LeMars, Iowa….. In 2010, the National Traditional Country Music Association, inducted Johnny Cash’s daughter, Cindy, into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. This year, they are inducting another Johnny Cash daughter, Kathleen Cash, into this same very rural old-time music hall of fame. According to Bob Everhart, the President of the NTCMA, “Johnny Cash had four daughters before he married June Carter. In all the frenzy that inevitably swirls around celebrity, those four daughters have been somewhat overlooked by the country music communityk, even though they were working as hard as anyone else in keeping their dads memory alive, his music alive, and his persona alive. In 2007, for instance, it was Kathy Cash who accepted a pardon on her father’s behalf during a pardoning ceremony in Starkville, Mississippi. Kathy was obviously moved by the sentiments of the folks in Starkville, “I’m touched by all the work you’ve done and appreciate the city of Starkville for taking the opportunity to honor dad and make this into a positive festival called the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival.”
When we asked Kathy what she thought of the movie “Walk the Line” about her dad, she was so upset about how her mother was portrayed, she walked out of the ‘family-only’ screening…..five times. She said she thought the film unfairly shows her mother, Vivian Liberto Distin, Johnny Cash’s first wife, as a shrew. “My mom was basically a nonentity in the entire film except for the mad little psycho who hated his career. That’s not true. She loved his career and was proud of him until he started taking drugs and stopped coming home.”
The National Traditional Countruy Music Association has been inducting deserving individuals and groups into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame since 1976. “We are kind of low-key,” said Everhart, “we’re not out to build any empires and we’re not out to preach against where country music is today. What we are about is saving some of the past so that future generations might know what ‘real’ country music was all about, and it certainly isn’t all this current hoop-la. hype, money, or special interests that has invaded this very rural American musical art form.”
Kathy Cash grew up the second of four daughters in the first Johnny Cash household, and has many memories of time spent with her famous father. “I remember dad always putting a little reel-to-reel tape player in front of us asking us to tell him a story or sing him a song. He always called me Kathleen (I never knew “Kathy” was a nickname until I started school.) My mom (Vivian Liberto Cash) was very protective, strict, and the only disiplinarian in our house. She wouldn’t tolerate lying. We went to church every Sunday. Dad on the other hand loved to play with us, tossing us into bed, us jumping on his back, or singing “Hush Little Baby,” or “Pick A Bale of Cotton,” with him.
In an interview with Larry King, Kathy made it very plain about how Johnny Cash lived in his final days. “I spent a lot of time with dad. I’m one of the two of us kids that live in Hendersonville, Tenn. We took drives to dad’s commune and we’d say to him, ‘let’s go to Sam’s’ or ‘let’s go to the Wal-Mart’ or whatever.” King asked Kathy, “Your dad went to the Wal-Mart?” And Kathy said,”All the time. He was dangerous in the Wal-Mart.” And Kathy made it very plain, when her dad was preparing his final days on earth. “He said a couple weeks before his death, right after June died, he’d say…’we’d be talking, and he’d say, “You know, my faith is unshakable.”
Kathy Cash will be inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 3rd, on the main stage of the 36th annual “National Old Time Country, Bluegrass, & Folk Music Festival, and Pioneer Exposition of Arts, Crafts, and American Rural Lifestyle,” in LeMars, Iowa. Aside from her very gifted country music talent, Kathy is also a gifted painter. One of her outstanding pieces is called “Night in White Satin.”
During the induction of Ms. Cash, there will be a tribute show to her dad, headed up by 18-year old Sean Benz from Minnesota. Also on the bill is Dan Danileson who will also sing some Johnny Cash songs. The tribute show is also dedicated to one of Johnny Cash’s most dedicated fans, Dennis Devine from Council Bluffs, Iowa, who recently passed away. It was Mr. Devine who made the arrangements to induct Johnny Cash into the Hall of Fame in 2003. The only way into the Hall of Fame is to be nominated by someone already in the Hall of Fame.. KIathy was nominated by her sister Cindy. It was Cindy who said, “I hope all us Johnny Cash daughters get inducted into the same Hall of Fame as our dad was.”