A few years back, James Mangold tried to capture the Man in Black on screen, but the result was a lurid portrait that went after his insecurities and not the charm that elevated him to the top of the country music world. Joaquin Phoenix certainly gave all his intensity to the role and there are some sterling moments. However, the film fell flat in my mind.
Of course, the idea of trying to capture a person who is larger than life is a major undertaking, especially so soon after he had passed away. Cash had reached completely across the musical spectrum, covering songs like Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode and Hurt by Nine Inch Nails in his final recordings. He never ceased to amaze, and made Personal Jesus into a personal anthem.
This was always the case with Johnny Cash. In his variety program, he introduced many great talents to his audience, including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, as well as recorded an album with Bob Dylan, Nashville Skyline. Here they are singing Girl From the North Country.
Look forward to reading the book due out later this month. The title of the post comes from one of his final songs.