New Biography Illuminates Life Of Johnny Cash Through His Songs

A new book examining the life of Johnny Cash through his songs, The Man in Song: A Discographic Biography of Johnny Cash (University of Arkansas Press), is set to be released on April 16.

Music journalist and historian John Alexander has drawn on decades of studying Cash’s music and life for the new book, from his difficult depression-era Arkansas childhood through his death in 2003, to tell a life story through Cash songs that are both familiar and obscure. It rifles through Cash’s work with the Tennessee Two at Sam Phillips’ Sun Studios, the unique concept albums Cash recorded for Columbia Records, his spiritual songs, the albums recorded live at prisons, songs about the love of his life, June Carter Cash, tunes dealing with murder, death and addiction, songs about ramblers, and even some silly songs.

“This book is a totally different light on Cash than I have ever seen before,” says Larry Gatlin in the book’s foreword. “A masterpiece, written by a learned historian and renowned musicologist—and an expert on Johnny Cash and his music.”

The Man in Song will be available for purchase wherever books are sold, as well as online at


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About the Author

Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has over 20 years of music business experience and has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at [email protected]

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