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Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
November 14, 2023 3:00 am

Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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November 14, 2023 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Johnny Cash is an American original. And this story is an insider’s look at the man whose music sprang from the way he lived. Greg Laurie is here to tell the story from his recent book/documentary, Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon.

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Let's take a listen. Going back to the earliest days of my childhood, I had an awareness of Johnny Cash. One of the reasons for that is our family is from Arkansas, not far from where Johnny's family was raised. And my grandparents, who I lived with for a number of years because of my mother's crazy lifestyle. She'd been married and divorced seven times and was having a lot of boyfriends in between and was running around.

And so she left me with my grandparents, Charles and Stella McDaniel, who we called Daddy Charles and Mama Stella. So I remember as a little boy watching Johnny Cash's television show and I remember hearing my grandfather say to my grandmother when he'd be reading the paper, Well, Stella, your cousin's in trouble again, because Johnny had a lot of problems early in his life. After he had his initial success, he was arrested numerous times. He never served time in prison.

He never murdered anybody. Sometimes people think that because of lyrics from his song, such as I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. Johnny never shot anyone, but he had a problem with amphetamines that he got addicted to when he first started out his career on the road. But anyway, I was always aware of Johnny Cash.

So as it turns out, my grandmother's maiden name is Stella Fowler Cash. And so I'm distantly related to Johnny Cash. But there was something always about Johnny that was different from any other musician. His contemporaries would have been Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, many others.

But Johnny was Johnny. He was called the king of country music, but in a way, he was more like the king of his own music because his music transcended all forms of music from country to rock and roll. I mean, in some ways, he was a pioneer of what they called rockabilly. When he was in the studio, there was Sam Phillips, who also discovered Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, and they developed this sound that evolved into rock and roll. Elvis ran with it, but Johnny could have continued with that boom chicka boom sound. He would play his guitar. He'd put a card in the frets of the guitar because at one point he didn't have a drummer to provide percussion. So he would get that sound that you hear on so many Johnny Cash records.

Right. So Johnny should have never become who he was, but it was all a part of a plan. And in my mind, it was a part of God's plan. He was raised in abject poverty. His father, Ray, was a cold, distant man. He was a sharecropper, never really succeeded in life, and he favored one son over the other. Johnny had an older brother named Jack, and clearly Ray favored Jack over Johnny. And I'm getting a little ahead of myself in this story, but when Johnny's brother Jack was tragically killed in an accident in the sawmill, Ray was quoted to have said later, I think God took the wrong son to Johnny. Really all throughout his life when Johnny did find some success in music and then huge success even being invited to the White House, he would always invite his father, Ray.

I think he was trying to impress him well into his adult years. So that was a very strange relationship between father and son. Well, Johnny's mother, Carrie, was a very nurturing, loving woman, and Johnny's father, Ray, was a very distant, aloof, uncommunicative father. So Johnny and Jack were as thick as thieves.

Very, very close brothers. Johnny looked up to his brother, who though still very young, was almost like a proper father figure for him. He gave Johnny guidance, encouragement, and Jack knew that he wanted to be a preacher one day, and Johnny, he wanted to be a singer. They often went fishing together. And on one particular day, Johnny was going to go fishing. He invited Jack to come and join him.

But Jack said, I got to go work down at the sawmill to make a few extra dollars for the family. That's because Jack was such a responsible young man. And so Jack was there working, and tragically, he was pulled into the saw. Somehow, amazingly, he survived it.

But he stumbled out into the field, and he was literally holding his vital organs in. So he was taken to the hospital. So meanwhile, Johnny's out there fishing, and his father shows up with a minister and Jack's bloody shirt. And he says, get in the truck.

And he threw his fishing pole in the back, and they went down to the hospital. And there on that bed was Johnny's brother, Jack, who was very close to passing into eternity. So in my book, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon, I describe the scene as follows, and I'm reading from my book.

JR, that would be Johnny, took Jack's hand and brought his cheek close to his brother's. Goodbye, Jack, was all he could get out. Jack looked at his father and asked, will you meet me in heaven? Ray Cash did the most unexpected thing.

He fell on his knees and prayed, asking Jesus Christ to be his Lord and Savior. Then Jack looked at Carrie, that would be Jack's mother. Why is everybody crying over me, Mama?

Don't cry over me. Don't you see the river? On one side of the river, he said, was fire. On the other side was heaven. I thought I was going toward the fire, but I'm headed in the other direction now, Mama. Can you hear the angels singing? Jack squeezed her hand and tears of happiness rolled down his cheeks. Mama, he said, listen to the angels. I'm going there, Mama. A moment later, Jack said, what a beautiful city and the angels singing.

Oh, Mama, I wish you could hear the angels singing. And he was gone. And you've been listening to Greg Laurie share the story of Johnny Cash. The redemption of an American icon continues here on Our American Stories. Lee Habib here, the host of Our American Stories. Every day on this show, we're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country, stories from our big cities and small towns.

But we truly can't do the show without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to our American stories dot com and click the donate button. Give a little give a lot.

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Requires credit qualification and 36 month phone financing agreement. And we continue with our American stories. We last left off hearing how in 1944, Johnny Cash's older brother Jack, with whom he was very close, died at 12 years of age in a tragic table saw accident with Johnny by his bedside. His final words were, will you meet me in heaven? Let's return to Greg Laurie. And those words are inscribed on Jack Cash's tombstone.

Will you meet me in heaven? A preacher to the very end. This made a powerful impression on Johnny, who missed his brother so deeply. And on through his life, he continued to think about his brother. And in fact, his brother would appear to him in dreams, he said.

And what's interesting is, as his brother appeared to him over the years, he was an older version of what his brother might have looked like. That actually Johnny used as sort of a point of reference throughout his life. What would Jack have done?

What would Jack have thought about this? So the influence of his brother impacted Johnny Cash for the rest of his life. Johnny grew up picking cotton out in the fields. It sounds like a story from the Old West. And in many ways it was because Johnny was just like any other poor young boy working with this family.

No real sense of what his future would be. But one thing that Carrie loved to do out on the comp fields was sing old hymns that they would hear at church. It's what I was raised on. It was a thing that inspired me as a child growing up on a cotton farm where the work was drudgery. And it was so hard that when I was in the field, I sang all the time, and usually gospel songs, because they lifted me up above that black dirt.

After supper, they loved to sit around the radio and listen to the Grand Ole Opry and the songs. And Johnny, the young boy, began to dream that maybe one day he could do that. And so they were out in the fields one day, and Johnny came in singing a song. And Carrie turned and said, who just sang that? Well, it was Johnny, but his voice dropped. And it was that more familiar Johnny Cash timbre.

And she said, God has given to you a gift, my son. So I think it was at that point that Johnny's dreams really caught fire, where he thought that he could one day maybe be on the Grand Ole Opry. He could be on the radio. He could have a hit song.

But before that would happen, he would serve a stint in the Air Force. So during this stint in the Air Force, Johnny found himself very adept at working as a Morse code operator. And I think Johnny was beginning to discover his relationship with sound, with pitch, and later with music. He was a Morse code operator.

And actually, he was the one who intercepted the news, a top secret message from the Russians that Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin had died from a stroke on March 5th, 1953. And this is an amazing thing because Johnny retained this skill well into the later years of his life because his son, John Carter Cash, said the old man still had it when it came to retaining his skills. He proved it by writing out the 23rd Psalm on Morse code on a piece of paper. So this sense of understanding of sounds was something that would help Johnny when he began to write songs. And he was writing a lot of letters to the love of his life at that time, Vivian. And he also began to compose songs, songs about places he'd never been to before.

But his imagination was running wild. And really, that skill set that would later be fully realized was being developed as he was stationed there over in Germany. So after Johnny got back from Germany, he took various odd jobs from selling appliances to other things.

None of which really interested him. He wanted to be a musician. He knew of the success of Elvis Presley. So he started calling Sun Studios wanting to talk to Sam.

He could never really get hold of him. And one day he did communicate with him. And so Sam invited him down and Sam actually said to him, Oh, you're the one who keeps calling.

So, you know, there's something to be said for persistence. And when Sam heard Johnny, he didn't really know what to make of him because a lot of people were trying to sound like Elvis. But Johnny didn't sound anything like Elvis. Johnny was his own guy.

And, you know, you really have to stop and be amazed by this collection of talent at one moment in time and the ability of Sam Phillips to pick that talent. I mean, Jerry Lee Lewis, also known as the killer. Carl Perkins, who wrote Blue Suede Shoes. And, of course, Elvis and Johnny, he saw something that others did not see. And I think what he saw was an authenticity.

And this to me is the key to really making your mark. I think it's really the very definition of what cool is. What is cool? By the way, Johnny was called the godfather of cool. Why is it that when his musical career was resurrected later by producer Rick Rubin that a whole new generation, Generation X, thought he was the coolest thing to ever come along? Answer, because Johnny was Johnny. Johnny was authentic. Johnny was an American original. Being cool is not dressing in the latest fads or the latest clothing or using the latest phrases.

Being cool, in my definition, is being an authentic version of yourself, being real. And I think people can see that, and I think people could hear it in the songs of Johnny. But it's not just the way he sang, it's the way he spoke.

You know, the timbre of his voice. He was described as the voice of America. I like Kris Kristofferson's definition of Johnny Cash.

He said he was like Abraham Lincoln with a wild side. You know, so that was Johnny. No one sounded like Johnny. No one sang like Johnny. Of course, he had his own dress code, which ultimately became black.

And so he was known as the man in black. So how Johnny came to write the song Cry, Cry, Cry is pretty interesting. So he was listening to the radio and he heard DJ Eddie Hill glibly in tone. We've got good songs, love songs, sweet songs, happy songs, and sad songs that'll make you cry, cry, cry. And hearing those words caused Johnny to pick up his pencil and start writing down the lyrics to what would become a hit song Cry, Cry, Cry.

The finished product clocked in at two minutes and 29 seconds. So Johnny now had a hit on his hands and he had radio airplane happening, and now he's out on the road and he's touring. So while Johnny was out on one of his first tours that happened to be with Elvis Presley, he met a man named Sonny James. And Sonny was an outspoken Christian. And Johnny, of course, was a Christian as well, and now he's having his first success and he's wondering, how do you handle this?

How do you live a Christian life out here on the road? And I love the advice that Sonny gave to Johnny. He said, Johnny, the way I do this is by being the way that I am. I'm not just an entertainer who has become a Christian. I'm a Christian who chose to be an entertainer, but I'm first a Christian.

Remember who you are and what you are in life sings louder than any song. And then Sonny told Johnny, don't forget to pray. And, you know, I think Johnny did follow that advice. He did have lapses. He did things he should have never done. He trashed hotel rooms like a proper rock star. He got drunk. He got banned from certain stages for his crazy antics. But Johnny always turned to the Lord, and later when he was really having his greatest success with his television show, I think Johnny really lived out this advice of Sonny James, speaking openly about his faith without embarrassment.

In fact, that became a source of great tension with him and the network, and some believe that's the reason they ultimately canceled his television show that was very successful. But Johnny was always wanting to express his faith openly and publicly, and I think deep down in his heart he still wanted to be a gospel singer, just like he was when he originally went to see Sam Phillips over at Sun Studios. Gospel music is so ingrained into my bones. You know, I can't do a concert without singing a gospel song.

If I have a calling, it's called to perform and sing. And gospel song is a ministry in a way. And you've been listening to Greg Laurie tell the story of Johnny Cash's faith life. Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon is the book.

And by the way, it's also a terrific documentary. I'm not an entertainer who is a Christian. He was advised by someone he looked up to. I'm a Christian who is an entertainer. And what a difference that will make in Cash's musical life and his spiritual life as well.

When we come back, more with Greg Laurie and Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon, here on Our American Stories. At Grainger, we're for the ones who specialize in saving the day and for the ones who've mastered the art of keeping business moving. We offer industrial grade supplies for every industry with same-day pickup and next-day delivery on most orders. All backed by real people ready to help. So you can get the right answers and products right when you need them.

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See app for details. And we return to Our American Stories and to Greg Lurie telling the story of Johnny Cash and his faith journey. Let's pick up where we last left off. So now Johnny's out on the road. He's touring endlessly. And the road is wearing him down.

He's exhausted. So one night, he shared a bill with a guy known as the hillbilly heartthrob, Farron Young, who said, I've got something that will fix you right up. And from my pocket, he pulled out a handful of cream-colored pills and it all went out to Cash. And he said, take this. You won't be tired for long.

You'll get through the night with no problem whatsoever. Johnny grabbed the pill, he swallowed it, and he gave quite a show. And that was the beginning of Johnny's addiction to amphetamines. Now, in fairness, a lot of people touring at this time were taking these amphetamines and there were commercials on television advocating how these could help you, give you more pep. And I'm not justifying the addiction that Johnny developed, but he was not the only one.

And they actually were quite mainstream. But this became a problem that he struggled with on through his life. And these amphetamines certainly took a toll on him in many ways.

Physically, and I would also add, spiritually. Well, Johnny loved Vivian. He wrote all these love letters, so many to her over the years.

And then finally, they were married and they had children together. But Johnny's career was exploding and Vivian would not see him for long stretches of time. And then she went to one of his shows and she saw the girls. She saw the girls and their interest in Elvis and in Johnny.

And it began to cause her to be very concerned. But it all culminated when Johnny actually played at the Hollywood Bowl. And she was there with their children, their daughters. And Johnny got into a car with June Carter Cash, excuse me, June Carter at that time, not Cash. And he drove away instead of Johnny driving away with Vivian and she knew that trouble was afoot. And of course, Johnny had fallen in love with June Carter and decided he wanted to marry her and announced it to her. And so this ultimately resulted in the complete dissolution of his first marriage to Vivian. Something he deeply regretted.

It was wrong. Johnny was making wrong decisions. Johnny was doing sinful things and he knew it. But looking at a bigger picture, one can look back on that and say though it is tragic that he was not the best husband of Vivian and should have held that marriage together. Because of his severe addiction to drugs, June Carter would eventually save his very life. Because I think if it wasn't for June, who was out there with him, that Johnny probably would have died of a drug overdose. He could have followed in the footsteps of his friend Elvis Presley.

But June was someone that helped him through this very hard time. Here's a quote from Johnny Cash. You know, I used to sing Will You There when they crucified my Lord while I was stoned on amphetamines. I used to sing all those gospel songs but I never really felt them.

And maybe I was a little ashamed of myself at the time because of the hypocrisy of it all. There I was singing the praises of the Lord and singing about the beauty and the peace you can find in Him and I was stoned. So on one occasion, Johnny borrowed June Carter's Cadillac and he wrecked it, breaking his nose. He lost his front teeth as well as he had a head-on collision with a utility pole. He claimed a wet roadway was the cause of the accident but he was taken to Vanderbilt Hospital where surprisingly he refused a shot of morphine for the pain that had his nose set. And another surprise was that of the policeman heading up the investigation of the crash was none other than Officer Rip Nicks, June Carter's husband.

So no charges were filed and the incident didn't make the paper but Officer Nicks' wife undoubtedly got an earful at home. So I would say at this point in his life Johnny's trying to live in two worlds. You know, his sister Joanne put it this way, Johnny was like two people.

She said Johnny was one person and Cash was the other and she said Cash caused all the trouble. And he was always struggling with different things throughout his life and reaping the consequences of it. And I think Johnny had too much of the world to be happy in his relationship with God and too much of a relationship with God to be happy in the world. He was in sort of this no man's land trying to live in two places at the same time and it was causing a lot of internal and external conflict and problems in his life.

Well, I guess Chris Topperson pretty well summed it up in the song he wrote about me. He's a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction. So Johnny got to a point where with the collapse of his marriage to his first wife Vivian, his addiction to drugs, his life spiraling out of control, he effectively decided to take his life. So he made his way to a cave about 30 miles from Chattanooga called Nickajack Cave. He had actually been there before as a young man looking for arrowheads and other things, but now he just thought he would keep walking as far in as he possibly could walk and never return again.

And that's exactly what he did. I remember sitting in the mouth of that cave crying and then taking a little two cell flashlight and I started walking into that cave and I decided I'd walk as far as I could go and then lay down. And I guess I probably went a mile through one of the caverns and my flashlight completely burned out and it was black, black dark, so dark you could feel it and said my goodbye prayers. I must have dozed off because I felt a presence within me come from outside of me to make me sit up.

This is awfully corny but the old Indian trick is to wet your fingers, stick it up, see which way the wind blows. I tried everything to see and then I finally did that and I felt cool air on one side of my finger and I knew that I kept following it. You know crawling, sometimes I'd fall 20 or 30 feet into a pit but I clawed my way back up. And just as I was about to give up I saw a little fleck of light way off in the distance and I finally made it there and I collapsed in the mouth of the cave. When I walked June was there, washing my face and she said, you're almost dead aren't you?

And I said, yeah I want to live. So after this another event happened in Lafayette, Georgia on November 2, 1967. He was visiting a friend there and went up by himself at evening and got lost and in an effort to get directions back to his friend's house he knocked on the door of an elderly woman who lived alone and she called the police on him. Deputy Bob Jeff responded and padding cash down discovered prescription drugs on him which were legal and he took cash to jail and he spent the night in his cell. The next morning the sheriff woke up Johnny and brought him into his office. So Johnny's sick, he's despondent, he's expecting this lawman to come down on him hard. But instead Jones opens up a drawer, takes out the money and the pills. He had taken off cash the night before he held them out and said, I'm going to give you your money and your dope back because you know better than most people that God gave you free will to do whatever you want with your life.

Cash could throw the pills away or go ahead and take them and kill himself and Sheriff Jones added, whichever one you want to do Mr. Cash will be alright with me. Johnny's thinking what's going on here and as they were talking Johnny realized that this man really cared about him. In fact he told them they were huge Johnny Cash fans for over a decade and at every record he had made the sheriff said, we love you, we've always loved you. We've watched you on television, we've listened to you on the radio, we've got your album of hymns, you were probably the biggest fan you've ever had. This made a deep impression on Johnny. And you're listening to Greg Laurie tell the story of Johnny Cash and his faith walk and it is a difficult walk for Cash.

The book Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon, it's also a documentary, get both wherever you get your books or documentaries. We return with more after these messages here on Our American Stories. For the ones who get it done, the most important part is the one you need now and the best partner is the one who can deliver. That's why millions of maintenance and repair pros trust Grainger because we have professional grade supplies for every industry, even hard to find products and we have same day pickup and next day delivery on most orders. But most importantly we have an unwavering commitment to help keep you up and running.

Call clickgrainger.com or just stop by. Grainger, for the ones who get it done. Following last year's amazing turnout, the Black Effect Podcast Network and Nissan are helping HBCU scholars jumpstart their futures by throwing another Thrill of Possibility Summit. The Thrill of Possibility Summit is an opportunity to network with peers and professionals and gain career knowledge from leaders in the industries of science, technology, engineering, art and math, also known as STEAM. To kick it off, Nissan is giving 50 HBCU scholars who major in STEAM disciplines the opportunity for an all-expenses-paid trip to Nashville, Tennessee, this year's summit location. This is a remarkable opportunity to be mentored by some of auto, tech and podcasting's brightest minds, bringing together notable voices of the Black Effect Podcast Network featuring Charlamagne the God, John Hope Bryant and Debbie Brown, all brought to you by Nissan. Success is a journey, you're in the driver's seat.

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See app for details. And we continue with our American stories and the story of Johnny Cash and his faith life. Let's pick up where we last left off with Greg Glory. So Johnny Cash had this unique relationship with prisoners. And when he wanted to make a record in a prison, the record executives of his company thought that was the worst idea imaginable.

But it ended up being a brilliant career choice. And Johnny debuted his song, A Boy Named Sue, that was recorded live. Johnny had a connection to prisoners. Though he never spent time in prison, he did spend time in jail. He knew what it was like to fail.

He knew what it was like to hit rock bottom. And I think the prisoners could sense that about him. And when he was asked why he did these shows in prisons, he said, we're here because the inmate population asked us to come. We're here because we love the applause you give us in prison.

Talk about a captive audience. And most importantly, he said, I'm here because I'm a Christian. So after Johnny's television show was canceled, he decided to take all of that fame and all of that influence and do something he'd been wanting to do for a long time, that is, make a film about Jesus Christ. It was called The Gospel Road.

Now, I would not describe this as a cinematic masterpiece. But what I would say is his heart was in the right place. He wanted to do something that would move people toward a relationship with God.

So he took his family and his entourage over to Israel. And the man that ended up directing the film, who was not a believer at all, in fact, was an atheist, ended up, ironically, playing the role of Jesus. We might describe him as a very Swedish Jesus because he was very blonde, a reddish hair. And he literally, Johnny was literally just hiring people that he met to be extras in the film. And his wife, June, played the role of Mary Magdalene.

And the film, in my opinion, was not a great film. But Billy Graham, who was a close friend of Johnny, took a great interest in it and actually gave it a second life and it was seen by a lot of people and it even resulted in people coming to faith. So this is now kind of the beginning of the musical decline of Johnny Cash. He was eventually fired by his record label, Columbia. And actually, he had made them a lot of money and it was a really surprising turn of events. But Johnny went on to pursue the things that mattered to him. He continued to sing, but he also went out and became an ordained minister. Very few people know that about him. But he still had to make money.

He still had to make a living. So he ended up having to audition to be in another record label. Here he's sitting before a bunch of young record executives who are deciding if they want to record this musical legend.

And they told him, basically, don't call us, we'll call you. So Johnny's venues have become quite small at this point. And one night he was playing at a dinner club in Anaheim, California. And a 30-year-old, long-haired, bearded man named Rick Rubin came to see him. Now Rick had been very successful with his Def Jam record label.

And it produced other rock acts and rap acts. And he wanted to work with an older artist. And so he came to hear Johnny. And after Johnny had performed, someone came up to him and said, hey, there's this guy named Rick Rubin that wants to meet you. And Johnny had never heard of Rick Rubin before.

And in walks Rick. And Rick introduces himself and says that he wants to record Johnny. And Johnny asked, what are you going to do for me that no one else has been able to do for me before?

I didn't believe it at first. I said, how are you going to be any different than everybody else? And he said, because we're going to get into the music and find out what is the best thing Johnny Cash can do and the most natural thing. And that's what we're going for. Now Rick wants to get Johnny back to his roots again. And unbeknownst to Johnny, as Rick was recording these songs, he already was mapping out in his mind what would become the first of many records that Johnny would do toward the end of his career called American Recordings. And there is some production on them.

It's sparse, but very effective. And Rick reintroduced Johnny to a whole new audience of people who had never heard of him before. Specifically, a youth audience. Country music really didn't have a lot to do with Johnny at this point. But Johnny was rediscovered by Generation X and actually ended up winning an MTV award for his amazing video based on the Trent Reznor song called Hurt. And still to this day is something that really moves you when you watch it. So Johnny was having a big career comeback at this point. A lot of times I feel like I got the best of both worlds when I look out and there is a half of audience full of young people and half of fans my age.

Yeah, I feel like I got a third chance here to maybe do it right. On the final album they did together, Johnny's health was failing. His wife June had already died and he was in deep mourning and he just felt the best thing he could do was go back into the studio and express his sorrow. If I quit, I would just live in front of the television and get fat and die.

You know, I just hope and pray I can die with my boots on. So Johnny and Rick Rubin became very good friends and Rick was not a believer in Jesus Christ. In fact, I believe he was a Buddhist. But Rubin said Cash was the most spiritually committed person he had ever met. He's probably the most committed spiritual person I've ever met. He really lived his life according to his connection with God really. And he had such an honest and pure way about it that I remember we had a dinner party at my house one night with Johnny and June and some musicians and some film directors. And before dinner Johnny had everyone hold hands and he said a prayer and he read from the Bible.

And I know some of the people at the table had never experienced that before and some of the people at the table were even atheists. But his belief in what he believed was so strong that what you believe didn't matter so much because you were in the presence of someone who really believed. And that felt good and that made you believe really in him more than anything else.

It was really beautiful. So I wrote this book, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. And I was approached by the Kingdom Story Company that wanted to do a documentary film on the life of Johnny Cash based on my book. So we agreed to this and now the film is going to be seen in theaters around the country on December 5, 6, and 7 as a special fathom event.

It's a beautifully done film and we had full buy-in and cooperation from the Cash estate. But ultimately it shows that no matter how badly you've messed up in life that God can make a message out of a mess. He can bring good despite the bad and the Bible says that God can bring beauty out of ashes. He did an interview toward the end of his life with MTV's Kurt Loder and he talked about his life, his career, his faith, and his imminent death.

And Johnny said to Kurt, I expect my life to end pretty soon. Oh, I expect my life to end pretty soon. You know, I'm 71 years old and I have great faith though. I have unshakable faith. I've never been angry with God. I've never turned my back on God, so to speak. I never thought that God wasn't there. See, he's my counselor. He's my wisdom.

All the good things in my life come from him. Where do you think we go afterwards? Where do we go? When we die, you mean?

Yeah. Well, we all hope to go to heaven. And a terrific job on the production and the storytelling and editing by our own Greg Hengler. And a special thanks to Greg Laurie, his book, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon, and the film, the documentary version.

And what a story we heard. And, you know, he did have a unique relationship with prisoners, as we learned earlier in the storytelling. And I think Bono said it best about Cash. He said, Johnny doesn't sing to the damned. He sings with the damned.

And Bono is himself a committed Christian who writes a lot about the intersection of faith and life and doubt. And in the end, music and fame. The story of Cash being fired from his label is heartbreaking.

Having to audition in front of young people who see no future or talent. And then in comes Rick Rubin into a club in California, a small venue. And he sees something in Cash and sees something in himself that he can bring to the table. And that is getting rid of all that production, getting rid of all the fancy boards, and having Cash connect to his guitar and to the song. And capture that authenticity as no one can do like Rick Rubin, one of the great producers who doesn't produce. In the end, though country music wanted nothing to do with Cash at this stage in his career, he rises again to fame with an entirely new generation of audience.

The story of Johnny Cash is Faith Walk as told by Greg Laurie here on Our American Stories. You can follow their entire route on a live tracking map. Your teen will get assigned the top rated drivers. Thank you.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-14 04:14:52 / 2023-11-14 04:32:09 / 17

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