Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Walk The Line: Johnny Cash

I really enjoyed the Johnny Cash "bio pic" as they like to call them, Walk The Line and keep intending to write about it. Both lead actors, Joaquin Phoenix, and Reese Witherspoon did a terrific job, and as The New York Times suggests, Reese was a real scene-stealer. She's amazing.

But as much as I'd like to write about the movie, what's really more interesting to me is how to write about the actual man's actual voice.

Can you imagine writing about Cash's voice -- describing it -- in words?

Trying to describe the resonance and depth in his voice makes you understand why they use all those odd words they use to describe wine -- cedary, fruity, oaken, with a hint of dark currant. Describing a voice like Cash's is just as tough.

It's mournful and plain, trustworthy and holy. There's something about it that is flat and wooden but at the same time, lively and mellow. That voice has traveled many roads. Without question it is amazingly unique. Unique like Roy Orbison, Randy Travis, Lefty Frizell, Bob Dylan to name a few.

If you haven't seen the movie, even if you hate country music, it's a wonderful love story and worth seeing. Even if you don't like music, but have some interest in how an artist lives a life, see it. It's a good lesson in what to do and what not to do in your artistic life.

If you love Johnny Cash -- and I do -- see it twice.