Archive for Johnny Cash

You didn’t have to tell me it was a classic

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2008 by macmystery
Steve Earle's 1997 classic "El Corazon"

Steve Earle's classic 1997 album "El Corazon"

Prefix, an online music magazine, has released a list of the Top 10 essential alt-country albums.

For the uninitiated, alt-country is a genre of music closely related to Americana. While classic artists such as Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris and Johnny Cash often find themselves included in the genre, it isn’t synonymous with the country-rock fad of the 70s. You’ll find no Eagles here.

For the most part, what is now known as alt-country originated with the band Uncle Tupelo, which split in the early 1990s into two major bands: the straightforward Son Volt and the more experimental and pop Wilco, both of which have an album on this list. The genre is best covered by the now-online-only magazine “No Depression,” named for a Carter Family classic, Uncle Tupelo’s debut album and an AOL user group.

The No. 1 album on the list is Steve Earle’s El Corazon, one of several superb albums put out by Earle in the years since his incarceration for heroin posession in the early 1990s and my personal favorite. Other notable album’s on the list include the Jayhawks’ “Hollywood Town Hall,” Loretta Lynn’s “Van Lear Rose,” Lucinda Williams’ “Car Wheels On a Gravel Road” and Whiskeytown’s “Strangers Almanac.”

Here’s a performance of “Christmas in Washington” from Earle’s “El Corazon:”

I shot a man in Reno …

Posted in Music with tags , on July 7, 2008 by macmystery

Before I left home for Reno some five weeks ago, a co-worker of mine who listens to a lot of the same music I like asked me, “Are you gonna shoot a man there?”

“I might,” I said.

“Just to watch him die?” he asked.

“Why else?” I replied.

He was of course referring to the line in Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”

But then my co-worker went a little too far.

“You know, there’s something wrong with that song,” he said.

“What?” I asked.

“Well, if he shot a man in Reno, what the hell is he doing in prison in California? Wouldn’t he be in prison in Nevada?”

My reaction included a few choice words. He had permanently guaranteed that every time I heard that song, I wouldn’t be able to stop from asking myself the same question.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, while I was in Reno, someone took a shot at answering that question.

Caleb Cage of the Reno News & Review, a weekly paper, looked a little deeper into the story … or stories … behind the song in his story, “I shot a man in Reno,” in the July 3-9 issue.

If you like Johnny Cash at all, you should check it out. Then you should check out this 1959 performance of the song.