Whether or not you’ve ever been a fan of Johnny Cash, you will no doubt be enthralled by Johnny Cash: The Biography by Michael Streissguth, who also wrote Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison. Cash has lived more life than ten men put together, and this book, the first independent, critical biography of Cash in decades, shows us a man filled with passions, convictions, and even demons.
We learn about Cash’s start in music as a country boy with big dreams. From his childhood days growing up in the South to his early musical influences to his religious “conversion” and immersion in his faith to his struggles with personal demons and chemical addictions, Cash’s story is told with respect and plenty of personal insight from those who knew and loved the man. Interviews with producers and fellow musicians, and childhood friends and family members add to the depth of the biography, which also includes materials gleaned from the archives of Cash’s former manager, Saul Holiff.
There are so many stories about Cash that show the true range of his talent, but also those that speak about his periods of rebellion, trashing hotel rooms, and his eventual embracing of Billy Graham’s message, which led to his passion for putting his faith to music. We also learn about the friends, family and colleagues close to Cash that influenced his life, and his music.
Cash was known to be a moody, brooding man. This book gives us great insight into the key events in his life that not only made him who he was, but made his music what it was. From his Air Force stint to his work with prison reform, to his many revelations in music studios where he told the story of his own life through words and music, Cash was a man who lived fully and embraced both the dark and the light.
A treasure of a biography for any music fan.