Rest in peace, Johnny Cash. For many red-staters, this resonates deep. Growing up in a Wisconsin cow town, I generally avoided country music, since if always seemed to be related to dumb jokes on Hee Haw and Porter Wagoner in foot-high hair and a rhinestone suit. But not Johnny Cash. I remember hearing “Ring of Fire” with its mariachi trumpets and thinking “this is country music?” Cash was cool. I had a friend down the street whose dad had the prison-concert records. Which oddly made singing in prison cool.
The TV obits today talk about “I Walk the Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues.” But I’d start with songs I liked most as a kid, like “Dirty Old Egg-Sucking Dog.” And you cannot beat Johnny Cash singing “Were You There?”