Book: Johnny Cash: The Life
Author: Robert Hilburn
Reviewed by: Chris Carr, commissioner, Georgia Department of Economic Development
I am a big fan of music. I have been fortunate to see many of the greats – from U2 to R.E.M. and from George Jones to Merle Haggard – but I never got a chance to see one of my favorites, Johnny Cash.
Robert Hilburn’s book, Johnny Cash: The Life, which I am currently reading, is the best book I’ve read in 2013. Cash has always been fascinating to me, first because of his incredibly deep and soulful sound, but also because of his life’s journey.
Hilburn, a former music critic for the Los Angeles Times, does a great job of separating myth from fact. And after sifting through all of the stories about Cash, two things stand out – passion and perseverance.
Cash’s real passion was always being a singer. Before getting into the business, playing gospel or country with friends helped him get through the difficulty of working a job he knew was not for him.
It was also the driving force behind Cash’s perseverance. He faced many trials and tribulations – some of his own making, some from changes in the industry – but he ultimately kept fighting to do the thing he loved. With a spiritual foundation from his boyhood days to the lyrical talent he had that let people know he truly understood who they were and the struggles they faced, Cash’s popularity began soaring again late in life and provides an example of an amazing never-say-die attitude.
So, I never saw the “Man in Black” live, but I’m thankful that Robert Hilburn brought him to life in this amazing biography.