Photos by Heather Alyssa Photography
Happy birthday to me.
And, what better way to celebrate than by honoring the two people who made me who I am, the 'rents.
I can’t talk about Johnny Cash without acknowledging what big fans my parents are of his music. In high school, they decorated our living room in a Johnny Cash theme, with pictures of him framed on the wall.
When I say my 'rents, I refer to my mom, Belinda, and stepdad, Bob or Bobby. My family combines Mom and Bob and calls them “the mob.” This vibrant, goofy pair of people has influenced my personality and my musical tastes.
I think what they love about Cash is, of course, his valley-deep voice, but also his meaningful, heartfelt lyrics and humble personality. My mom told me recently she loves how he would introduce himself before concerts saying, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”
As if people didn’t already know.
I didn’t develop an affinity for Cash’s music until recently. I’ve opened up this can of musical genres including country, folk and Americana, and I feel like it’s just in time.
I found “The Fabulous Johnny Cash” while crate digging at FWB Vintage Records. The pink text on the front and Cash’s subtle smile in the photo spoke to me.
I admire the back cover as much as the front. The back features a brief bio about Cash, starting with, “Fabulous is a pretty fair description of Johnny Cash.”
When I saw the title, I assumed it was a compilation, but this is a Columbia Limited Edition rerelease of Cash’s third studio album released in 1958. From what I found online, it’s from 1961 or 1962.
The record emanates a mixture of country, gospel, folk and rockabilly music genres. Because of the minimalist acoustic style and rhyming lyrics, it has an amazing ability to transport your mind to this era. I can’t help but think of the phrase “simpler times.”
In the old-fashioned song, “Pickin’ Time,” Cash alludes to picking cotton in the hot sun and providing for his family. The way Cash intertwines nature with metaphors about love and life’s adversity will enchant listeners for years to come.
Of the 12 tracks, my favorites are the opening tracks on the A and B sides, “Run Softly, Blue River” and “I Still Miss Someone,” along with the catchy B-side song, “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town.”
I go out on a party
And look for a little fun
But I find a darkened corner
‘Cause I still miss someone
— “I Still Miss Someone”
“I Still Miss Someone” makes so much sense; it’s likely Cash had never heard the phrase, “It’s complicated.” It’s just not.
My favorite moment, however, is in “Supper-Time,” when Cash interjects his vocals with a brief spoken word. In that moment, you feel like you know him personally, on a spiritual level.
When all of God’s children
Shall gather around the table
Of the Lord himself
And the greatest supper time of them all
For someone new to Cash’s songwriting, this record is an excellent starting point. It’s a steady stream of country classics about confrontation, losing a great love and family memories.
Cash’s music is alluring in its soft simplicity, especially when recognizing how innovative it was when first released. His storytelling ability captured an era of history and sealed his fate in the land of legendary.
There are certain kinds of music you simply can’t appreciate until you’ve reached a certain level of maturity. I can’t wait to see what others are unveiled.
Hat - H&M
Jacket - Ashley Outerwear
Top, boots - Target
Skirt - Urban Outfitters
Rings - Courtesy of Mom