Johnny Cash meant many things to many people. There was Cash the rockabilly and Cash the country boy. Cash the cowboy and Cash the prisoner's friend. Cash the folk singer and Cash the wise elder. He was poet, patriot, preacher, and protestor. He was the Man in Black.
The music of Johnny Cash spoke to and for Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and social settings for nearly half a century. He was the first artist to be inducted in both the Rock and Roll and Country Music halls of fame.
Ring of Fire is a celebration of the many facets of Johnny Cash. It features tributes that are sometimes moving and sometimes funny from the likes of Dolly Parton, Trisha Yearwood, Rodney Crowell, Merle Haggard, Trent Reznor, Marty Stuart, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, and others. Legendary Les Leverett, whose lens studied Cash for more than thirty years, adds his photographs.
Perhaps no other singer in American popular music has crossed as many boundaries as Johnny Cash. Ring of Fire shows why the Man in Black made the common man feel he was one of them. It also shows that he made some of the greatest creative minds of his era cherish the time they were able to spend with him. When Johnny Cash dies, Brian Mansfield wrote in "USA Today", "Last weekend the whole country wore black."
For more than 50 years, Johnny Cash has been entertaining audiences of all ages. His winsome approach to music, combined with a raw honesty, has endeared him to legions of fans all over the world.
Cash was as popular at the time of his death as ever was. His unique brand of country, folk, and rock music is currently being heard (and purchased) by young teens, as well as by his older fans, perhaps due to his steady presence on MTV, VH1, and CMT. A motion picture about Cash starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon will be released in 2004. Ring of Fire is a timely and fitting tribute to Cash in words and photographs. Cash was recently nominated for six MTV awards and 4 CMA awards for the same song-something that has never happened before.