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Stuck in Folsom Prison

I admit that the movie Walk the Line has sparked my interest in Johnny Cash's music lately. I've seen the movie twice now. My father is a Cash fan, so I grew up hearing his music quite a bit. As a child, I refused to listen to the music or let myself enjoy it. I think my refusal to accept my parents' music was a pretty typical act of adolescent defiance.

I'm a little older now, and I play guitar (not very well). When I first become interested in a particular type of music, it's typically the guitar playing that grabs me at first. I went through this process with Blues, Jimi Hendrix, and, now, Johnny Cash. The appreciation for the music beyond just the guitar playing always comes later. I was mainly drawn to Johnny Cash's music by the Rockabilly-style guitar playing of Luther Perkins. Its simple alternating bass line, punctuated with short solos drive the rhythm and mood of the songs perfectly. I've more or less figured out how to play "Folsom Prison Blues" on the guitar, and have moved on to others.

I think I like "Folsom Prison Blues" because you can hear the anguish in Cash's voice as he sings. The song evokes images of a lonely man sitting in a prison cell, lamenting his fate, tortured by the sound of the train going by, which only reminds him of the freedom that he no longer has. I can think of no better combination for this song than Johnny Cash's voice, and Perkins' guitar playing.

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