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Hello, He's Johnny Cash

Behind the scenes footage reframes Cash

If you’re like me, Walk the Line messed up your head a little bit in the same way an Oliver Stone film can trick your brain into mixing embellished facts with the real ones. Not that the movie was panned for taking too many liberties, it’s just that after I saw it my knee-jerk mental recall for John and June Cash suddenly involved Joaquin Phoenix’s face and Reese Witherspoon’s humongous forehead. I needed to go back to some source material.

Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music is a refreshing look at not only who the real Johnny Cash was, but who he was as a man. There’s no narration, no plot and no hint of why the footage was edited together the way it was. There isn’t even an opening title for the DVD itself. After you push play you’re suddenly a fly on the wall -- experiencing ‘60s Cash performances from new angles, backstage encounters, visits with family and friends, a hunting expedition and much more.

This DVD forces you to examine your former role as a Cash fan. We’re used to appreciating what was meant to be seen. His onscreen gaze and pointed vocals utilized the TV screen and the AM radio speaker of yesteryear to great effect. That mode of communication affected our perception of Cash more than we realized. Today, the legend is sinking in a little differently after having some time to breathe. The music is now era-specific rather than just music. It’s as if this DVD challenges you to use new eyes and ears to rethink what you know about the Man in Black. The subtle complexities of his personal and artistic aesthetics are just as interesting as the demons he famously wrestled.

You see cash playing cards, recording with Bob Dylan and personifying his interest in Native American culture. You see him playing prisons (other than Folsom) and county fairs. The DVD carries a certain momentum from its unexpected, let’s-see-what’s-next approach. You begin to analyze the similarities and differences between Cash the media product, Cash the legend and Cash the man.

Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music is a reminder that there’s more to a musical legend than the music and the legend. It is a collection of source material that offers a better opportunity for understanding who Cash was, perhaps more so than anything you’ve seen before.

Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music  $19.95