August 28, 2014

the man in black

A few years ago, I was driving home from the hospital and flipping through what few radio stations are left.  On the one that ostensibly plays "alternative rock", whatever that even means after the 90s, there was a song playing.  That voice.  I know that voice.  Who else could it be but Johnny Cash?  Why in the hell are they playing Johnny Cash on this station?  The song ended before I could even listen to it but what little I heard intrigued me.  I googled it at home and watched the video from beginning to end.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  I never had really liked Cash.  It turns out I didn't understand him.  Not by a long shot.  This song is a cover from Nine Inch Nails which is about as far from country as you can get.  But he took it and turned it into something......he turned it into high art with such simplicity and authenticity.  He recorded it not too soon before he passed away.  And I suddenly understood The Man in Black.  Actually, understand is not the correct word.  Soulful is probably the word that comes closest to hitting the mark.  It's something that has to be felt to be understood. 

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