A new documentary featuring Johnny Cash’s performance at Folsom Prison is going to be coming but as of yet there’s no release date. In some ways it sounds like the biopic film that was released in 2005, Walk The Line, but unlike that film each song will focus on a non-linear point in Cash’s life so that viewers can see and hear just what was going on his life when he came up with the different tracks. The film starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon was a hit to be certain, but a lot of people were skeptical about how much truth it really held. A good number of folks went online to refute the film in many different ways, pointing out various facts that the film embellished or seemed to entirely fabricate. This documentary, being supported by the Cash estate no less, will be a more in-depth look at the Man in Black and just what he was going through during the creation of each song.
Johnny Cash was well known for his decided lack of impulse control at times and didn’t always cater to the audience so much as he did to himself. It’s fairly obvious there were some demons in his past that he needed to squash more than once, and pulling them out using his music was something that he became very good at. That feeling that a lot of artists have inside is often tempered by the art they produce, as it will come out in one way or another and take whatever form it’s given. Anyone and everyone that’s ever produced a work of art in whatever form they see fit has had this feeling at least once, and speaking from experience, the more a person fights it, the stronger it gets. Expressing it doesn’t have to be negative, in fact some of the most positive tracks and works of art have come from some of the most beautiful emotions in the world. But Johnny Cash could get dark. He could get depressing, and he could make the person listening feel just about everything he must have been feeling when he first played each track.
His family was able to see and hear this more often than not and despite the fact that he died a happy man, as it’s been said, he still harbored those dark feelings right up until the day he passed. The one thing you learn as a tortured artist of any sort is that unless you let them go, those dark feelings never just up and leave on their own. Some artists come to rely on them, and this can make them extremely tough to deal with at times, while others express them in a way that allows them to finally let go and use the feelings for a good cause. My belief is that Cash was doing just this, but couldn’t let all of them go by the end.
Sometimes they sustain a person even as they’re dragging them down. The documentary might show an amount of insight into Cash’s works that we haven’t seen before, so it should be interesting.