ABOUT THE MAN IN BLACK

This time around we are revisiting the 50’s and paying a little tribute to the birth of the Rockabilly explosion and one of the early pioneers who helped shape the face of both Rock 'n' Roll and Country music.  Johnny Cash remains one of the biggest American singer-songwriters of all-time.  He was inducted into the Country, Gospel, and Rock 'n' Roll Music Halls of Fame (a very rare feat for any artist).  My dad was (and still is) a huge Johnny Cash fan. Growing up it was like he was part of our family. Sort of like an uncle that never came around. There is even a room at my parents house called "The Johnny Cash Room". His music is forever etched into my childhood memories. I wrote this song to honor Johnny, not only as a legendary artist, but also for the compassionate humanitarian that he was. This song is also dedicated to the beautiful state of Arkansas. For many years, the media has portrayed my home as nothing more than a bunch of backwards, corn cob pipe smoking, shoeless, snaggletooth neanderthals . Yes, we may have a few morons living among us...but no more than you would find anywhere else. So, here's to Johnny Cash, all of his loyal fans all over the world, and to my fellow Arkansans! I hope you enjoy it!!

Thank you Luther Perkins!  As many of you probably already know, Luther Perkins was responsible for inventing the signature "boom-chick-a-boom" guitar sound that we all know and love.  He was extremely vital in the development of Johnny’s unique sound. Tragically, Luther left the stage forever in 1968 after falling asleep with a lit cigarette.  He was only 40 years old. He will always be remembered as one of the early pioneers of rockabilly music. Had it not been for him, Johnny’s music would be missing that distinct signature sound that is undeniably recognizable throughout the world.  When you listen to Johnny Cash...always remember Luther Perkins!  

Thank you Marshall Grant!  Marshall made his debut, along with Luther Perkins, as a founding member of the Tennessee Two.  He played alongside Johnny Cash from 1954 to 1980, and then reunited one last time on stage with Cash in 1999.  When they first started out, Grant, Perkins and Cash all three played rhythm guitars. It was later decided that Luther Perkins should play lead guitars and that Marshall Grant should switch to playing bass.  Marshall was self-taught and became well-known for playing the upright bass, as well as, electric bass guitars. Johnny used Marshall’s Martin guitar for many years, both for performances and songwriting. Marshall Grant would go on to outlive both of his friends, Luther Perkins and Johnny Cash.  Unfortunately, he passed away while attending a festival in Arkansas to help raise money to restore Johnny Cash’s childhood home. He was a true friend to the very end.

Thank you Johnny Cash!  There isn’t enough room here to put down on words, the extraordinary impact that this man left on this world.  If any one person ever deserved to be forever memorialized on the face of a dollar bill, it should be Johnny Cash.  If there were ever someone so grand that their face should be chiseled into the side of a mountain, it should be Johnny Cash. If there was someone who was ever worthy of having a larger than life replica sculpted in bronze then put on display in the world’s most prestigious museum, it should be Johnny Cash.  I cannot say enough good things about him. He was a magnificent human being and I am honored to have been born and raised in the same great state that he was. As I already mentioned, my father was a huge Johnny Cash fan. Johnny was part of my family. Everywhere we went, his music went with us.  Family vacations to the beach, Johnny rode along with us. Raking up leaves in the backyard, he was there keeping us entertained as we worked. He was in our living room on tv via a massive stack of VHS tapes my father had compiled. Every aspect of my childhood, Johnny Cash was always close by. Here in Arkansas there’s no bigger star, we all love you Johnny Cash!