Born into music by way of his southern baptist roots, Johnny Cash was playing the guitar, singing, and writing songs by age 12. His mother scraped together money for singing lessons, but the teacher quickly discontinued instruction, so struck by Cash’s natural and unique baritone that she instructed him never to change his singing voice.
As a young man in the Air Force, John R. Cash met and married his first wife, Vivian Liberto. It was during this time, while stationed in Germany in 1953, that he bought his first guitar and wrote a song called Folsom Prison Blues.
As Cash’s career took off, his personal life experienced the toll of a heavy touring schedule, rising fame, and drugs and alcohol. Vivian and Cash eventually divorced, and he began touring off and on with the Carter Family. In 1968 Johnny Cash married his longtime friend and fellow singer-songwriter June Carter. She was a driving force in helping him tame his inner demons and recover from his hard-partying ways.
After his 1968 live performance at Folsom Prison, the subsequent album At Folsom Prison, stayed on the country music charts for 90 weeks, and in the Billboard Top 200 for 122 weeks. The album’s success revived Cash’s career, and transformed him into a nationally popular musician.
Johnny Cash is a music legend whose career spanned five decades and crossed many musical genres. Over the course of his storied career, Cash received 11 Grammy awards and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. He also received honors from the Kennedy Center and the National Medal of the Arts.
During his lifetime, Cash used his earnings and influence to support prison reform, mental health associations, a home for autistic children, refuge for battered women, Native American causes, a burn research center, the American Cancer Society, YWCA, Campus Life, Youth for Christ, and humane societies around the country.
Step through the infamous East Gates of historic Folsom State Prison where Johnny Cash recorded his chart topping album At Folsom Prison.
Meet the family who carry the name, legacy, and memories of the late Johnny Cash.
Can't get enough of the Man in Black? Listen to the unique voice of one of America’s greatest storytellers.
Be a part of the ultimate art experience and tribute to the legendary Johnny Cash. The Folsom Arts Association is accepting contributions in order to complete the trail, park, and art installations that pay homage to one of America’s most inspirational musical figures.
Johnny Cash Trail
50 Natoma St
Folsom, CA 95630