I've been a country music fan for the past 11 years, and I listen to a combination of the new artists (mostly neo-traditional) and the classic ones like George Jones and Merle Haggard.
It was just last year that I purchased my first (and second) Johnny Cash albums. They were both the live albums from Folsom and San Quentin prisons, respectively.
I enjoy some of Cash's music, but he's not at the top of my list. One of the things that annoys me to no end is the fact that non-country listeners like him so much. They seem to think that he and Willie Nelson are the only pre-Garth Brooks country singers.
And I doubt many of them know more than one or two of his songs. They just want to seem like they have ecletic tastes by listing one country singer.
So it's nothing against Cash, but I think his bandwagon has grown so large that it has overshadowed people that have contributed far more to country music than Cash, including his in-laws, The Carter Family, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Hank Thompson, Bob Wills and many more.
Acuff had more class in his pinky finger than Cash ever did. Yes, performing at the prisons was part of his "outlaw" appeal, but he couldn't find another segment of the population to feel sorry for then prisoners?
If you saw the movie "Walk the Line", you'd know that Cash was no role model. He left his wife, who he met pre-celebrity, to romance and marry a celebrity. It was so obvious that the movie tried to portray his first wife in a negative light.
Every time I hear that hotel commercial for "I've Been Everywhere", I want to cringe because few people outside of Nova Scotia realize that it was Hank Snow, not Cash, that sang that song first. And Snow did a much better job with it.
All things aside, Cash still had many classics and deserve his place among the legends. But it's unfair for him to be put on a pedestal while countless others who built the genre are forgotten by today's fans.