Eyes Of A Fan
Goodbye To Johnny Cash
Tribute And Memorial
At The Ryman Auditorium
November 10, 2003
To Host Johnny Cash Tribute
Rosanne Cash - Singing I Still
A musical tribute to the
late Johnny Cash is slated to take place Nov. 10 at the historic Ryman
Auditorium with some of the biggest names in the industry singing his
Cash's manager, Lou Robin, who spent 34 years traveling all over the world
with the country music icon, said he and the family wanted to do something
for the fans who were unable to either watch or attend the Sept. 15
funeral service, which was held at the First Baptist Church in
Cash, who was awarded 12 Grammy awards during his 42-year music career,
died Sept. 12 from complications related to diabetes. He was 71.
“[The family] just wanted to … give the public … closure to their
feelings about John’s death,” Robin said. “They thought maybe this
would be an opportunity for a lot of different entertainers to come and
voice their feelings and perform and entertain.”
Expected to perform at the Cash Memorial Concert are his daughter, Rosanne,
Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Hank
Williams Jr., Jack Clement, Steve Earle and Larry Gatlin. Musicians not
yet confirmed are Bob Dylan, Bono and Bruce Springsteen.
Robin said while the event could have been held in a number of other
venues, the Ryman seemed like the perfect fit.
“It has a lot of ambiance and a lot of memories for everyone,” Robin
said, adding plans to televise the event, possibly worldwide, are still in
“I get calls from all over the world,” Robin said. “Everybody is
just shocked and saddened by what transpired.”
Robin said the uniqueness of the artist who became known as “The Man in
Black” was that he related to people and people related to him.
“He was an incredible human being, a very bright person and very
intuitive — not only in his personal life — but in his musical
life,” Robin said.
“He really knew how to transmit his thoughts on many subjects to people
who shared those thoughts.”
Cash, who was born in Kingsland, Ark., in
1932, learned to play guitar while serving in the Air Force. He began his
career in Memphis
with “Hey Porter”, recorded for Sun Records. In 1956, he recorded
“Folsom Prison Blues”.
Cash often attributed the turnaround in his life to his second wife, June
Carter Cash, a sibling of country music’s famous Carter family. She
preceded her husband in death and was memorialized at the same Hendersonville
church in May.
Cash recorded more than 1,500 songs that can be found on about 500 albums,
counting only American and European releases.
He was the youngest person ever inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame
and the only performer ever selected for both the Country and Rock Music
Hall of Fame, until 1998, when Elvis Presley was inducted into the Country
Music Hall of Fame.
CMT WILL TELEVISE JOHNNY
CMT will televise the memorial celebration
for Johnny Cash on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Taping of the
concert, titled the Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute, will take place
on Nov. 10 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.
"What a privilege for CMT to telecast the
Johnny Cash tribute," said Brian Philips, senior vice
president/general manager, CMT. "This will be a communal celebration
of a rich and brilliant life, connecting the intimate Ryman gathering with
the world of music fans who love and respect Johnny Cash."
A number of artists have already confirmed their participation in honoring
Cash, who died Sept. 12 in Nashville of complications due to diabetes. He
was 71. Some of these artists took part in his funeral service, held Sept.
15 in Hendersonville, Tenn. The funeral was private, open only to family,
friends and music industry co-workers and associates. Cash's longtime
manager, Lou Robin, said one of the reasons the Cash family wanted the
memorial broadcast on TV was to allow fans worldwide to take part in
paying tribute to Cash.
John Mellencamp, Hank Williams
Jr., Willie Nelson, Kid Rock
Artists already lined up to perform include the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Kris
Kristofferson, Rosanne Cash, Larry Gatlin, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow,
Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, George Jones, John Mellencamp, Hank Williams
Jr., Travis Tritt, Jack Clement, Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam, Jimmy Tittle
and Johnny Western. Other artists may be
added. Also included
will be pre-taped tributes to Cash from other entertainers, including
Whoopi Goldberg. DreamWorks Nashville chief executive James Stroud will
act as musical director.
Although tickets to the memorial are free, room is
limited because the Ryman seats less than 2,400 people. Potential
attendees are required to send their name, address and daytime telephone
number on a 3½-by-5 inch card or paper to: Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute,
P.O. Box 20003, Nashville, Tenn., 37202. All entries must be received by
Oct. 26. Those receiving tickets will be notified by phone by Oct. 31.
Each winner will receive two reserved seat tickets.
Following the airing of the Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute, CMT will
broadcast CMT Inside Fame: Johnny Cash, an in-depth look at the
life and career of Cash.
Tribute Program &
List Tribute Cash
Fisk Jubilee Singers - Ain't No Grave
Roseanne Cash - I Still Miss Someone
Cash, speaking about his brother
Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, George Jones - Big River
Stuart and Travis Tritt - I Walk the Line
Marshall Grant, talking about learning to play the bass
Mellencamp - Hey Porter
Williams Jr - Ring of Fire
& Dunn and Charlene Carter - Jackson
and Dunn - Ghost Riders in the Sky
Crowell - Do You Understand Your Man (original)
Rock - What is Truth
Rock - Rock and Roll with You
Jack Clement - Guess Things Happen that Way
Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives - Rock Island Line
Crow - Hurt
Jones - Give my Love to Rose
Nelson, Hank Jr., Kris Kristofferson and George Jones - Highwayman
Emmylou Harris and Dave Matthews via tape - Long Black Veil
20.) Al Gore - talking about the Man in Black and reading lyrics to the
Western - theme from Johnny Yuma
Roseanne Cash - Tennessee Flattop Box
Earle - Folson Prisom Blues
Rock and Hank Jr. - There Ain't No Good Chain Gang
Nelson & Sheryl Crow - If I were a Carpenter
Nelson - Were you There
Gatlin & Laura Cash - No Longer in the Rough
Gatlin (original) - Man Can't Live with a Broken Heart Too Long
Kristofferson - Sunday Mornin Coming Down
Tittle & Sheryl Crow See you Again
Scruggs - (original) - Passin Through
- Carter Cash Family - We'll Meet Again
Dunn, Carlene Crater, Travis Tritt, Sheryl Crow Steve Earl
SKYLINE is a column by CMT
the end, it was the simple eloquence of the pictures that overwhelmed me.
The wonderful songs that were sung and the great stories that were told at
the Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute concert in Nashville brought enough tears
and laughter, God knows.
There was so much pent-up emotion in that audience, and so much grief that
had been held back and dammed up, and so much would-be joy that had been
repressed, that it all came spilling out in what seemed at times like an
old-fashioned tent revival. I hadn't seen so many standing ovations since
the Beatles at Shea Stadium.
There were so many moments that weren't anticipated. The taciturn Marshall
Grant (of Cash's original Tennessee Two band), whom no one expected to say
much, almost broke down after only a few words but then seemed to draw
strength from the audience's spontaneous support and went on to not only
find his voice but to fluently go on to talk for more than 10 fascinating
minutes -- without any prepared notes -- until you almost wondered if he
would ever stop. But those were fabulous moments for the ages. That was
rock 'n' roll, you know -- he was present at the creation, after all. And
this was the most eloquent that he has ever been in talking about it.
At the rehearsals that afternoon before the concert, Rosanne Cash became
overcome with emotion and couldn't finish her father's song "I Still
Miss Someone." It was such a poignant moment that everyone in the
auditorium hushed and fell into a reverent silence. As the most eloquent
speaker -- and artist -- of the Cash Carter clan, Rosanne has had to be
the public spokesperson at four Carter Cash funerals this year: those of
her stepmother June Carter, her father Johnny Cash, her aunt Louise and
her stepsister Rosey Carter Nix Adams. She has been the strongest person
at each function, and at the concert, she delivered powerful renditions of
"I Still Miss Someone" and "Tennessee
Flat Top Box."
The biggest realization of the night might have been the stark fact that
no one yet comprehends just what country music lost with the passing of
Johnny and June. I know one thing: it's a much, much bigger loss than
anyone had imagined.
But, about those pictures...
The narrow confines of the Ryman's stage made set design for this concert
a nightmare. The venerable old auditorium was built as the Union Gospel
Tabernacle way back in 1892, and that stage was obviously constructed
without the possibility that it would be used someday for music concerts
and TV shows. The cramped dimensions of the stage dictate that only the
most basic set décor and staging can be used. So, the simplicity of the
Ryman itself forced simplicity of set design -- which turned out to work
incredibly well. For the Cash show, fabric scrims were suspended above the
stage and black-and-white photographs were projected onto them. The result
became starkly effective, even ethereal; and almost ghostly at times.
Looking at Cash roam through the years in these, along with his beloved
June Carter Cash, was a travelogue like no other.
Seeing that stern, all-knowing visage floating above Cash's former band
mates Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson was eerily reminiscent of the
group the Highwaymen's image, in those salad days when Willie, Waylon,
Johnny and Kris defied Nashville's shunning of them as solo artists. They
went on the road as a group to remind country audiences of what they had
But the family montage that unfolded was at once emotionally wrenching and
gratifying. As the simple snapshots unfolded, we saw the straightforward
drama of a family -- a family marrying and having children, picnicking,
walking beside the sea, just having fun. "It's honoring the songs and
his great body of work as well as who he was as a human being,"
Rosanne Cash said of the montage. "It's very human. There's a lot of
pictures of him with his children and grandchildren. We kept it that way
so people saw what he was as a private man, as a father, as a grandfather.
He would have appreciated that -- for people to get to see the whole
Annie Leibovitz's photograph of the Cash and Carter clan gathered at the
Carter Fold in Hiltons, Va., last year ended the photo montage and was
such a perfect and fitting send-off to Johnny and to his beloved June and
to all their flock and to that whole era. ... It could have been any
American family come together for a group photo, but for the fact that
this one family happened to be especially special on the music side of
things. I feel gratified and grateful to have been allowed to share such a
Revised: September 03, 2007