This past week I finally had an opportunity to drive to Nashville and visit the Johnny Cash Museum. I went with my 12 year old son, Spencer, who is also a huge Johnny Cash fan. So, on the first day of his summer vacation, the two of us hit the road early one morning for the six hour drive to Nashville, listening to Johnny Cash songs the whole way there, building the anticipation of our arrival. We arrived in Nashville around noon and easily found parking close to the museum despite the fact that it was a very busy day in Nashville. We didn't realize when we planned our trip that on the day we visited the CMA music festival was also taking place. The museum was easy to find with the help of large signage out front which is nicely placed across the entire roof of the museum building. There was plenty of friendly staff present to answer questions or to help out in any way enabling us to quickly get our tickets and gain access inside the museum.

The Outside of The Johnny Cash Museum.

I honestly don't even know where to start in describing the museum other than to say - Amazing!

The Inside of the Johnny Cash Museum

There is always more to a person than what meets the eye, or in the case of Johnny Cash, the ear, but the museum did a great job of making the Johnny Cash museum all about Johnny Cash the person and not just about Johnny Cash the singer/songwriter. Yeah, Johnny was a phenomenal singer and songwriter and you could have a museum for him based on his musical contributions alone, but he was also a husband, father, son, artist, author, patriot, Christian, soldier, actor, advocate, and so much more. The museum respectfully portrays all of Johnny Cash giving fans a unique opportunity to learn and understand a little more about "The Man in Black" through photos, videos, audio samples and memorabilia that are strategically placed through-out the museum. There is so much information, that it is almost overwhelming, especially when you consider the historical significance of some of the items. My favorite part was the first thing you are hit with when you walk in to the museum; the actual instruments and amps used by Johnny and the Tennessee Two while recording the earliest songs of Johnny's career. Songs like, "Folsom Prison Blues", "Hey Porter", and "I Walk the Line" were immortalized in music history on these instruments and they are beautifully displayed in the museum for everyone to see.

The Silvertone 1300 that Luther Perkins used to record Folsom Prison Blues

While many of the items and information on display will leave you smiling or laughing, there are a few that might actually bring a tear to your eye, specifically the hand written poem that Johnny wrote for June right after her funeral ceremony, it was so touching. But as fans, isn't this the Johnny Cash we all know? Haven't we all smiled, laughed or at times even cried listening to his songs, watching his movies, or reading his books? I think U2's, Bono, described Johnny Cash perfectly - "Everyman could relate to him, but nobody could be him. To be that extraordinary and that ordinary was his real gift". The museum walks this line (pardon the pun) flawlessly, honoring the ordinary and extraordinary legacy of Johnny Cash. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Nashville, I highly recommend you spend an afternoon at the Johnny Cash Museum; you won't be disappointed.
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