You really get an inside feeling of the human experience of growing up in a family and all the trials and tribulations that come up for everyone,'' Rubin said. ''It's such a common thing but it's so rarely touched upon.''
       The veteran producer, a pioneer in rap music who has helped Cash to a creative rebirth with a series of intimate recordings, said he's heard more people talking about the video than anything he'd ever worked on.
       ''If you were moved to that kind of emotion in the course of a two-hour movie, it would be a great accomplishment,'' he said. ''To do it in a four-minute music video is shocking.''
       Romanek said that as a fan, he's always appreciated the candor in Cash's music and thought the video should reflect that.
       ''I certainly didn't want the piece to appear like a premature obituary,'' he said. ''That wasn't the intention, and I hope the piece doesn't come across that way.''
       Cash may have been clear-eyed when watching with Rosanne, but was quite taken aback when he first saw it, Rubin said. It was only with his family's encouragement that he agreed to release it.
       Now, he said, Cash is quite proud and excited that it has gotten recognition.
       Tom Calderone, MTV's executive vice president of music and talent, is hoping to see Cash at Thursday's awards show. He'll provide some heft for an event that even Calderone admits usually has its share of here-today-gone-tomorrow artists.
       ''Back in the day, he had edge,'' Calderone said. ''He was kind of a rebel.''
       Cash continues to work despite his health problems and the emotional blow of becoming a widower. He and Rubin are recording their fifth disc together, and are also preparing a box set of unreleased material from their sessions over the past decade.
       Romanek said he doesn't want his video confused with real life. Cash's life isn't that bleak, he said.
       ''It's a very somber song, but when we yelled 'cut,' there was a very different Johnny Cash that emerged, who was a lot more lively and a lot more sprightly and funny and frisky with June. (He was) having a good time.''


For Ballad of A Teenage Queen, voted the Most Programmed Country Record in The Cash Box Disk Jockey Toll

`1981 Country Music Wax Museum Bust Of Johnny Cash

Composition with a gold plaque on a wooden base, inscription reading : Johnny Cash / A Giant Of The Country Music Industry. Presented By The Country Music Wax Museum.

The Country Music Wax Museum opened on Music Row in 1971. It closed in 1997, due to the changing face of tourism in Nashville. Johnny donated clothes and a guitar for his full size likeness, which was unveiled in 1981 at the museum and commemorated in this bust, a gift form the museum.

After the museum closed, many of the figures were relocated to the basement. They were apparently "Lost" until 1999, when New York Times reporter Joseph /Siegenthaler rediscovered them, including the Cash Figure

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