Friday, May 16, 2003

Remembering June Carter Cash

I was very sad to learn that June Carter Cash passed away. Earlier this week, she had heart surgery, and her husband Johnny Cash asked her friends to pray for her recovery. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be, and she's now left the mortal world for something bigger.

I am major fan of both June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash. Their music had always been around for as long as I remember, but I really embraced it on a big scale about six years ago, grabbing every recording by them that I could afford. As a child, I remember hearing them sing together, thinking this was one of the oddest musical duos around- Johnny with the distinctive deep voice, and June with a funny little Southern voice. To me, I thought their singing styles were such polar opposites, but that was exactly what made their harmonies so interesting.

Johnny was the super-talented singer-songwriter whose music transcended the boundaries of pop music. Johnny Cash often seemed like the modern day personification of Jesus, expressing compassion for his fellow man, including those whose lives were comdemned to an existence in prison. During the Vietnam war, Johnny Cash truly walked the line between poltical dissent and supporting the troops. Johnny could address the political hypocrisies of the times with such songs as "Man Is Black," and "What is Truth," while also making the commitment to entertain troops in Vietnam.

June was Johnny's rock of Gibraltor. She saved Johnny's life more than once, and their love for each other was the type of relationship that many of us could only dream about. While June was not a prolific songwriter, she was certainly no slouch when it came to composing songs. "Ring of Fire," written with Merle Kilgore was among one of the most intense love songs ever written. Her 1999 solo album "Press On," was one of my personal favorites of that year.

Johnny and June were the default king and queen of country music royalty. June was the daughter of Maybelline Carter, a founding member of country recording pioneers- the Carter Family, while Johnny created his own path of music that began in rockabilly and then catapulted into superstardom. Together, they created a wealth of great music, hosted various televison programs, appeared in motion pictures, wrote books, and inspired many people to study the compassionate works of a certain carpenter from Nazareth.

One of my most treasured possessions that I've ever picked from eBay was an autographed photo of June and Johnny. I never met either one of them, but this photo provides me with a really great feeling every time I look at it.

We're going to miss you, June.

E.P. Friday, May 16, 2003